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Grabo's Bar and Grill takes over Tavola location downtown
[January 16, 2013]

Grabo's Bar and Grill takes over Tavola location downtown

Jan 15, 2013 (Greeley Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- More info To celebrate the conversion to Grabo's Bar and Grill from Tavola, there will be drink specials through January. The restaurant also has added entertainment theme nights: Jazz with the Dana Landry Trio on Monday nights; open mic comedy on Tuesdays; a piano bar/singalong on Wednesdays with Megan T; live music on Fridays and karaoke on Saturdays.

Tavola lived its course.

Now, the downtown restaurant at the corner of 9th Street and 8th Avenue is Grabo's Bar and Grill, ditching the southern Italian for good ole' American burgers.

The move comes after two-and-a-half years serving a winning Italian menu to the weekend dinner crowd is to beef up daily lunch service for those in downtown who want a 10-minute lunch without having to travel 20 minutes to get there, said Ryan Gentry, owner of Grabo's, who also started such downtown mainstays as The Penalty Box and The Jager, as well as Sky Nightclub.

"The big, big opportunity here is we're trying to reach the lunch business, anyone around the downtown area that needs to have lunch in 20-30 minutes and get back in the lunch hour," Gentry said. "There is so much of the Clarion clientele that's already coming in, and we think we can capitalize on that." Gentry and his father, Bill Gentry, have been discussing the change for the past couple of months, surveying customers from their other downtown businesses.

But ultimately it comes down to numbers, and lunch wasn't cutting it.

"Dinner from year one to year two and a half was consistently growing," Ryan Gentry said. "Lunch never grew, it was a straight line all the way." Added his dad: "We are definitely trying to capture some of the increase in that business in Greeley.

"There's been a big boom and we're kinda missing out on all that," Bill Gentry said. "More than half of customers are blue collar, hard-working people anyway." To appeal to a growing blue-collar clientele, the Gentrys are offering a limited 10-item menu, which includes half-pound burgers, salads, chips and fries. Most entrees are $7.99.

That's not to say they want to abandon those in the judicial profession who would come in for a working, pasta lunch.

They've added games, as well, including shuffleboard, a free Wii station, a 50-inch high definition Buck hunting game and built a stage for live music.

Their new vision for the place fits a different crowd, but one that seems to be frequenting downtown, especially in the summers with the Go-Cup common drinking district.

Such a "drastic change" is a gamble, the Gentrys know. Tavola replaced Island Grill, which replaced the Magnus. All three lasted just a few years and were out.

"I think if you compare what Tavola provided before the Island Grill, and before that, the Magnus, the atmosphere we were trying to provide was going after the west side of Greeley," Ryan Gentry said.

Now, momentum is on their side. Downtown is picking up steam, as city and college officials have collaborated to bring more students downtown, as well as the oil and gas workers living across the street in the Clarion.

"It's all unknown at this point," Bill Gentry said. "We've given up that special occasion type business. ... We recognize it's a distinct possible to lose the Friday and Saturday (dinner crowds) but we feel like this is a better niche for us." ___ (c)2013 the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.) Visit the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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