From Betty to Julie
At the end of January, Nanay Betty's Filipino Restaurant and Karaoke Bar (1863 S. Academy Blvd., 596-4019) was sold; the new outfit is called Julie's Bar and Grill.
New owner Romeo Arruiza first took interest in the space while visiting his sister in the Springs last year. She later informed him that the place was for sale, and he flew in from Maui, Hawaii, to get the deal done.
Arruiza says he'll continue to serve some Filipino plates, but add some popular Hawaiian dishes to the menu, such as chicken Katsu (a fried dish), Kalua pork (not baked in the ground like at traditional luaus) and Spam musubi. The Spam item, made in the style of Japan's onigiri and found in Hawaiian convenience stores, places a thin slice of the mystery meat atop a rice block that's then wrapped in seaweed and lightly baked.
In order to realize this dream of owning his own restaurant, Arruiza, who has cooked at a number of restaurants and hotels in the past, has temporarily left his wife and three (adult-aged) children behind. He says she wouldn't let him open a restaurant on the island because there was too much competition.
From a list of eight to 10 dishes that'll change daily, you'll be able to build your own three-item meal for as little as $6.95. Liquor items should be available soon, at which point karaoke will also restart.
Dog day boon
When many restaurants are closing doors, it's only fair to ask a local restaurant group how it keeps expanding.
"We've got good people, first of all," says Bird Dog BBQ head Brad Cleveland. "We won't grow any faster than we can staff with quality managers — growing too fast is a common mistake."
The Oklahoma-style outfit (birddogbbq.com) first opened at 5984 Stetson Hills Blvd., #200, in October 2004, then expanded to 1645 Briargate Pkwy., #243, in October 2009. As of late March or early April, Cleveland expects to be open in Fountain at 6965 Mesa Ridge Pkwy., #190. Not entirely surprisingly, Cleveland says getting banks to lend you the money in this climate can be difficult, regardless of how successful your enterprise is.
The menu and catering options will remain the same at the new location, as will the invitation to bring your own dog photos in to help decorate the restaurant. At the flagship location, mutt mugs grace tables under glass, and at Briargate, they hang from wall-mounted frames. Cleveland isn't sure how he'll display his customers' best friends in Fountain, but he assures there's room for more at all the locations.
For a review of this past weekend's Salute to Escoffier at The Broadmoor, read our blog post.