Grand Ave. Grill in Eagle still going strong 17 years after opening | VailDaily.com

Grand Ave. Grill in Eagle still going strong 17 years after opening

From burritos to ice cream, little restaurant along Highway 6 in Eagle is always trying something new

Grand Avenue Grill owners Mike Ryan and Chris Ryan survey the view from the front of their 17-year-old restaurant, located along US6 in Eagle.
Pam Boyd/pboyd@vaildaily.com

EAGLE — If Grand Ave. Grill had been a human child instead of a business baby, it would be time to start planning for a graduation party.

For 17 years now, the Eagle eatery has been a dependable presence along the most-traveled roadway in town. Owners Chris Ryan and Mike Ryan have weathered high times and economic downturns and approached their restaurant as a work that is always in progress.

But while they have shifted hours and changed menus, they have kept a steadfast commitment to quality for nearly two decades.

“We really care about what we are doing after all this time,” said Chris Ryan. “Running a restaurant means there is a lot of work, and we care a lot about all of it.”

Fresh American cuisine

The year Grand Ave. Grill opened, George W. Bush was president and Matt Damon as Jason Bourne was a hit at the box office. It was 2002 and business partners Chris Ryan and Mike Ryan decided they wanted to open an Eagle restaurant offering fresh American cuisine. They found their spot in a converted residence located along U.S. Highway 6 and named it after the street moniker Eagle had for the roadway — Grand Avenue.

“We had no idea what we were getting into,” said Chris Ryan, with a rueful shake of her head.

Chef Mike Ryan went to work in the kitchen and Chris Ryan tackled the front of the house. Fifteen years ago, Uriel Escobar began cooking at Grand Ave. Grill. Chris Ryan said the restaurant’s ability to maintain quality is largely thanks to Mike Ryan and Escobar and a number of staff members who have worked at the local hot spot for years.

Like businesses throughout the nation, Grand Ave. Grill faced some hard times when the Great Recession hit. As the restaurant has climbed out from those tough times, Chris Ryan noted is has been an ongoing challenge to find the right balance between ingredient costs and menu pricing.

“Honestly, our meals should probably cost more, but people don’t want that, nor do they want to pay that,” she said.

So, to increase revenues, Grand Ave. Grill has expanded options and tinkered with hours.

Ice cream, breakfast and more

During the past 17 years, Grand Ave. Grill has expanded its bar area, built patio seating and remodeled its dining area. Additionally, it introduced Grand Ave. Chill — an ice cream window that’s one of the most popular spots in town each summer.

The crew also came to the conclusion that eating out for dinner on weekdays just isn’t all that popular downvalley. A couple of years ago, Grand Ave. Grill changed up its dining room hours and began serving breakfast daily. Tuesday through Sunday, Grand Ave. Grill is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Friday nights, the restaurant is open until 9 p.m.

The latest new option for Grand Ave. Grill is breakfast burrito service from the Grand Ave. Chill window. The burritos are fresh and made to order as a grab-and-go option starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday through Friday. The options include everything from a traditional scramble of eggs, potatoes and bacon to a smoked salmon offering that includes eggs, potatoes, cream cheese, caramelized onions, capers and wilted fresh spinach.

Along with the burrito menu, customers can specify their own ingredients or they can opt for sandwiches made with Texas toast, biscuits, English muffins, bagels or croissants. And, if they want the quality of a freshly made breakfast sandwich but they don’t want to wait for it, Chris Ryan said the Grand Ave. Grill staff will take phone orders to have food ready for pickup.

“The burritos menu is great, and they really are delicious,” she said.

Keep coming back

After 17 years in business, the Grand Ave. Grill owners are grateful for their loyal customers.

“We have great food, and we want to have great people serving our customers,” Chris Ryan said. “We are always looking to get new people in who will then become repeat customers.”

People like Toné Martin from Texas, a commercial pilot who frequently flies into the Eagle County Regional Airport, for example.

“I drag everyone I fly with in here,” said Martin as he looked over the menu last week. “I have never been disappointed with anything I have ordered.”

According to customers, some of the most popular options at Grand Ave. Grill include the asiago crusted chicken club, blacked prime rib salad, country fried steak and eggs and fish tacos. Chris Ryan said people who are driving along Highway 6 and decide to give the little restaurant a try don’t leave disappointed.

She has served some famous diners over the years including country singer Randy Travis, NFL coach Joe Gibbs and “American Pickers” TV star Mike Wolfe. Wolfe didn’t just drop in though, he is Chris Ryan’s friend from high school.

After working the front of the house since 2002, Chris Ryan has lots of friends who drop by for lunch.

“I know that after 17 years, I cause the biggest dining room holdups at times. I know so many people, and I like to talk with them,” she said.

Through the hard times and the good times, Chris Ryan and Mike Ryan remain proud of the business they have built.

“Even when it’s been tough, the next day is a new day. We are proud to keep moving forward,” Chris Ryan said.

To learn more, visit grandavegrill.com.