The most anticipated restaurant opening of this year is surely that of Blue Monk, the planned Elmwood Avenue bar with a purported gastopub-style menu and a plethora of good beers on tap. The idea for this bar and eatery, pioneered by Mike Shatzel of Cole’s, feels as if it has been a long time coming. A total overhaul of the former Merlin’s tavern at Breckenridge and Elmwood–and the extensive wait for approval from the State Liquor Authority on the pubs liquor license–has kept neighbors, beer fans and super foodies on pins and needles, waiting for the day when the doors would finally open. Further temptation came by way of building tours during the Elmwood Festival of the Arts and a menu preview at Cole’s just a few days ago.
This afternoon, Blue Monk announced that they have finally received approval on their license and that the little pub will open next week, as soon as the physical license arrives in the mail. I can tell you that I am as excited as the dozen or so people who email me at BR every week, looking for news of the bar’s opening day. What I do want to do, is take this opportunity to point out that no Great Restaurant was ever Great on its first day and that, as people who love to dine out and support local restaurants, we should all be willing to give these guys some time to work out the kinks and sort out their systems. As an owner, try as you might to do trial services with friends as guests, and to train, train, train your staff, there is no doubt that when your place is first open, things are going to go wrong. They just are. To align our expectations with that reality–and to extend the waitstaff, kitchen and owners of a new establishment the room to make mistakes–is the kindest thing we can do to support any new venture.
Congratulations to all of those who worked hard on this project. We look forward to sampling some great food and cool brews in the coming weeks!
Image by Newell Nussbaumer