The GROVE Restaurant, Patio and Ballroom located at Lakewood Ranch Main Street, will officially open its doors on Monday, December 10th. I was lucky to attend the VIP party to preview the food and drink offerings and have a sneak peek at the amazing renovation that has taken place at the former site of the Polo Grill restaurant and Fete event banquet space. Grove is the newest offshoot of Pier 22, the award-winning waterfront destination headed by restaurateur Hugh Miller and executive chef and director of operation Greg Campbell.
Prepare to be wowed when you enter the restaurant space that has been completely transformed from the dark and cavernous space that used to be the Polo Grill and Fete banquet hall. When you arrive at the Grove, you’ll be welcomed into a modern and comfortable venue. The outdoor patio space is filled with tables and inviting seating arrangements that will accommodate all sizes of parties. During the “cool” winter evenings, there are gas heaters and “fire pit” tables so that you can comfortably enjoy dinner or cocktails outdoors. The covered ceiling was designed to protect diners from the harsh sun, yet it can be opened up to allow light in as well. The restaurant is bright and airy with an indoor/outdoor bar area. Its space is integrated with glass partitioned booths and additional alcoved seating areas throughout. The modern and open feel throughout makes for a cool and hip vibe that I had not experienced in the Lakewood Ranch dining scene.
The ballroom spaces also underwent a significant makeover with bright white walls and ceiling. No more dark wood panelling-this a vibrant and inviting space that would be ideal for a corporate event or a wedding.
After walking through the ballroom, I entered the restaurant, bar and outdoor patio area and was truly impressed with the total transformation to the entire space. I was fortunate to speak to Executive chef, Greg Campbell. He is very excited to be able to bring this concept to life and offer so many choices for diners. He said there is something for everyone on the expansive menu. The restaurant offers vegetarian options, gluten free and paleo options as well. Greg also added that if there’s something you don’t see on the menu, just ask-they will make it happen.
As I toured the space, the wait staff eagerly passed around endless trays of appetizers-I lost track of the parade of delicacies. There were scallops on top of potato pancakes, prime rib skewers, lamb chops, ahi tuna nachos, garlic French fries, crab cakes, shrimp shooters, and beef poutine sliders. One of our servers, Rebecca, was so charming and accommodating. She brought me a salad without cheese when I told her that I didn’t eat any dairy. Later on in the evening, desserts were passed as well-cheesecake bites, chocolate cake, peanut butter and chocolate cake, carrot cake-again, I lost track. Everything was presented beautifully and was delicious as well.
I also had the opportunity to speak with Austin Harlow, the General Manager at Grove. He is very excited to see the results of months of planning to bring Grove to life. He sees the need for this type of dining in Lakewood Ranch and sees the bar and restaurant as a great gathering space for locals in LWR as well as winter residents that vacation in this area.
Grove will open for business on December 10th. Restaurant hours are Monday-Thursday 11:30 am to 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday until midnight and Sunday 11:00 am and until 10:00 pm. Happy Hour is every day 3:00 to 7:00 pm with specials on craft cocktails, beer, wine and appetizers. A late night menu will be offered Friday and Saturday from 10 pm to midnight with bar bites and creative culinary cocktails.
Prime Rib dinner will be served Fridays and Saturdays from 4-10 pm and Sunday Brunch from 11 am to 3 pm.-add on a bottomless mimosa, bloody mary or sangria for $15/person. You can also make it a Veuve Clicquot mimosa for $60/person.
Click here for their website for more information.
Photos courtesy of Heidi Schild and Grove website.