After being closed for three weeks to undergo a major renovation, the Granfalloon Restaurant & Bar on the Country Club Plaza reopened a week ago. The bar area and dining rooms now feature new stamped concrete floors, larger windows that open onto the Brush Creek side of the venue, a spacious patio, and an impressive new menu from chef Michael Clay Colling.
There was some concern last year that the venerable saloon -- the Granfalloon dates back to the early 1980s and was, for many years, the only place to get a late-night meal on the Country Club Plaza -- might lose its lease. You know, like Re:Verse, which is now Coal Vines Pizza and Wine Bar.
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Last year's issue with the Plaza's owners, Highwood Properties, was apparently over the new patio. The outdoor dining area required that the Granfalloon take over four existing parking spaces. Employees at the restaurant told me that Highwoods initially balked at losing the parking but eventually agreed.
"We absolutely had
to have a smoking area," says Granfalloon manager Art Spelts. "It was hurting our business not to have a place for smokers to light up."
The Granfalloon is, after all, a noisy -- and I mean loud
-- sports bar that stays open late and has been, for three decades, the favorite gathering spot for hospitality-industry employees to congregate after they finish their shifts at other local restaurants and bars. I know this because I used to be one of them, and when I drank, I wanted a cigarette. Or vice versa. And a lot of athletes would show up after their games, too.
The newest renovation is the first for restaurateur Tim Caniglia's Granfalloon since the current incarnation of the bar and grill opened in 2000. (It was formerly in a smaller location that faced 48th Street.) "The floors are new, the bar is new, the light fixtures are new, the bathrooms have been redone," Spelts says. "It was a major undertaking."
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Chef Michael Clay Colling pared down the former Granfalloon menu from 77 dishes to 42, keeping the popular burgers and chicken wings but adding several new entrees: crispy mahi mahi tacos with pineapple, white cheddar, and wasabi creme fraiche; a "Sticky Asian Chicken" made with a free-range fowl slathered in a brassy ginger glaze; and for seafood lovers, a pan-seared, slightly crispy slab of Atlantic salmon served with tomato-pepper linguini in a three-cheese sauce.