People who visit American Bounty in the next several months may begin to notice subtle changes, as the restaurant prepares for a transition to a new name and image as Old Vine Riverfront Bistro.
Brian Manhardt, who has owned and operated the restaurant for the past 18 years, said it’s time for a change.
The transition has been taking place since June and will fully convert to Old Vine Riverfront Bistro in January 2013.
The biggest change will be the focus on casual dining.
“We will be more friendly to the casual diner than we have been in the past,” Manhardt said. “We will still have the same high-quality food we’ve always purchased and put out, but people won’t need a reservation or to be dressed up to come in.”
Manhardt plans to eliminate the main dining room fireplace and put several granite-topped booths along one side of the wall. The main dining area also will have new wood floors installed.
The upstairs area will remain a wine bar for the 21 and older crowd, Manhardt said.
A television will be installed in the upstairs wine bar, as well as the atrium bar on the lower level. Pub tables also will be added to the atrium bar.
Dining areas without television also will be available.
When weather permits, bands will perform on the patio, as they have in the past.
“I look forward to being a more social restaurant than a quiet sit-down place,” Manhardt said.
Though customers will see some of their old menu favorites, the menus — and prices — will be more bistro style.
Some examples of menu items might include a small plate version of beef medallions with port onions and bleu cheese in puff pastry for $13.95 or a specialty pizza, like chicken sausage with fresh spinach and asiago cheese for $12.95.
“I want the next generation of people who go out for a glass of wine or beer and want quality to feel more comfortable,” he said. “It’s been 18 years. It’s time to retire the American Bounty. It’s time for something new.”
Manhardt said the restaurant will still accommodate both large and small groups.
The circa 1855 brick building, once a residence, started out as a wine and tobacco shop, which is where Manhardt came up with the idea for the name Old Vine Riverfront Bistro.
“(The name change) is about the building being the Washington building it’s supposed to be,” he said. “It gives it back to the city.”
Manhardt couldn’t ignore the “For Sale” sign in the front yard.
“Am I retiring?” he asked “Maybe.”
Manhardt said he’s not going to be in the restaurant industry forever and wants to see where life takes him.
Current hours are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5 to 9 p.m., Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m., Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Hours will adjust through the winter, Manhardt noted.
For more information, people may visit bountyrestaurantandwinebar.com or on Facebook by searching “American Bounty Restaurant and Wine Bar.”