St. George is a Historic Town & 221 N. Parler Ave. is a Historic Building
The owners of Bistro 221 are fascinated with, and excited about the history in St. George, SC, and especially in the building history of 221 N. Parler Ave, the home of Bistro 221. They have been learning all they can about the history of the place and the area around it. A few details have been determined now, but far more questions exist about what these buildings have been since they were first built. The right side of the building was built first, in 1864 (this can be read on the top front of the building in stone inlaid there). This was Dr. P.M. Judy and Co. Drugs, or Judy's Pharmacy. We have been told that Dr. Judy passed the business down to his son, so it remained in the family for decades. The pharmacy name is featured on the giant mural which is still visible on the interior wall of the restaurant. From what has been shared through multiple sources in town, and from pictures found at the historical society, it appears that the pharmacy remained there and active for a least 100 years!
No one has been able to pinpoint when the left side of the building was built, but it became Judy's Department Store sometime after 1900 - give or take a few years. The horses and carriage, and the clothing of those in the carriage, help to estimate this time frame and that the second half of the building had to be built some time after that photo was taken. From other photos, we can see that the department store remained through the 1930s, 40s, and into the 50s, when it also appears that this building may have been the home of Coastal Gas and Butane Company. Customers have also shared that they believe it may have been a hardware store and lumber company at one time. (There is no evidence of this other than word of mouth.) Others have shared that it was a soda fountain on the left and a pharmacy on the right for many years. From the 1970s to the time that the building was made into a restaurant in 2019, there are long periods where nothing is known to us about the buildings and what they were used for. Some have said they were abandoned for a time before this restaurant renovation occurred, but we do not know that for sure.
Surely there are people who are in St. George, or the surrounding area, who can help to fill in these blanks! If anyone has photos of historic St. George, or the Bistro 221 building in earlier years, or knowledge about the history of it, please come and share it with the new owners! We are eager to learn and celebrate this history. Meanwhile, come on by and see these amazing photos framed in the building and celebrating this rich history!