R estaurateur and chef David Reyes added another entrant to downtown Geneva’s competitive dining scene upon opening The Grandstander in late September.
Although time – and patrons’ palates – will tell, Reyes believes that his spot at 507 S. Third St. offers the equivalent of a culinary trick play. Don’t worry; he conceived of it that way.
“Is this a dinner spot? Is this a sports spot? It looks like a sports bar, but the menu doesn’t look like a sports bar menu,” Reyes says of The Grandstander. “And I guess that’s what we’re doing, is creating this hybrid.”
Reyes, who owns and works the kitchen with his wife, Juliette, at The Finery & Blacksmith Bar in downtown St. Charles, boasts a worldly background that includes a stop at a two-Michelin-star-rated restaurant in France.
Days off can be few and far between in restaurant life, and Reyes often tends to spend his idle hours watching sports. Typical snacks and fried fare may have sufficed when he grew up in Chicago, but Reyes ultimately sought a place where burgers and fried food weren’t the only accompaniment to the big game.
“You want that atmosphere, but looking for something a little more … refined typically wasn’t the same place, you know,” Reyes says. “You had to go to dinner or go to a sports bar, and my intention was to combine the two. So far, I think there’s a lot of people that appreciate it.”
The Grandstander offers burgers, to be sure, but Reyes is confident its handmade pastas, handmade sausages, fish plates and appetizers will help set it apart from “your average bar” by using fresh, organic ingredients. Wings are brined, smoked, grilled and offered in five different sauces. Bratwursts are served with goat cheese mustard.
The bar will feature 18 beers on tap, as well as wine, cocktails, whiskey and bourbon, with seasonal rotating options.
Reyes admits The Grandstander is a “tiny spot” – including the bar, it offers just 60 seats – and he realizes that “we’re not going to be the place for everyone.”
Still, the restaurant’s name conjures images of a boisterous yet intimate setting, where fans join together to watch their favorite teams at the stadium. Naturally, The Grandstander’s moniker was so inspired, but it also incorporates another definition of the word: A person who speaks ostentatiously to gain impression or approval.
In addition, Reyes says that a “grandstander” also was popular ballpark fare in the early 20th Century.
The Grandstander’s dining and bar area are arranged with respect to a stadium seating area. Perimeter seats, including those along the front window, are higher, while seats at the center of the restaurant are lower. This allows for clear sight lines to each television, no matter where diners are seated.
The restaurant’s hours are 11 a.m. to midnight daily. Saturday and Sunday brunch plans are in the works, Reyes says.
Reyes partnered with Robert Brescia, owner of the Rocket Fizz candy store in downtown St. Charles, which neighbors The Finery. Their strong rapport helped accelerate The Grandstander’s opening.
“We hit it off as a friendship, and we found that we view business very similarly,” Reyes says. “We’re both very family-oriented and like developing teams just through support and continued education.”
For more information on The Grandstander, visit facebook.com/grandstandergeneva or call 331-248-0919.