While the exterior of the church turned restaurant will always lend a unique attractiveness to metro area diners, owners Jeff and Jeryn Richard–who have operated the Old Stone Stone Church Restaurant since 1991–have decided to give the menu and interior a makeover. Looking to bring in a more local flavor, their kitchen and bar are now satisfying clientele with the addition of small bites and handcrafted beers, in a hip, new setting.
“For the longest time, our persona has been a special occasion and fine dining restaurant; perhaps because of the aura of the church,” said Jeff. For years, the stained glass and gothic look of the building has lured hungry patrons through the doors of the establishment. However, because of stagnant numbers, they realized it was time give their business a little tweak.
“For the last 10 years, we have tried to break out of that, so we could remain relevant” he added. “We made a few changes inside, like getting rid of the tablecloths and making the waitstaff dress more casual…but the clientele stayed the same.” The minor updates weren’t catching the eye of the new crowd they were looking for.
That’s when they decided they needed to make a hefty investment in their endeavor. Put simply, the Richards knew they had to make the restaurant pop again, so they set out to start a brand new restaurant. Of course, changing the exterior of Old Stone wasn’t an option, for many reasons.
They began to look at the consistent success of their happy hour in the bar area and how that could be transferred to the dining room. “We have always done well over there (in the bar), but we could never get that same crowd to come over here to the dining room–we were like, ‘How do we make this side like that side?” Jeff said. The solution was easy; give the menu and ambiance a similar look and feel.
Doing much of the work themselves, with the help of contractors, that’s exactly what had become a pet project for the Richards over the past year. “As far as changing what we had before, it was the claustrophobia,” commented Jeff. “We got rid of the second level in here because everything was so compartmentalized.”
While being completed, the new interior gave way to a few changes in the kitchen as well. “Since the locals like the food and drink we are serving in the bar so much, we decided to expand things over here,” he added. Still serving many of their flavorful surf and/or turf entrees, the new additions to the list are geared toward guests who appreciate smaller portions.
“Right now we’ve got some shareable and handheld appetizers,” remarked Jeryn. “So you don’t have to have to order that big entree and be full. Instead, you can have that glass of wine or beer and share a few different bites.”
Because the goal of the new atmosphere is to introduce a more relaxed dining experience to the community and let them know they need not make a trip home to change out of their shorts. “We decided to make the restaurant more casual; to make it a place that you want to stop by after work for a beer,” said Jeryn.
As the word gets out about the new menu and the low-key atmosphere, they are hopeful that it will likewise bring in more families with kids.
“Though children have been always welcome here, it wasn’t the idea that crept into people’s minds,” she continued. “We don’t want people to think they have to get a babysitter to eat at Old Stone Church.”
Currently, the menu offers a variety of items for only $7.00. Kiddos can be easily satisfied with a plate of chicken or beef sliders, a bowl mac and cheese, a grilled cheese sandwich, or some chicken pasta.
But even with the updates and additions, they want to reassure patrons that the quality of the food and the pride they take in giving their customers a memorable dining experience has been preserved. “Along with our signature handcrafted cocktails and wines, we have added four new beers on tap,” Jeff said.
“And we still buy through Shamrock, just like for our other restaurant Crave Real Burgers. Everything is Colorado proud unless it’s our fish–flown in from Florida or Hawaii–or the winter when we have to use produce from warmer climates.”
At near completion, they are putting their money on the renovation being just the boost they need. “It’s almost done and we are already starting to see a new crowd of regulars coming to eat in the dining room,” smiled Jeryn. “It’s exciting!”