Fulton and Lafferty have spent the past six weeks giving the black-and-white-tiled space a major cleaning and repainting. They've also reconfigured the jukeboxes (removing anything too unharmonious for dining, such as head-splitting rap) and revamped the menu. A surprising number of old Sidney's standbys will stay on, such as the Big Breakfast and the meatloaf dinner, but Fulton and Lafferty have both been chefs (cooking for the Kansas City Chiefs) and want to start serving more upscale fare. They'll add unconventional choices like cinnamon milkshakes, a veggie sandwich and an omelet named after Lafferty's mastiff Stormy.
The most noticeable change, however, might be the hours of operation. "We'll be open every day, but will only be open for the 24-hour shift from Friday through Monday. And maybe Thursday, because I used to be a bartender at XO, and I know that the Thursday-night crowd there likes to go out to eat after the bar closes," Fulton says.
Fulton is married, so the divorced Lafferty thinks he'll be overseeing the graveyard shift himself. But he's a former bartender, so that shouldn't be any problem. The partners are more concerned with where to put the smoking section (in the back or up front by the counters?) and raising the "Now Hiring" banner over the windows -- which had been covered with taped-up newspapers.
"The funny thing," Lafferty says, "is that more people tried to open the doors when the newspapers were up. Since we took them down and cleaned the windows, fewer people have stopped by."
Getting more people to stop by will be the name of the game once Sidney's reopens. Lafferty and Fulton hope to lure patrons back by providing a security officer at night. (Last year, thieves broke into several cars parked in the back lot and stole a local drag queen's gowns.) Ravenous after-bar crowds should be no problem given that the owners know how to cook for big audiences.
"When we cooked for the Chiefs," Lafferty says, "we were part of a crew that cooked for as many as 10,000 people a game."