Side dish: Star chef leaves McGinty's 

McGinty's loses Shining star

You may recall chef Scott Coulter's name from our glowing Oct. 27 review ("Divide and conquer," Appetite) of McGinty's Wood Oven Pub, his home since late 2010, after many years spent in charge at Phantom Canyon Brewing Co.

Around the new year, Coulter accepted a new challenge: to revive food service at Shining Mountain Golf Club (100 Shining Mountain Lane, Woodland Park, shiningmountaingolfclub.com), which was originally opened in 1995 and has really never been known as a must-try dining spot. He reopened the place on March 6.

Coulter says hours and offerings have been limited and inconsistent at Shining Mountain in recent years — "it was, 'Golf and get out'" — so he firstly intends to create stability between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

"We'll be more of an upscale bar and grill," he says, noting seating for nearly 100 and event space for 200. "We'll touch all bases ... chewy pretzels with beer cheese, Bangkok spring rolls, crab cakes ... but we'll throw some steak on the menu, too." For drinks, he mentions a "bangin' wine list" and Bristol Brewing Co. and Phantom Canyon beer. During golf season, roughly May through October, he'll likely add light breakfast service.

At the (tiny) diner

It's an update long in the making — since November 2008, to be precise. That's when a minivan took out Mr. B's Famous BBQ and Soul Food in the classic Valentine diner at 132 W. Cimarron St., there since 1965.

Now, three-plus years later, the spot will finally open again (possibly by later this week), this time as Vernacchio's Diner (635-1900), named for owner Larry Vernacchio and the small Italian town from which his family descends. Vernacchio says he grew up cooking, attended culinary school in San Diego, and has cooked locally at places like the Radisson and Academy hotels.

The diner will serve a surprisingly large menu for a 10-seat space, including East Coast-style sandwiches like Reubens, Italian sausage and meatball hoagies, and Philly cheese steaks, plus pasta dishes, including homemade ravioli with homemade sauce. Vernacchio plans to add 16 seats outside come warm weather, and offer delivery.

Red Top bows out

After 60-plus years, the Conway's Red Top at 1526 S. Nevada Ave., has closed, and former president Jim Conway has left the family business. Kidwin Qualey, human resources manager and grandchild of company founder N.F. Conway, says that leaves Dan and Pat Conway and three silent partners in charge of three remaining locations.

At the company's height, there were six locations. Qualey cites economic reasons for the Nevada Avenue closure, including flagging sales and increasing food costs.


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