Beaujolais owners work to increase market position

Moving a restaurant’s physical location is tricky.

Moving its position in the market at the same time adds significantly to the degree of difficulty.

Bill and Trisha Gilbert think they can pull it off as they move the iconic Beaujolais into its new location at 763 Riverside Drive, where it’s a cornerstone of a growing and buzzy little scene at the west edge of downtown Reno.

The restaurant known as Beaujolais Bistro during its first 11 years in business is dropping the “Bistro” from its name, adding a full bar and a small-plate bar menu as part of its move.

The rebranding and repositioning — which also includes a new logo, new Web site and heavy social media push — is intended to jump-start growth for Beaujolais, says Bill Gilbert.

In its first decade in business on West Street in the heart of downtown, the restaurant developed a reputation as the go-to place for a special occasion or a quiet romantic dinner.

The partners who own the business — the Gilberts, and her parents, Dr. Gerald and Teresa Jackson — had become convinced that the location in West Street Market wouldn’t allow Beaujolais to grow out of that niche.

Gilbert, a chef whose passion is traditional French food, wasn’t crazy about the way that the back of the house was arranged at the West Street location.

The vibe around the West Street neighborhood — pub crawls, special events that consume all the available parking for blocks — didn’t provide much help, either.

The new location in a former brick home redeveloped as restaurant space by Paddy Egan’s Urban Investments provides peaceful, park-like setting with windows that face the manicured greenery along the banks of the Truckee River.

Paolo Cividino of Reno’s Tutto Ferro designed the interior — an open kitchen, seating for 40, accents of brushed zinc. White Cloud Construction and Ruby Crest Design brought the design to reality.

“This place has a great energy,” says Bill Gilbert. “The feedback has been tremendous.”

As the Gilberts work to widen the position of Beaujolais in the restaurant market, they’re emphasizing the addition of a bar — a feature lacking in the previous location.

Bill Gilbert, who acknowledges that he didn’t know nearly as much as he thought he knew about running a bar, turned to Duncan Mitchell of Reno’s Chapel Tavern to design the bar, select its offerings and train its staff.

With the bar opening at 4 p.m. each day, the Beaujolais menu now includes small plates and other bar food. Dinner begins at 5 Tuesday through Sunday.


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