The New Summit Grill
Waldo's classic American hot spot slides to the west, makes room for Boru Ramen Bar.
Driving along 75th Street in Waldo, you may notice one building that’s a tad more…shall we say…glamourous than the rest of the neighborhood. Wedged in between a shiny, new glass building and the Shell Station that houses Papu’s Cafe lies an ornate and storied façade that can be easy to miss. Known as the Westmoreland Theater when it opened in 1924, the space has housed silent films, vaudeville, burlesque, jazz and, most recently, the 75th Street Brewery. Since late last year, this remarkable building has served as home to the expanded Summit Grill, a 345-seat restaurant.
TAKE A SEAT
Even the most loyal patrons of the now-defunct brewery would have difficulty recognizing the space now. The term “gutted” doesn’t even begin to do the renovation justice. Summit plays host to a private event space that can accommodate up to 100 guests. After selling 75th Street’s massive arsenal of brewery equipment, owners Andy Lock and Domhnall Molloy made space for an expansive floor plan split in two by a 15-foot bar. “It looks like everyone wants to start a brewery right now,” the pair jokes, “But we’re just trying to sell beer that’s already made.”
The front of the restaurant consists of a dedicated bar area with high-tops, community tables and rails that can accommodate up to 140 guests. Massive sliding glass panels can open to West 75th Street, bringing the great outdoors into the 8,800-square-foot restaurant. In the back, semi-private dining tables and cozy leather-bound booths offer 100 more seats. Lock and Molloy are purposefully catering to distinctive crowds and contrasting atmospheres. The bar invites the masses, while the restaurant offers cloistered privacy. Snag a table by the bar, or make a dinner reservation and dress up. Whether you’re there for happy hour or looking to dive deep into the menu, Summit provides both casual and fine dining.
DINNER IS SERVED
Nearly everything Summit Grill’s menu is made in-house, from the condiments to the pastrami. Summit also boasts the only weekend brunch in Waldo. According to Molloy, it all boils down to quality and consistency. “We’re not necessarily trying to be on the cover of Bon Appetit with some kind of new food trend,” he says. “We’re trying to give you old classics but really make them the best we can.”
The two weren’t looking to change much food-wise, but after expanding the size of their kitchen by more than four times, they welcomed the opportunity to broaden the menu. Patrons can expect the same great cuisine and attention to detail Summit is known for, thanks to culinary director Po Wang, who added a couple key additions to the menu. For starters, order the bacon-wrapped shrimp, which sit atop tiny cheesy grit cakes, and force yourself to eat them slowly and savor each bite. The Black Angus rib-eye comes smothered in melted garlic butter with sauteed asparagus and potato croquettes. The lobster-stuffed Faroe Island salmon combines shrimp, Brie and mashed potatoes with green beans for a lighter yet satisfying combination. When in doubt, go with the Brick Chicken. Just be sure to save room for dessert, which includes options like peppermint cheesecake and frozen pumpkin mousse cake.
GRAB A DRINK
The Strawberry Winter Splash, which includes citron vodka, sparkling brut rosé, basil and strawberries, will warm you up without weighing you down. The Peruvian Gentleman packs a punch, but you’ll want to sip it slowly. For a lighter sip, order the Lady Thyme, which combines McElroy’s Corruption Gin from Kansas City’s Tom’s Town Distillery and house-made lemon-thyme simple syrup with a lemon peel. From Irish and Apple Pie Mules (featuring Tullamore Dew and apple vodka, respectively) to the Ginaffeine (coffee and gin now belong together!) to three show-stopping house-made Irish creams, the cocktail menu pulls out some unexpected stops to complement the classic American fare.
Lock and Molloy’s next venture, Boru Ramen Bar, will open late this month in Summit’s old space just a few steps east of the new space. For now, local eaters can expect the same great dining experience with a much-welcomed facelift at Summit Grill.