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At the Colonial House Restaurant and Bar, we're all about improvement.
I’m a sports man. I associate many aspects of life to sports. So, when it comes to the draft, or hiring year of 2004, I think, WOW, we got really lucky with our pick, 14 year old Naomi Grenstiner. She was and has been one of our single best employees from the very beginning. She’s got the heart of a lion and would do anything for anybody whether that’s helping Sandy Beshara decorate the restaurant for an upcoming holiday at the crack of dawn, throwing an epic baby shower, or even watching my dog, Aggie, while I went out of town at a moments notice. She’s always been loyal and willing to do it all.
Simple math will tell you that 2004 was 10 years ago making Naomi a seasoned vet now. In fact we just celebrated her 10 year anniversary on October 23rd. So, what was Naomi like as a rookie? Well, she started off as a busser. She was tall from the beginning and even taller now. Coming from her family’s ranch she was farm strong and she knew how to handle herself. And she loved chocolate cake. I remember working nights with Naomi and come quittin’ time she would get a Chocolate Baby Cake in a to go box along with a plastic fork and finish the whole thing clean off on the car ride home well before she got there. She doesn’t do it anymore but she used to brag about how quick she could put it down. As her career moved steadily forward she became a host and eventually an expediter. Naomi has always excelled at whatever job she’s done and done it to its best potential. On top of that she’s always leading the pack and finding new and better ways to do things.
Naomi and I recently discussed what’s been going on outside of the Colonial House for her. “My boy-friend’s name is Rob Corrin AKA Rob Corncob.” She tells me. “I own my grandmother’s house and have been putting a lot of work into that. I also have my dog Riley. He’s a Yellow Lab. He can balance food on his face!” He’s dang good. Pictured is the pooch balancing a pancake on his snout for proof of his excellence. Naomi wears a heck of a lot of hats. She is also an Aerialist and can be seen soaring through the sky while practicing her sport at The Studio. Her day job is Office Assistant for Occupational Health at Rapid City Regional Hospital. And yet, possibly her most impressive title is four time defending Spoon Champ. As in, “Spoons the card game”, which is played annually at our employee appreciation party. Naomi owns at spoons… Owns.
When I asked her what has kept her here for 10 years Naomi said “It’s my second family.” Exactly how I feel Miss Grenstiner. But how about her first family? Many of them have worked here as well! Her Mom Shellee, Aunt Bobbi, Brother Zach, and Cousin Derrick.
Naomi it’s been amazing having you in the family these last 10 years. That 2004 draft pick couldn’t have been spent in any better way. Watching you grow up into the beautiful, clever, reliable young woman that you are now has been our privilege. Thank you for all you have done for us.
Oh, and one last thing, could you watch Aggie for me, thanks! –Max Beshara
Light, Fire and Spirits
Our last report focused on the outside of the new building and with the weather getting chillier, we decided to take this report inside. We put as much planning and thoughtfulness into the interior of this building than the exterior.
Do you love the natural lighting of our current home? The Colonial House is installing large 8×12 windows in the new restaurant as well. The entrance will be similar to our current location. There will be two doors on both sides of the sidewalk and a wood French door on the interior. Our greeting area will hold “Napoleon” fireplaces 6 feet high in the wall and will be 60” by 12” tall. Oh and both our pie and dessert case with be proudly displayed in the front lobby.
When you move inside a little further you will notice we have expanded our bar area to comfortably seat 80 people. The bar will include more TV’s as well as soft club seating. We will carry 12 tap beers, quiet an increase from our current location. If you have any beers you would love to see us carry, don’t be afraid to let us know! We will also be carrying wine on tap! By eliminating all the packaging that goes into distributing wine (bottles, corks, capsules, labels and cases), there is a lot less to ship and recycle, lowering the carbon footprint of your wine. We are very excited to be one of the first in Rapid City to offer wine on tap. This will include two white wines and two reds.
Everyone at the Colonial House is very excited about our big move. We have put a lot of thought on how we can become better and still make our guest feel right at home! Remember, even though there is a lot of change- we are the same people, with the same menu and the same great hospitality.
Turning the curve of winter, we get more excited each day for the opening of our new location! Hoping our guests are as excited as we are, here’s some more inside information.
Our parking lot will be the same height as the sidewalk out front, making access to the building hassle free. We also installed ballards to protect the building. We don’t want anyone getting too excited for the pie and driving into the building, safety first! (Inside joke for our loyal regulars.) Another perk of our new parking lot will be the “To-Go” spots reserved for those who have called in carry out. This will include a To-Go station inside, assuring that you won’t need to wait in line and get you on your way.
Colonial House is also excited about the bus stop being right out front of our location and the additional turn lane we will have going out of the parking lot.
Enough with the parking lot- let’s take a look on the inside. The interior has been completely gutted. With a clean slate, this location will be 100% Colonial House! There will be two new additions to the kitchen that will take Colonial House to the next level. One being the pasta extruder. What is this you ask? The pasta extruder will allow us to make fresh from scratch pasta in house at a much faster pace. The extruder can make several different shapes of pasta enhancing the flavor and texture of our dishes.
And last but not least, our new walk-in OVEN. The current oven capacity allows for 22 dozen caramel rolls a day. With the new oven we expect to double, perhaps triple our output, without compromising quality. You know what that means? More caramel rolls, pies, and pastries for everyone!
We hope this insider news helped ignite your excitement for the new location. Remember same great atmosphere, people and food- just a new location!
You’ve all asked, and we are here to answer. What is going on with the new location? What will it look like? Will there be better parking?
It’s been pretty exciting around here, preparing for our big move. We like to think of it as moving into a new house. Same great family, same made-from-scratch-in house food, same great culture, just more room to grow and serve our customers!
This progress started over a year ago, when the new location was purchased, October 2014. Work began last winter by removing all the existing décor, and completely gutting the interior space. Another frequently asked question: Will you keep any of the Mexican-themed décor? Hint: maybe!
One of the biggest advantages of our new location will be the adequate amount of parking. The new location will have 9,000 square feet, a whopping 3,500 additional square feet than our current location. Crews have been working hard this fall digging sixty feet of hillside, hauling over 300 truckloads of dirt, and adding two retaining walls. We’ll be designating four To-Go parking spaces (with curbside delivery!) and five ADA compliance spaces. The new location will host 2.5 times the parking of the current location!
We look forward to continuing the Colonial House legacy in its new home! Be on the lookout for next month’s newsletter for more progress updates!
Janice Horton and the Colonial House celebrate 10 glorious years together.
They just don’t make them like Janice any more. Janice AKA J.Ho is the real deal. She’s beautiful, she’s all in, and she’s the nicest person I have ever had the privilege of meeting. Born into this world at St. John’s of Rapid City she grew up in the Black Hills. She went to Central High School where she is currently employed. She is known as the, “Hot Lunch Lady”, that’s what me and my adolescent cohorts called her when we went through the lunch line anyway. She and her husband Rich have two wonderful boys together, Richard and Troy. Both have worked or work at the restaurant. J.Ho and I sat down on a Friday afternoon so that I could scribble down some of her touchstones. Little did I know our slated 10 minute conversation would run rampant into an hour and a half heart to heart. I loved this woman before but I am infatuated now. What I learned was Janice is a superb mom. Hey Troy! Hey Richard! Make way, I’m coming in hot, I’m your new brother.
“I have been at the Colonial House for 10 wonderful years now.” Janice tells me. How did you get your start? “Richard, my oldest son, came home one day and said, ‘I’m a stripper on 8th street!’ Better you than me. He was stripping beds at Knights Inn. From there he moved down 8th to the Colonial House. He started as a busser and moved his way up to serving. Bob Beshara told him, ‘You’re the son I never had.’ A couple of times Richard overslept and Bob came over banging on his bedroom window yelling, ‘You’re late for work! Time to get up!’ That kid could sleep through a hurricane. Anyway, I started working at the restaurant some short time after that as a summer job away from my school job.” That developed into J.Ho’s 10 year tenure.
J.Ho remembers the start to her employment, “Bob was a bunch of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed working for him. I really miss hearing Bob and Kevin go back and forth with each other. They were always so funny.” How do you feel about working here 10 years later? “This place is awesome. It’s easy to serve here. We always have good food, we are always consistent, and we take a lot of pride in our work. Guests have even asked me, ‘Are you part of the Beshara Family?’ – Yes I’m Bill’s illegitimate daughter, as long as Sandy is OK with it.” I believe people ask because of the fondness she speaks with of the Colonial House. She really is part of the family. J.ho is such a bright and warm person. The pure pleasure she evokes is intoxicating. Happiness pours out of her in buckets and it doesn’t stop and it doesn’t run out. If you asked 100 of her co-workers, what is the first word you think of when you think of Janice Horton? You would get 100 different answers that all lead to 1 thing: Janice Horton is the best.
“Work is fun. It’s LOTS of fun.” Janice adds. “I just love hearing people’s stories. I’ve received postcards and even flowers from guests that I’ve waited on. I love taking the time to talk with people over the course of dinner.” J.Ho has always had an incredibly contagious positive attitude. She always wears a smile and is in a better mood than you are. Which in turn puts you in a better mood. Having a bad day? Feeling a tad bit cranky? That is easily fixed by simply being in Janice’s bubble. She can always turn a bad attitude around. It’s known simply as the J.Ho effect. You can always count on a good time with J.Ho. Her philosophy is that, “Attitude is everything. Health, happiness, and hope, Max, that’s all you need. And I hate being crabby.” Janice tells me her great attitude can be attributed to her parents. They are and always have been extremely happy people. Janice has instilled this feel good type philosophy into her boys. “I just really wanted to be the best mom I could be for my kids.” J.Ho, you have raised some fine young men. I may even be a little peanut butter jealous.
I once heard you tell a guest, “I wouldn’t live anywhere else.” You were of course referring to the Black Hills. What about an island in the sun, is that not a better habitat? “The Hills are just awesome. They are great for a quick getaway and for rejuvenation. I feel very fortunate to have grown up here. I love Camping, hiking, enjoying these Black Hills. I just love the outdoors” What else do you do outside of work? “I have 30 or so plants at home. And I watch my boy’s dogs. Deuce is a yellow lab and Debo is a black lab. Richard lived in Denver a few years back with Debo. People down there would get very excited about his name mistaking it for Tebow.” Speaking of football, obsessed much? “That and a turkey or two. You know, the wild kind.”
Janice, remember the time you accidently ordered 9 chicken linguinis? “No! That was 6 Chicken linguinis! I meant to order 1 and then I hear Mike, who was traying up food yell, ‘Janice, come pick up these pastas!’ and I’m thinking, pastas? Pastas? Like more than 1?”
Troy, your son has been here for what 7-8 years now right? “Yes, Troy started when he was 14 years old. He moved up the ranks from busser to server like his brother. Troy is the easiest kid. He’s such a good boy.” Ya, I agree. I love Troy the Boy. And what a list of accomplishments he’s had in the last year. He bought a brand new truck, moved into an apartment and moved back out of it in the matter of a couple of months (not his undoing), bought a house, got engaged to his longtime girlfriend Bergen, took my and the rest of the Colonial House League’s money in Fantasy Football, and his Cowboys are better than 8-8 and doing work in the playoffs. Troy works hard and he earned every bit of his good fortune. But it’s also like J.Ho’s positivity rubs off on those she’s closest to, and you know what they say about positivity, good things happen to good people. The Horton’s are the cream of the crop. Which brings me back to my previous announcement. Hey, Hortons, I’m in the fam now. Janice is my new mom. Because Janice, you are an outstanding mom. Now, where is that shower…?
The Black Hills Runners Club Turkey Trot is a fundraiser to support community youth running, running scholarships, and running camps. Items donated include running shoes and gear for youth, so they may participate in their local/school running programs. Any extra money collected, go toward purchases that benefit the fitness community, such as the new Race Clock. The RaceClock is used by the entire western South Dakota running community (many, many races outside of the BHRC), other fitness user groups, schools and camps free of charge.
To help encourage our community to get out and “turkey trot,” Colonial House is doing their part by donating 360 pies. At the end of the race BHRC will hold a drawing for all contestants who participated to win one of the 360 pies!
So if you’re feeling up for a brisk jog and maybe winning a pie for your Thanksgiving Dinner, be sure to register! Registration is $15 per individual. You can register beforehand on www.blackhillsrunnersclub.com or the day off, at 8am, at the Old Story Book Island Shelter. Don’t miss out on a great Thanksgiving morning event!
Max and Hannah
It’s a tale as old as time, boy meets girl; boy does everything he can to win her heart.
We are so lucky Hanna Goebel is joining the Beshara Family! Max and Hannah met at the greatest place on Earth, the Colonial House. Hannah was in Rapid City visiting friends, and as it turns out Max shared a mutual friend.
For Hannah it was love at first sight, she said “I immediately asked my friend who the boy at the counter was, we even joked about me marrying him one day.”
That night Hannah said Max talked her into ordering some tiramisu and even talked her into a date.
Even though the two lived hundreds of miles away, Hannah soon moved to Rapid City. Now the two are planning a wedding and planning for their first baby.
Max keeps busy at Colonial House as the Front of the House Manager. He loves creating cheerful and colorful chalk drawings in the front lobby and welcoming each of you as you come in to join us for dinner and drinks or just dessert!
Hannah is an event coordinator/manager for the Historic Alex Johnson Hotel.
Prost to the next generation, Cheers to continuing the dynasty. Baby Beshara is coming, December 2014.
Lucy and Lee
Our family keeps growing and we are loving it! Lucy Beshara (soon-to-be-Gerry) and her fiancé Lee Gerry added another branch to our family tree on September 14, 2014 with the birth of Buckley White Gerry! Our newest bundle of joy joins big sister, Opal Marie Gerry.
Lucy has worked at Colonial House for years! And, now she’s taking on a new role, one she loves more than anything – staying home with her two sweet little babies.
So, look out world! Opal is walking and talking and Buckley is ready to take on the world, just after he takes a nap!
Our very own Jeff Slather joined the 3rd Annual Taste of Elegance, welcomed by the South Dakota Pork Producers. The competition included several of South Dakota’s finest chefs and ask them to create their favorite pork entrees. Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn hosted the event and John Morrell & Company furnished the meat for the banquet.
Each chef had their own prep kitchen but was encourage to have as many steps completed before arrival to the banquet. The kitchen had conventional ovens, warmers, coolers, 6 burners, and steamers. The chefs then had to create four plates with their entrees, one for each of the judges.
The judges requested a recipe for each item on the plate with a list of garnishes, side dishes, etc. After the judges had a chance to critique and score the dishes they left the rest up to “People’s Choice.” Guest who bought tickets were able to enjoy a sample of each chef’s dish, a cheese and vegetable table, wine and coffee.
Overall, it was a great experience and a fun way to get out in the community and enjoy cooking with all the excellent chefs Rapid City has to offer.