Denise Lane’s Dream Team Working together to transform a restaurant… and the entire town!
By Mandy Marksteiner The space recently occupied by Central Avenue Grill is like a hive of drywall, scaffolding, lumber, power tools, ladders and air compressors, workmen, architects, designers and curious passers by. As Los Alamos’s newest restaurant takes shape, Denise Lane, and a handful of people who will make her long term dream into a reality, come in and out of the building, carrying with them news, updates and excitement. The place is buzzing with energy.
The Grand Tour…setting the mood “This is by far the highest energy project I’ve worked on,” said architect Steve Shaw, whose blueprints are spread across Dixie Girl’s extended bar, which will stretch across the back wall of the main dining area and will seat 25-28 people. Shaw ﬁrst met Lane when he remodeled Lane’s house in 1986. Then two years ago she approached him about an idea for a restaurant. She has been researched, planned and searched for the perfect location. When Central Avenue Grill closed down, she was ready to take immediate action. In order to explain the new layout, Shaw walks through the noisy but tidy construction area. “There will be tables along the wall where people can sit and have drinks while they wait for their tables,” he explained. Turning the corner he explained how the inner and outer dining area, dim lighting, individual table lamps and plush seating will set a romantic, intimate and lively mood. Cheryl Sowder, an interior decorator and owner of The Finishing Touch, will create the mood with complimentary themes for each dining area. Changes to the outdoor dining room will include a facade update - taking down the awnings, putting down a new concrete slab and installing a brush aluminum metal fence. 2/3 of the dining area will have a permanent cover. There will be a ﬁre place and in the winter they will have radiant heating so people can still eat there.
Checking off everything on our wish list Whoever said, “You can’t always get what you want,” hasn’t met Denise Lane, who is determined to keep Dixie Girl open until ten o’clock for dinner and the bar open until midnight. The vacant suite behind the Quark bar (formerly occupied by aspen Copies) will be used to its full potential. Customers who walk in will be able to quickly grab an organic roasted chicken or duck, fresh vegetables, bread and wine to bring home for dinner. Other possibilities include staying for a wine tasting, sitting in front of a wood ﬁred brick oven, watching their pizza being freshly baked while drinking a beer or ordering gourmet chocolate from a chocolatier. How about sitting down with a sandwich made from fresh specialty bread baked at Ruby K’s or an organic salad made from locally grown organic produce. Hang out in the corridor and look at the ﬁne art hanging there (instead of pushy bulletin boards) or stand in front of the new picture window in front of Ruby K’s and watch the bread while it bakes. “This will be a big step forward for Los Alamos as far as the going out experience,” said Shaw. “It will be a quality experience all about service.”
Working together and thinking big “Sometimes we think the magic bullet is having someone else come in and solve the problem,” said Lane. “But we have really great businesses in town, and creative and innovative people are working together.” Lane is working with local people and business at every level. “The landowner, Jim Trump is totally on board,” said Lane. “He’s encouraging us to come up with ideas and is really engaged in the business.” Shaw’s architecture ﬁrm is based out of Los Alamos. Cheryl Sowder is doing the interior design. Trevor Orr, owner of New Castle Company, is a local contractor. Greg Hoch is the chef. Levi Guarello is the Sous Chef. Hoch has worked at Max’s in Santa Fe, and was the prep cook for Nostrani. He moved to Los Alamos three years ago from Salida, CO, where he was the kitchen manager for Benson’s and Chef de Cuisine for the Purple Sage Restaurant. Levi has cooked all over town, at the Blue Window Bistro, Bandelier Grill and Central Avenue Grill. Denise Lane’s son and daughter, Jake and Caitlin Smith will manage the restaurant. Bob Heiser, from Studio Southwest (who also designed the municipal building), is going to design an outdoor seating area that will seat 30-50 people. The Lanes met with Steve Watts at the Co-op and they’re planning to buy produce from local farmers. This is just another way to support local businesses, and increase his purchasing power. Perhaps the reason Dixie Girl is such a high-energy project is that everyone involved believes that this is about more than selling food and making money. They are creating a downtown destination. When people walk out of Bradbury Science Museum they will see the outdoor seating area. People passing through will stop. And locals will have a reason to stay. “Success means that we’re all successful,” said Lane. “Working together keeps us up. We get down if we feel like we’re doing it alone.”
Dixie Girl Timeline June 8th and 9th Open House: Everyone can get a taste at ChamberFest Weekend. The stage for the Gordon’s Concert series will be set up across the street from Dixie Girl. Greg Hoch, the Dixie Girl Chef, will have a spread of free appetizers. June and July Dixie Girl will begin serving lunch August Dixie Girl will obtain their liquor license and begin serving dinner September or October The market will be open in the suite behind Dixie Girl restaurant. For daily updates on the progress of Dixie Girl, visit www.dixiegirlmarket.blogspot.com
Essence June/July 2012
Why is the bee our logo?
The mythology of the bee was illustrative of how weBar will&doMarket business and Restaurant, how we will and should work collective1789cooperatively. Central Avenue ly and
Los Alamos, NM 87544 In ancient times the bee was both a
symbol of royalty and unity. Honeybees, signifying immortality and resurrection, were royal emblems. The bee symbolizes diligence and indefatigable effort. Someone is said to be busy as a bee when he or she works tirelessly and regardless of schedules or breaks. Political theorists have often employed a community of honeybees as a model of human society. As the workers of the hive, bees symbolize an industrious and prosperous community governed by the queen bee. (I had to throw that one in!) As organizers of the universe between earth and sky, bees symbolize all vital principles, and embody the soul. Bees also symbolize eloquence, speech, and intelligence. Because of its honey and its sting, the bee is considered to be an emblem Christ: it repRestaurant, Bar & ofMarket resents his mildness and mercy on one 1789 side andCentral his justiceAvenue on the other.
Los Alamos, NM 87544 We subscribe strongly to the princi-
ples of moral capitalism. If you prosper you should give back to the community. Tell us how you feel about this! – Denise Lane
Published on Jun 4, 2012