Hank Kraft got the call first; then it went to chef Brad Johnson: varied words carried the same message: Redrock Canyon Grill is on fire.
That was last spring when a pair of storms converged over Oklahoma City to duke it out. The only winners were roofers and construction general contractors.
When Redrock Canyon Grill, 9221 Lake Hefner Parkway, reopened Monday, it marked again how temporary defeat at the hands of chaos can blossom into long-term gain when folks unite to restore order.
“Redrock is a 1999 restaurant,” said Hank Kraft, chief operating officer for the Hal Smith Restaurant Group. “We wanted to update a few things to move the restaurant forward.”
That entailed some lighter coats of paint, updates to the bar, a true wine cellar and converting the covered patio into a true indoor-outdoor patio.
“We enclosed the patio and installed garage-door style windows,” Kraft said. “This allows us to keep furniture out there year-round.”
It also means the climate in the room can be controlled either by man or God. Now those spectacular sunsets can be enjoyed in full comfort. The outdoor bar areas were virtually untouched and remain among the most attractive spots in the city to relax with a libation.
The food went untouched.
“We haven't changed anything on the menu,” Johnson said. “You don't mess with success. If I took the Cluck n Moo off the menu, I'd have a riot on my hands.”
Specialties remain the same: rotisserie chicken; steaks, meat loaf, pork chops, salmon, ribs, steaks and enchiladas.
Starters still include a stuffed poblano, calamari, iron-skillet cornbread, tortilla soup and shrimp.
My favorite thing to get is the steak and enchiladas. Skirt steak and couple of expertly prepared Tex-Mex-style enchiladas is my kind of comfort food.
On the night of the fire, which was caused when high winds and hail damaged a neon light that ignited the flames, employees had just exited the restaurant and saw the flames on the roof.
“We were very fortunate in a lot of ways,” Kraft said. “Most importantly, nobody was hurt. Then we were lucky the fire was noticed right away. Finally, we have excellent insurance that allowed us to not only remodel, but covered our lost revenue and paid our staff while the restaurant was closed. I'd say we've retained about 99 percent of our staff.”
Redrock Grill's reopening is indicative of the restaurant's 13 years of unmitigated success.
When Redrock opened in 1999, it marked the beginning of a new direction for the Hal Smith Restaurant Group.