James Beard Award-winning chef Celina Tio opens the Belfry

01/17/2014 8:58 AM

01/17/2014 8:58 AM

Chef Celina Tio calls her newest operation, the Belfry, a “casual neighborhood joint.”

She’s opened it in the back of 1532 Grand Blvd. with its own entrance along 16th Street. Her Collection restaurant is in the front space.

Belfry’s “Day” menu is served from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and includes soup of the day, macaroni and cheese with one topping, sweet and spicy nuts, chopped salad, a cup of New England clam chowder, and ham and Gruyere cheese on semolina bread topped with a sunny-side-up egg. Drinks include the house blend of coffee, French-press coffee and teas.

The Collection menu also is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Belfry’s “Night” menu is served from 2 to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and includes Citra hoppy pickles, a half pound of peel-and-eat shrimp, griddled Farm to Market Bread Co. breads with bacon-onion jam, Tuscan fries with Parmesan aioli, and pulled chicken nachos with Tickler red onion cheddar sauce, black beans and green onions.

Need something a little more filling? The Belfry also is serving such items as house-ground burgers with double-cooked fries and house-made ketchup, baked rigatoni with house-made Italian sausage and herbed ricotta cheese, and short rib gravy over double-cooked fries with a sunny-side-up egg.

For dessert, look for such items as sticky salted caramel cake with buttered almond semifreddo and Julian’s chocolate ganache with Dark Truth Stout caramel.

Prices range from $3 for sweet and spicy nuts to $19 for lamb shepherd’s pie or the chicken and rice casserole.

Belfry has a full bar but specializes in craft beers and bourbon, and it offers “half pours” so customers can try more kinds.

“It’s very bourbon heavy,” Tio said. “I like bourbon. That’s my spirit of choice and has been for about 20 years.”

Belfry also has been running a Club Membership special, offering discounts to members all day Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. The cost is $40 for an annual membership.

“I’ve only been open for about two weeks and I already have about 30 regulars who have been in at least three times. And I’ve sold over 200 club memberships,” Tio said.

Belfry hours are 7 a.m. to at least midnight Monday through Saturday.

Tio, a James Beard Award-winning chef, had a seven-year stint at the American Restaurant before leaving to own and operate her own restaurant, Julian, in Brookside in 2009. She opened Collection in May 2013.

Tio also has competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef” and “Iron Chef America,” and also was on a recent episode of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue.”

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