Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pre-opening Review of the S & W

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.


ck said...

I can't wait to try that Reuben!

B said...

Good photos, Pol. It was delightful touring the place with you.

B said...
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Lo said...

i can't wait to visit this place! and all the more reason for my marginal propensity to save to drop back down to zero.

max said...

that place was awesome. can't wait to have lunch.

B said...

A friend of mine thinks they should have a dress code because he doesn't want it to be another DG&B. Although I'd normally be opposed, I thought it was an interesting idea. What do y'all think?

The Modern Gal said...

I kind of like that idea, but I don't think a dress code would fly at Knoxville. It would be nice to think the clientele would make the effort to dress nicely, but I don't think that will happen either.

I'm sad I missed the preview, but I may try it out soon. I've loved having DGB on Gay Street, but it gets so crowded on the weekends. Having another option will be good.

Robert said...

I cant wait! wigshop dinner sometime soon?!

cmmoxley said...

Do you know when they are getting their liquor license? Very disappointed friend went there for dinner this past week only to be told no wine and no martinis. He left.

ck said...

I went there on Friday- here's a tip: if you don't want to wait, there's a bar on each level that's first come first serve and you can order food at them. I had the tuna reuben (!) and it was good and interesting. There were other things on the menu I've never seen anywhere that I can't wait to try.

That being said... the interior is cool, but the lighting SUCKS. Big time. The lights use environmentally friendly LEDs, in this case the pure white variety. All the color in the place is washed out like fluorescent lighting on steroids. Just awful. Even non design-y people notice it. There are warm yellower LEDs available, so I'd chalk this up to a big fail in the lighting design, and lighting is a HUGE part of interior ambiance. All in all, it makes an impressive restoration turn Meh.

B said...

I ate there for the first time last night. They had a full bar which means their liquor license went through. I got the salmon cakes which came with the house salad. It was really good.

I sat at the bar upstairs. Dustin was our bartender and he was very nice ( I think that's his name)

I've talked to a few of the workers there including the GM who says they still have a lot of kinks to work out. From my experience last night, I know they're still learning.

So if you go, be patient as they are doing their best to perfect everything.

B said...
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