Dining under a leafy vine canopy, you smile and take a sip of wine. It's nighttime under the stars, and you're enjoying a little jazz with your delicious meal. The table is lit warmly overhead by antique gas lamps, and the aged-brick wall will add texture to your memory. No, you're not in Europe. Rather, you're at The Winery Restaurant on Grand Junction's historic Main Street.With new open-air seating, indoor renovations and a revamped menu, The Winery has undergone its biggest change yet, owner Steve Thoms said. A dining patio was built in the breezeway to resemble the restaurant's interior, complete with custom railings, tabletops and chairs. Interior work included repainting, an upgraded computer system, a new host area and improved lighting. The newly completed renovations carried an almost $30,000 price tag."Everything we did is local," Thoms said.Outdoor operations began last week.
Opened in 1973, the 39-year-old restaurant lives in a century-old structure which previously housed a horse-drawn carriage fire station. Thoms took over the business in 2004, and he said he loves the restaurant's historic feel.Known for its full-dining experience - including steaks, chicken, pork, fresh seafood and an extensive wine list - Thoms also noted that lighter menu options at The Winery will be available outside."Patio dining definitely has a more relaxed atmosphere," he said. "You may have a full dinner, or appetizers and wine."Patio and bar snacks - like Osso Bucco-style chicken legs, oysters, beef short ribs and stuffed-sausage mushroom caps - are perfect for groups to share. And don't forget to ask your server about the drink of the day.A variety of seasonal drink options featuring local flavors will be available inside and out. Fresh Palisade peach martinis and mojitos are currently available. "An expanded drink menu - with lighter, fruitier drinks - fits into summer dining," Thoms said.The Winery Restaurant - located at 642 Main St. - is open every day, starting with cocktail service at 4:30 p.m. and dinner at 5. A limited dinner menu will now be served until 10:30 p.m. or later, depending on demand. Reservations are taken for indoor and outdoor seating, and patio seating will be available as long as weather permits. For more information, visit www.winery-restaurant.com.