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Sweetwater Grill & Tavern reopens, Jazz still on tap

August 29, 2014

After months of renovations, Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm St., is back under new ownership.

Randy and Ryann Reid in the re-vamped Sweetwater Grill & Tavern patio.

Rick and Ryann Reid in the re-vamped Sweetwater Grill & Tavern patio.

Ryann and Rick Reid bought the downtown staple from longtime owners Jimmy and Karen Meredith in late March and opened the doors to the public earlier this week. With an updated interior and menu, they think old-time regulars and new patrons will be happy with the changes, Ryann Reid said.

“All of the reactions have been really positive,” she said. “Everybody kind of felt that we did a nice job with the renovations and re-purposing some of the old elements that were in Sweetwater, and giving it a fresh new look.”

The Sweetwater Jazz Quartet will start back up on Tuesday nights beginning Sept. 9, and the owners plan to bring in more musicians as the restaurant gets settled, bringing new and familiar sounds to guests.

The new interior features homages to the old Sweetwater, like illuminating old stained-glass panels and hanging up mirrors the Reids found in the back of the building. The things that needed to be updated, Ryann Reid said, were items such as the plumbing and restrooms.

“I think the biggest thing everyone’s really happy about are the new restrooms — the larger women’s restroom and the addition of new men’s rooms,” she said.

The couple also added a bar in the back room, which they’ve nicknamed the Walnut Street Annex. This is where they think the former regulars will go to hang out, since it’s separate from the restaurant portion of the building and has a stage area for music.

The Reids opened up the bar area floor plan, extending the bar and added more seating.

The Reids opened up the bar area floor plan, extending the bar and added more seating.

Also, along the back wall behind the main bar are shelves with trinkets found during construction, such as a sealed bottle of whiskey from the 1920s and stacks of horseshoes. As more stuff came up, Ryann Reid met with the Denton County Historical Commission to learn more about the building, such as learning how it was a horse stable in the late 1800s.

“It was kind of fun because the guys working would run across things every day, whether it was an old nail head, a piece of tack or the multitude of horseshoes that we found,” she said. “I think the whiskey bottle was the neatest find. We did some research on it and found it was a Paul Jones Whiskey, and found the bottle patent from 1927, which was funny because it was during Prohibition.”

The menu is another point of pride, Ryann Reid said. The only product that’s frozen is French fries, and the syrups and mixes for new specialty cocktails are made from scratch.

“With doing things like that, it does increase the ticket time a little bit, but you’re getting a better, fresher product every time,” she said.

The staff also is starting to adjust to the business being open to the public after they had some soft openings last week, Rick Reid said.

“We’re in that phase now where we’re trying to get in a routine,” he said. “This week has been fantastic because we’ve had good sales, and we haven’t had a giant influx and people having to wait for an hour.”

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.

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