After five months of cleaning up fire damage, a Brookside restaurant will open its doors in just days.
We got a sneak peek inside Michael Forbes Bar & Grille.
An electrical fire in April forced them to close their doors and renovate just about the entire restaurant.
"I remember the emotion of driving up and seeing six fire trucks and going 'Oh my God," said owner Forbes Cross. Weeks after the fire, [arts of the basement and kitchen proved to be so damaged that it delayed opening the restaurant from June to now.
In the process of cleaning up, they discovered the original ceiling and a beautiful original floor that now add to a more spacious, light, and modern vibe.
Almost every employee is coming back after many had to take second jobs during the renovation.
The servers were making minimum wage during that time, but had to make up the difference in their income without tips.
"But that wasn't near what their tips were so they all got second jobs," said owner Forbes Cross. "Honestly, they're all leaving their second jobs and coming back." In fact, Cross hired more people than before the restaurant closed. He is increasing his staff from 35 to 47.
Cross anticipates a very busy restaurant. He said the restaurant’s phone has been ringing off the hook all week with people wondering when they will open their doors again. He knows some had their doubts the restaurant would return.
"We never had a second thought," he said. "We knew we were coming back." Forbes opened the restaurant on the corner of 63rd street more than three years ago. Cross said he helped open the original Michael Forbes restaurant at 75th and Wornall which was open from 1985 to 2000. Coming back to and staying in the Waldo/Brookside area was a matter of family and history for Cross. He remembers his first hair cut at the nearby barber shop. His mother grew up a few blocks away and now he lives in Brookside as well.
Cross hopes to open next week, as early as Monday, with some new items on the menu.
"We have a simple approach," said Cross. "Everything is fresh, fresh every day. We don't buy anything frozen."
Matt Cross, Forbes' son, serves as executive chef at the restaurant. He pointed out the Steak Gorgonzola Rigatoni and Carnitas as a few of his favorite new items on the menu. You'll also find Pulled Pork Sliders, Creme Brulee, and a Reuben on the menu now. "We make the corned beef in house," said Cross.
Check out the new menu below.
Lindsay Shively can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.