In the 1960s, Boulder's Greenbriar Inn transformed a building that dated back to1873 into a restaurant, a spot near Lefthand Canyon that attracted wedding parties and special-occasion celebrations with an ostentatious menu of now-dated, then-staples of fine dining, mostly heavily sauced dishes prepared tableside.
The eatery has evolved since then, especially after Phil Goddard bought it in the mid-1990s and nixed much of the food of yesteryear in favor of a seasonal menu that changes at least eight times a year. Today, Greenbriar Inn still does bananas Foster and Caesar salad tableside, but it also turns out quail, rabbit paté, pork belly with rhubarb compote, and watercress soup using produce harvested from its own garden.
And now, the spot is about to undergo a facelift to bring a similar mesh of classic and modern to the interior.
"We're already pretty progressive in terms of our food," says Goddard. "We're not changing the theme of the restaurant. It's just time to give the interior space a fresher look." Nothing has been updated since he gutted the place when he took over in 1996, he notes.
That fresh look, says Dish Publicity owner Kate Lacroix, who's overseeing the redesign, will aim to preserve Greenbriar's heritage of celebration and occasion while also making it accessible to new diners. "We're definitely wanting to cultivate a new clientele without alienating the clientele that we already have," she explains.
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To do so, she's taking inspiration from the sexy, funky parts of the TV series Madmen and the original garage use of Greenbriar's space, picking up fabrics, colors and lighting that communicate the history of the 140-year-old building in a fresh way. For instance, there will be an indoor and outdoor fireplace, old garage lights and new granite. "I'd have Adirondack chairs on the patio, blankets around your knees and outdoor firepits, too, but I don't know if that's legal," she jokes. The intent, she says, is to draw everyone from age 25 to age 85, giving Greenbriar room to grow.
But even with the changes, Goddard promises the Greenbriar won't shift its identity. "We're trying to make sure we don't lose who we are," says Goddard. "We've been a wonderful restaurant for 45 years now."
Goddard also says the spot should stay open throughout the remodel, since the team will make changes dining room by dining room. The facelift should be complete in the next six to eight weeks.