Popular restaurant to expand

ALABASTER — One of Shelby County’s most popular restaurants is expanding.

Joe’s Italian in Alabaster is adding 1,250 additional square feet by taking over some office space located next door to it in its current building on Weatherly Road.

Sonia Bertolone, Joe’s Italian president, said the space will be used to expand the restaurant’s kitchen and add a larger waiting area for customers, as well as six to eight dining tables.

Joe’s opened Nov. 13, 2008. Bertolone said the need to expand the business so quickly has taken her by surprise.

“When we opened, I had a five-year plan for the restaurant. We met that plan four months ago,” she said. “I know our food is good, but I’m surprised by how far people are coming from. People are coming from everywhere. All I hear from people is how they came by, but couldn’t get in.”

In the future, Bertolone plans to develop a patio area with additional dining space. However, she’s concerned about expanding too much, too soon.

“I want it to still be small and intimate. With this expansion, at least people will have a more comfortable space to wait for a table. Right now, on Friday and Saturday night, there’s a long wait, sometimes an hour or more,” Bertolone said. “We appreciate so much the patronage and loyalty of our customers.”