Another former Gilbert-Robinson employee who did a turn at the Bristol is Stephen Greer, part owner of the Golden Ox steak house, who opened a new restaurant in Overland Park last month with Larry Ziegler -- yet another Gilbert-Robinson veteran. The two met in 1978, when Greer was area director of operations for Gilbert-Robinson and Ziegler was managing the Plaza III steak house.
Steaks, barbecued meats and beer are the focus at the two-week-old Boulevard Grill (12450 Newton in Overland Park), which opened in a free-standing building that has housed a number of failed restaurant operations over the past decade, including a fine-dining bistro (Abigail Rose), a lowbrow Italian joint (Bravo's), mayoral wanna-be Stan Glazer's unsuccessful fried-chicken venture (Stanford's Roadhouse) and a sports bar (the Sports Page).
Greer, who ate at all of the failed concepts (he lives a few blocks away), thinks he knows the right ingredients to make the Boulevard Grill work where none of the previous incarnations could: "It's now a neighborhood place, more about nostalgia for a different time and place."
Greer has decorated each booth in the freshly painted dining room with vintage photographs of all the long-razed Kansas City breweries -- the Imperial Brewery, Ferd Heim's, Muehlebach's -- and stocked his bar with ale from Kansas City's Boulevard Brewing Company as well as a few oldies, such as Pabst Blue Ribbon.
"Did you know Pabst is having a revival all over the country?" Greer asks. "We're offering a pitcher of it for $5.95."
Greer says he and Ziegler intend to lure diners off Highway 169 and into their joint by offering a lot of bang for the buck. Hefty sandwiches include one of fifteen side items, and a slab of ribs or a dinner entrée includes two.
"We're doing more than your basic fries and cole slaw," Greer boasts. "We have two kinds of slaw, two kinds of potato salad, two kinds of baked beans, applesauce made with cranberries, and a real macaroni and cheese made with real cheddar."
All the meats (including some delicious chicken-wing drumettes) are hickory-smoked in the back of the restaurant. The Flat Iron steak tastes remarkably like the wonderful London broil served at Gilbert-Robinson's Houlihan's restaurants back during the Jimmy Carter administration. But in 1976, a London broil cost $3.95; the Boulevard's Flat Iron steak goes for $12.75 today, not including tip and tax.
Nostalgic? Pass the Pabst.