Monday, February 7, 2011

Graffiti Grill: Island-themed Castaway's tries to fit in on Broadway

Posted By on Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 11:01 AM

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The charming storefront of 3535 Broadway seems to possess more lives than Charlie Sheen. Over the years, it has housed the Athena, Pappagallo, Cafe Trio and Rhythm Lounge. And it's about to open as something new, the Graffiti Grill, formerly Castaway's Marina and Grill of Smithville.

Owners Shane and Stephanie Kesterson lost their lease after three years of beach-bumming at Castaway's on-the-water location. Their treasure hunt for a new home led them from the suburbs to the big city and landlocked life.


Stephanie's admiration for the art of graffiti inspired the

urbanized name and environment of Graffiti Grill. Dining amongst displays of artistic vandalism may turn off prospective customers, but Stephanie is determined to overcome graffiti's negative connotations.

"I don't have the lake anymore to draw people to me, so I have to create

an environment that will draw attention to myself," Stephanie says. "I think with the

graffiti and stuff on the wall, the minute you walk in it's a completely

different-feeling place.We're trying to show the

positive side of graffiti."
  
The reputation of the space's previous tenant, Rhythm Lounge, which was busted for violating liquor license and health regulations, presents another challenge.

"At

Castaway's, the owner that had the building before me just ran it into

the ground," Stephanie says. "For three  years, I had to build my reputation up, but

I managed to do that. I'm not Rhythm Lounge, and

people will soon figure that out."

Castaway's generated so much

business that the cooks began cooking and marinading meat before it was ordered. One disappointed customer accused them of precooking the chicken and burgers,

but Stephanie insists that Castaway's never violated any health codes. Everything at Graffiti Grill will be cooked to order, she says.

Stephanie

expects as much of a crowd at Graffiti Grill as Castaway's, although perhaps a little younger.
 
"We're just taking the success we

had at Castaway's and tweaking it a little bit," Stephanie says. "Our

motto is don't fix it if it's not broken."   
 


The Grill will offer a menu similar to Castaway's selection,

different displays of work from local artists each month, and acoustic

performers. Graffiti Grill will open for lunch on February 23, a

feature that previous tenants of the midtown location, such as Cafe Trio,

didn't offer. Dinner service will begin in  March.

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