GRANVILLE – Customers have been waiting nine months to enjoy a meal at The Granville Inn.
The 91-year-old inn closed in August for a $9 million renovation, including changes to its restaurant and menu.
Executive chef Chad Lavely said he’s confident regular patrons and new visitors will both find something they love on the menu.
“It’s classic Granville but also current,” he said. “It’s all about options.”
Before opening to the public on May 8, the inn opened its restaurant to a small group of supporters and media to show off its new offerings and train its staff.
The invitation seemed like a great opportunity to do a special Local Flavor story — sharing information on the new menu and photos of the tasty food with readers.
When photographer Jessica Phelps and I stopped by for lunch last week, Lavely had prepared several dishes for members of the media to photograph.
We sat there with our stomachs grumbling while Jessica snapped photos of a grilled salmon filet with wild mushroom and lobster creme sauce ($25) an old English pork chop ($16) and breads and spreads ($10) which looked like an amazing appetizer featuring bread from Lucky Cat Bakery and a variety of butters and spreads.
But it was worth waiting for lunch to talk to Lavely and Charles Lagarce, owner and president of Columbus Hospitality Management, about the new menu and concept of the restaurant.
One of the biggest changes customers will notice is that the casual dining area and the formal dining area of the restaurant have switched places.
“We realized that most of the people were eating in the casual side and were seeing the formal dining side as a special occasion place,” Lagarce said. “We are still keeping a lot of (Chef Lavely’s) wonderful dishes but really expanding on the casual dining.”
The former dining room is now The Tavern. It has more of a casual feel with high top tables and a new bar. The menu features a variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads and appetizers. A wider selection of beers and wings have also been added.
“In the past, people thought the Granville Inn is for special occasions but this is where you go every day,” Lavely said.
The restaurant’s pub is now The Oak Room, which offers a smaller, more intimate atmosphere with a fire place. Its new menu offers more elaborate items, including scallops lavallee, filet mignon and an herb roasted rack of lamb.
Patrons can order off both menus in any part of the restaurant, giving them more flexibility. Anyone can enjoy the patio, which has been uncovered to let in more natural light.
Lavely has been working with a variety of local providers including Lucky Cat Bakery, Goumas and Velvet Ice Cream. He worked with the owners of Whit’s Frozen Custard to create a special raisin bread frozen custard for the dessert menu.
He’s planning on taking advantage of the Granville Farmer’s market and using the “farm to table” concept as often as possible.
Hearing all that, it was difficult to decide what we wanted to order for lunch. But we decided on Mediterranean nachos ($9) a grilled cheese and vegetables sandwich with homemade chips ($9) and a Reuben sandwich with a side of baked beans ($11).
The nachos were excellent. Instead of the classic tortilla chips, they were made with pita chips, which were light and crispy. They were topped with white beans, ground lamb, feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce.
There were so tasty it was hard to stop eating them, but we tried to save room for our sandwiches.
I’ve tried several Reuben sandwiches writing these stories, but the Granville Inn’s version was one of my favorites. It was a great combination of flavors and textures.
I was also curious about the baked beans, which Lavely said are slow cooked for 18 hours. They had a rich sweet flavor and were very satisfying.
The grilled cheese and vegetables was loaded with fresh veggies, pesto and two kinds of cheese. The toasted Lucky Cat bread just enhanced it. It was perfectly paired with the crispy pub chips and I would definitely order it again.
Lagarce said he’s expecting a wide demographic of customers, from families with little kids and college students and parents to senior citizens.
The menu offers something for everyone, he said.
“This inn is classic,” he said. “I want them to be comfortable and feel and see the charm this old girl has.”
What you need to know
What’s so special
• Two menus with both casual and formal options
• A large wine and beer menu
• Dishes featuring locally made ingredients
Show me the door
The Granville Inn is located at 314 East Broadway in Granville. For more information, call 740-587-3333.
Just tell me when
11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
The Oak Room
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.
In his own words
Video interview with Charles Lagarce, owner and president of Columbus Hospitality Management, online at NewarkAdvocate.com