CUMMING -- An Italian restaurant that has become a cornerstone of downtown Cumming has changed ownership, though the new owner says that’s about all that has changed.
Mehmet Olcal bought Sal’s Place, which is located behind the old courthouse on Courthouse Square off Hwy. 20, about three months ago after he heard the owner, Salvatore Salamone, was looking to sell.
“One of my friends told me Sal was trying to sell this place because he wanted to do other things,” Olcal said. “I have the family restaurant business in my background and [currently] my brother is a restaurant owner in Turkey and my uncle and father have had their own restaurants for years.”
This is his first time owning a restaurant, though; previously, Olcal was a college professor in Turkey.
“There are some political issues in Turkey right now, so I decided to move to the United States and start a business here,” he said.
Sal’s, he felt, was a great place to buy.
“We don’t want to change anything here,” he said. “We are planning to keep everything the same, and Sal did a very good job here for 14 years and we [think] of it as ‘this is our treasure, we have to keep it the same way.’”
Olcal also mentioned both Salamone’s father and uncle, who are also both named Sal, still work part-time at the restaurant and are committed to keeping the place the same.
“Also, we keep in touch with Sal, too, and sometimes we ask him questions and he helps us,” Olcal said.
He said this is all to keep the restaurant as well-loved as it has been for the past almost decade and a half.
“We didn’t think about any grand opening or anything like that because we didn’t change anything,” Olcal said. “If people ask, we tell them about the change in ownership, but maybe it would be [something] to think about.”