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Changes at Union Street Grotto

After years of living as roommates, cohabiting but never conjoining, they’re finally getting together.

The Grotto, one of downtown Courtenay’s favourite casual eateries, has shared space with the Union Street Grill on Fifth Street for seven years, yet has always maintained a discreet distance in terms of what really counts – the menu. That’s about to change.

After a transformative week behind closed doors April 1 to 7, the Grotto will reopen with a new look, a new menu and a brand new relationship with the Union Street Grill

“We realized it was time to bring the Grotto and the Grill closer together,” says chef Mark Duncan, who owns both restaurants with his wife Danielle.

“We’d been hearing from our customers that they want to be able choose between the more classic, full-service restaurant experience of Union Street Grill and the more casual, lounge-type milieu of the Grotto without having to choose one menu or the other,” explains Danielle. “So we’re going to have one menu for both venues. It will have everything that’s been on offer at the Grill, plus a few of the most popular items from the Grotto.”

That means, for instance, that Union Street Grill patrons will finally be able to order the breakfast burrito, a longtime Grotto favourite featuring scrambled eggs, Chorizo sausage, bell peppers, onions, mozzarella and cajun spices all rolled up in a tortilla with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

The shared menu will also feature brand new items like Balsamic BBQ Pork Ribs served over butternut yam mash with artisan greens.

Complementing the new menu at the Grotto will be a trendy new look that emphasizes comfort and style. Think sleek leather bucket chairs & comfortable leather benches – the kind you never want to get up from.  Not that you have to, says Danielle.

“People come to the Grotto for a more social experience,” she explains. “They want to linger over a beer or a glass of wine, or maybe two, and just hang out. The new look is definitely going to mesh with that.”

What won’t change at the Grotto is its fine tradition of special events like live music, family nights, tapas nights and more. Nor will the “grab and go” convenience of the service counter be lost amidst the sophisticated new look.

A grand re-opening party will be held May 12 at the Grotto, featuring lots of give-aways, all-day specials on food and drinks, free beer and wine tastings until 5pm and live music from 7pm to 9pm. Jet FM will also be on-site from 11am to 4pm.

Just call it a restaurant engagement party!

The Union Street Grill and Grotto is located at 477 Fifth Street.  For more information, including hours of service, call 250-897-0081 or visit www.unionstreetgrill.ca.

Thanks to Ryan Parton writing solutions for the write-up!

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