Brian Appell and his daughter Lidia, 11, Tuesday in front of their new restaurant ‘High Elevation’ opening in mid-September at 1789 Central Ave. Photo by Carol A Clark/ladailypost.com
Restaurateur Brian Appell is launching a new eatery at 1789 Central Ave., in the heart of downtown Los Alamos.
Appell takes possession of the space most recently occupied by the Manhattan Project Bar & Grill, Saturday, Aug. 1 and he plans to begin interior renovations right away.
“We are naming our new restaurant High Elevation,” Appell told the Los Alamos Daily Post. “Our goal is to be open by mid-September.”
He explained that he and his wife Olga love European bistro style seating and plan to create an outdoor seating area in front of his restaurant with place for 12-15 diners. Over the next year he would like to add a large overhead awning to provide shade from the sun and protection from the rain for his patrons.
Appell brings plenty of experience to the venture as he also owns the Bandelier Grill at 11 Sherwood Blvd., in White Rock, Los Ojos Restaurant & Saloon in Jemez Springs and the Ridgeback Cafe in La Cueva on the turnoff to Fenton Lake.
“We want to provide that niche that Los Alamos needs and wants,” Appell said. “Our menu will be affordably priced and include well-prepared high quality healthy foods … organic, and pesticide, MSG and gluten free … probably half the menu will be vegetarian. Lunchtime will be faster service and feature a salad bar, potato bar and pasta bar. Our dinner will feature grass fed beef, hormone free chicken and ocean raised fish.”
Appell is well versed on nutritional food having coached 12 Olympic athletes with some 55 others working out at his training camp in the Jemez Mountains. His wife Olga is an Olympic athlete. She competed in the marathon at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and the 10,000 meter race in 1996 in Atlanta. She was second in the 1993 New York City Marathon and came in first in the 1994 Los Angeles Marathon, he said.
“It looks like our daughter Lidia got good genes from us … she’s just 11 but she’s already won the Los Alamos County elementary school races in 5th and 6th grade,” Appell said. “Now she’s entering middle school and will train under Coach Brad Skidmore. I’ll intervene and begin to train her when she’s in late high school or college.”
Appell and his family moved to this side of the mountain to have their daughter in schools with the best academic success, he said. Lidia attended Chamisa and he commends Principal Debbie Smith and the teachers and staff there saying, “It is no wonder it’s the top elementary school in the state.”
High Elevation will open at 11 a.m., seven days a week and remain open through the afternoon, transitioning to the dinner menu at 5 p.m., and stay open until 8 or 9 p.m. depending on demand.
Appell intends to utilize the large space in the back of his new restaurant for poker leagues and dart tournaments as well as make it available for events and business functions. He is having a 20-foot by 20-foot motorized movie screen installed for games and business presentations.
He is transferring his full liquor license from Bandelier Grill to High Elevation and applying for a beer and wine license for Bandelier Grill. The process takes about three months so there shouldn’t be an interruption in service at Bandelier Grill, Appell said.
Appell is hoping to beat the odds and enjoy success in his new space, which didn’t prove to be the case for others in recent years. The Manhattan Project restaurant lost its appeal in bankruptcy court and closed down May 13. Its predecessor the Dixie Girl only lasted a couple of years before selling and before that the Central Avenue Grill ended up bankrupt.
“I know that there have been restaurants that haven’t been successful in this space but I really intend to do everything possible to make this a place that the community loves to frequent, he said, and I’m not a quitter – I plan to be here for a long time.”