Popular Middletown restaurant adds new lunch service through the summer

One of Middletown’s popular downtown restaurants is open for lunch on Fridays this summer.

Offering specialty lunch selections, Gracie’s will be serving lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Fridays through Labor Day.

“We are going to have our ham salad back on the menu,” said owner Ami Vitori Kimener. “That’s something everybody’s missed, so we’re putting it on this lunch menu. Guests can come in and get it.”

Other features will include the Gracie’s Burger, a BBQ Bacon Burger and Gracie’s Salad. Plus, Executive Chef Brian Clark will be adding a few new menu items like an Eggplant Parmesan in addition to the ham salad. Cocktails and a full bar will also be available.

“Since we opened, we’ve had a lot of people asking us to be open for lunch. There’s really not a good sit-down, full-service option besides the chains, so we thought we would give it a try in the summer, especially Fridays, when we know people often go out to lunch with their office mates, or take off a little early,” said Vitori Kimener.

“We thought with the patio and good weather, that would be a great way to test out just how many people are interested in coming in for a nice sit-down lunch. This is a great way to kick off the weekend.”

Gracie’s opened for its first Friday, summer lunch on June 14. The restaurant also hosted a test the Friday before, and more than 40 guests turned out. Vitori Kimener expects the news to spread by word of mouth and via social media.

“We are trying it out to see how it goes. Then we might expand it. We’ve also talked about doing a brunch this summer,” she said.

With a focus on community and a heart for “Big City Comfort Food,” the menu selections at Gracie’s are fresh and made from scratch. Seared local walleye, served blackened with creamy grits, haricot verts and pimiento peppers, is one of the favorites on the dinner menu. For starters, guests love the housemade cornbread and honey butter as well as the charred brussel sprouts with bacon and Sriracha cream sauce.

A blackboard above the kitchen highlights Gracie’s nightly specials, Monday through Saturday. The restaurant’s name pays homage to Vitori Kimener’s grandmother, Grace Vitori and her husband, Nick, who owned a small grocery store in Mayfield, Vitori’s Market.

“The weekends have been really busy at the restaurant during the evenings, and we’ve seen more new businesses on the way like the hotel, Indigo Pass — and we felt like, again, given the summer, people having shorter schedules, and being able to get out more on a Friday would help us to build the lunch crowd,” said Vitori Kimener.

As for summer live entertainment during dinner at Gracie’s, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., guests can enjoy Chuck Evans on Saturday, June 22, and Saturday, July 13. Ashley + Rick will perform on Thursday, July 11. Guests can sit on the patio, eat, drink and enjoy the music.

Additionally, Gracie’s will be hosting a #Emistrong! fundraiser for Emily “Emi” Cox, a Middletown native, former hostess at Gracie’s and a previous child-care provider at Haven, on Thursday, June 27. Ten percent of sales that day will go Cox’s medical bills. Guests can also add a donation to their check that day.

Gracie’s is at 1131 Central Ave. in downtown Middletown. In addition to lunch on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Gracie’s is open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. It’s closed Sundays. For more details, visit Gracie’s on Facebook, or at www.graciesmiddletown.com. Watch for more details on Sunday brunch, which is anticipated to be open starting in July.

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