Following a short, unsuccessful stint as Top East Restaurant, the Horizon Drive eatery changed its name and menu and reopened about two weeks ago as Sakura Asian Bistro.
The restaurant at 707 Horizon Drive now features “99 percent” Japanese food, including sushi and teriyaki-, tempura- and habachi-style dishes, according to part-owner and general manager Peter Young.
He said the restaurant purchases its sushi from Seattle and Denver and recruited two Japanese chefs from New York and a sushi chef from California.
“There were too many types of cuisine in one restaurant — sushi, Chinese, Japanese, Thai,” Young said. “It was just so confusing. Now we concentrate all on Japanese food.”
Young, who was a part owner of Top East, acknowledged Top East didn’t do well in its roughly six-month stint. Top East and its new ownership group took the place formerly occupied by Hereford Steak and Sushi. That address has also been home to Bin 707 and Pantuso’s Ristorante.
He said Sakura is off to a slow start, as well, but is hopeful that will change as word gets out about the change.
“This time of year is slow for the restaurant business anyway,” Young said. “We are holding on because we know we just changed the menu. It’s going to take a few weeks for people to start to come in.”
■ Failure to pay state sales tax forced the closure of four Q&T Food Stores and the Beer Barn in Montrose in January. The impact of the struggling economy prompted owner John Logan to shutter his stores for good in March.
But son Les Logan learned quite a bit working in the family business for 18 years, including the last four as the manager of the Beer Barn. He connected with customers, so much so that their loyalty, combined with his savings, spurred him to open Beer Barn II at 1001 E. Main St., the former location of one of the Q&T stores.
“Ninety-nine percent of it was my customer following. I had an excellent customer following. They were behind me and hated to see (Q&T and Beer Barn) close. They were in there helping as much as they could,” Logan said.
Logan said he’s offering a larger selection of alcohol and selling propane in an effort to cater to a broader section of the population. “It’s been doing great,” he said of Beer Barn II. The community has shown me I made the right decision.
Beer Barn II is open from 8 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.
■ The Grand Valley is a long way from a rocky, lighthouse-dotted shoreline. But a recently completed remodel at the Grand Junction Red Lobster, 575 24 1/2 Road, is intended to replicate that landscape for diners.
Inspired by the New England coast, the national seafood chain is redesigning both the interior and exterior of many of its restaurants, including the one that opened in Grand Junction in 1994.
The new exterior features a stone tower, ship lanterns to welcome guests after dark and Adirondack-style chairs.
Inside, there is expanded seating for large parties, nautical decor such as signal flags and seaside-inspired artwork, LED lighting and other energy-saving upgrades, according to Red Lobster spokeswoman Kristen Johnson.
Remodeling at all restaurants will be completed by the end of 2014, she said.
Red Lobster donated its old furnishings from remodeled restaurants to Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets.
■ Advanced Title Co. has relocated to 622 Rood Ave., giving owners Bob and Tammy Reece their own office in an effort to make themselves more visible and accessible to customers.
The title company shared space with Cobb & Associates at 521 Rood Ave. for the last three years.
“If you’re going to go into retail business, you need your own front door,” Bob Reece said of the reason behind moving into a roughly 1,500-square-foot space a block away.
Reece and his wife aren’t new to the title business.
They owned the former First American Title Co. for 20 years, operating in Grand Junction, Delta and Montrose before selling to Heritage Title Co. in 2001. The following year, they formed Advanced Title Technology, a company that secured and provided data and document images to title companies. Reece created Advanced Title Company in 2007.
While it’s currently a two-person operation, Reece said he and his wife plan to add employees in the future.