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Solera reopens: Ben Graves gives details on the new menu and decor

Graves Hospitality reintroduced Solera 2.0 last night.

Graves Hospitality reintroduced Solera 2.0 last night.

Graves Hospitality took over Solera's restaurant and event center operations last November with plans to freshen up the concept. Looks and tastes that seemed striking eight years ago--has it really been that long?--were starting to feel a little dated.

So the restaurant shut down last Sunday for a light remodel and reopened last night with a cleaner, more contemporary look and new chef Jorge Guzman's menu, which expands Solera's original tapas concept to include a more well-rounded assortment of entrees, salads, and soups, plus a large selection of house-made charcuterie.

The Hot Dish touched base with Graves Hospitality president Ben Graves to find out more about the changes:

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The restaurant's front lounge/tapas bar is now filled with new hammered copper dining tables and heavy leather chairs in lieu of the large wall/host desk by the door and the high-top and canoe-shaped tables. The concrete floor has been covered with wood to make the space feel warmer and more organic.

Here's a little "before"...

And "after"...

The restaurant's lounge, miid-renovation.

The restaurant's lounge, miid-renovation.

Guzman's new menu was intended to lighten up Solera's food offerings. "The [old] menu was too tapas-only focused and almost had only one flavor profile--salty, savory and a bit heavy," Graves says. The new menu, he notes, is more well-rounded, citing the addition of more greens, more fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced ingredients. The new menu, he says, will change more frequently and be more chef-driven, as opposed to the old menu's constancy ("it was laminated and looked like a chain restaurant menu" Graves notes).

The menu may look markedly different, but Graves points out that some the of the old favorites have been remade into new dishes that offer a greater variety of flavors and textures. For example, the chorizo stuffed dates have been incorporated into an organic greens salad with a blood orange vinaigrette.

While we might miss the happy hour and tapas-for-two deals at the original Solera, we're very much looking forward to hitting the old familiar roofdeck and checking out the new menu--and what was that about complementary sangria at the start of every meal?