Yesterday, (as B stated earlier this week) was the preview of the S&W Grand on Gay street. There were hundreds of people there, a host of serving staff, and a lot of reasons for me to go back once it opens.
I took loads of pictures but will try to limit to the best available, you'll just have to go see for yourself next week what the place is like if you didn't go last night.
First of all they have done a great job of restoration. Keeping as much of the original feel of kitschy American cafeteria as one would want, but adding the modern comfortable surrounding that everyone enjoys.
The seating capacity is around 150 in the restaurant with split seating up and down. There are two bars, up and down, and plenty of large and small booths for any size party.
The banquet room has a very different feel to it than the restaurant. It's on the third floor and has views over Gay St and Crutch park and would make a great location for a wedding reception. That space can hold (I'm told) about 100 or so more people. One of the most interesting parts about that space is the skylight, it changes colors thanks to the miracle of LED lights. Which by the way, are what lights the bulk of the place.
Now onto the food, which is really what you'll go for. I talked to a server (see picture below) and a host who told me about the food. Apparently the new owners got ahold of the original menu from back in the day and have incorporated 30% of that into the new menu. What they called, twice, "A new take on your old favorites." I expect to hear that alot at first. they also refereed to it as "Retro-American", that's a new one to me.
I'm going to assume that the food they served at the event is to be a taste of what is to come. There were mini-Reuben sandwiches topped w/ slaw and french fries. An interested little crab cake think sliced onion rings, and a roast-beef/ french dip that were also quite tempting.
Finally the wait-staff. Apparently S&W Grand is going classic in this way as well. The servers are in white chefs coats w/ S&W Grand on them while the Bartenders are in the same, but in black.
OK enough regurgitation of what is. I think this is going to be a great improvement for this part of Gay St. More dining to serve the venues is only going to benefit everyone. Two bars, good food, great location, this place should do well.