It was nearly a year-and-a-half ago that I wrote an article welcoming the Corner BP to the downtown mix. I happened by one sunny afternoon in May and found Bette, the new co-owner of the business, along with the owner of the place when it sold gasoline and the person who owned the property at the time, John Sanders. Playing off the British Petroleum theme for a Beer Pub was unique to downtown and it featured some really cool touches, like the hydraulic car lift as the base for a table. It also ventured into an area without much business development and anchored one end of Jackson Avenue – a much talked about development corridor.
When I walked by this past Sunday evening, I found Rob and Bette Knight moving items about and taking down what could be removed. The bar had a traditional Irish wake the day before as a farewell before the business closed. Rob seemed exhausted and said as much. Many things had changed during the last eighteen months, including new ownership of the building and partners who decided to break away. After two months of trying to keep the business open alone, while working a full-time job with AT&T, Rob and Bette called it quits.
According to Rob, the business wasn’t doing badly – and I’d heard the barbeque alone was worth the trip – but it just wasn’t viable for them. They’d tried to sell it, but the new owners would have had a higher lease and none were willing to accept that. He said the first thing he plans to do is to sleep. After that, who knows? He said he has talked to a couple of bars which are interested in having him smoke barbeque for them and he may go in that direction. He and Bette seemed not so much defeated as tired.
One bright note that he sounded referenced the experiences he’s had during the run. He said there are so many great people who have helped along the way and new friends he has come to count on that make the entire venture worthwhile. As an example, he pointed out that a woman who was pacing in front of the bar making repeated phone calls, was Gina Truitt, owner of The Well, out west. He said she was making calls on their behalf to her connections in order to help them sell their stock and he pointed out that she simply did this to help them out.
Meanwhile, back on Market Square, Blue Coast Burrito has re-opened as Blue Coast Grill and Bar. Urban Woman and I stopped by there this past Friday. I had a Margarita and fish tacos and she had their corn chowder. We also ordered their Three-for-All appetizer, which includes three dips and tortilla wedges. The tortilla wedges are very good and, as far as I could tell, the fish tacos were the same as before, which is also a good thing. Urban Woman said her soup was exceptional.
The most prominent difference you’ll notice is the construct-your-own burrito is gone in favor of a sit down, service oriented experience. To us, this is an improvement. The bar was confusing before and my burritos always wound up cold by the time I got them to the table. A list of entrees is now included and a great looking tray of deserts were offered, though we resisted this time around. The menu says the chicken is hormone-free and that a gluten-free menu is available. I’d encourage you to give them a new look. Overall, the two of us liked the new version better than the old version and you might, as well.
Finally, Coffee and Chocolate 2 or Coffee and Chocolate Bistro as it is officially named, has changed its menu pretty dramatically. I think the menu may still be in flux but, as it stands, the paninis have been replaced with more upscale entrees. I loved the paninis and regret their loss, but the chef who made them has more to offer and that’s what Sharif is spotlighting with the new French menu.
I stopped in and had the seafood pasta and it was wonderful, though at $21, plus a couple of glasses of wine, tax and tip, the price topped $40. I can certainly understand why the chef wanted to stretch out a bit from paninis, but be prepared to pay more for the excellent food. Whereas paninis ran from $10 to $11, the new entrees run from $17 to $23. The cheese plate, which I really enjoy, has gone from $14 to $16 and the option of getting a smaller version for $10 is no longer offered. It all adds up to a pricier, though more sophisticated dining experience. As I said, the menu is still subject to change, so none of this is set in stone.
A grand re-opening is planned for November 16 and a beer dinner is planned for November 18.