When Greg Gordon closed his popular restaurant La Vista on Fountain View Drive in Briargrove last June, he anticipated he’d be open in the new Timbergrove location by fall. Now he says the plan is to be open by May of 2018.
“I’ve learned you should give yourself about a year [to get open],” Gordon said, noting that once the framing and electricity was done, things started moving a lot more quickly.
Gordon says that he is spending $1.1 million on the renovation of the former Pizza Hut, including $30,000 in structural changes. The exterior roof is staying but the inside will look completely different with a vaulted ceiling and plenty of windows.
“It will be a contemporary shell with a modern interior, a dynamic space we can really call our own,” Gordon said. There will be a patio too.
The new restaurant will be called La Vista 101 because Gordon signed the 20 year ground lease for the spot last year on April 11 which was the 101st day of the year. That’s not the only tweak. La Vista 101 will not be BYOB as its predecessor was.
“I did [BYOB] and it worked in the beginning,” Gordon said. He says that La Vista 101 will have really strong wines priced reasonably as well as other drinks at their small bar.
Gordon said that when he started the first La Vista he was in his 30s and spent most of his time in the kitchen. Now he says he’s come to understand that cooking is just a part of the restaurant business.
“Infrastructure is key too,” he said. “I plan on putting together a team that can expand into different concepts. You need people to bring ideas to ensure the success of the restaurant. I want to be out on the floor. I want someone younger in the kitchen.”
Gordon said that he is bringing in a new chef and an experienced team that includes a sommelier, but he said that although the restaurant will offer “serious food and serious service” it won’t take itself too seriously.
Although the restaurant has been pegged as Italian, it’s not all going to be spaghetti and meatballs.
“I don’t like calling it Mediterranean either but there will be Spanish influences, Italian influences,” said Gordon, who noted they are putting in a pizza oven. “There will be a lot of vegetables and vegetarian dishes. Everything will be made fresh, including the pasta.”
He said that antipasto, an Italian starter for a meal, will be a feature of the menu and he envisions a table getting a variety of $4 to $5 plates to share.
Reservations will not be required for either lunch or dinner. Gordon says that there will be more of a casual vibe on weekends with La Vista 101 open Saturdays for brunch and lunch.
Gordon says that he is still trying to figure out his new client base and is aware that there are a lot of families in the area. Once he opens, Gordon knows it will be a learning curve.
“I used to think you’re lucky to come to my restaurant, now I think I’m lucky that you want to come to my restaurant,” said Gordon. “I want to give the area a local spot. And I hope I provide what the locals want. I’m giving them something I think is important.”