Owner will keep bakery for freshly made bread and pies
Published in the September 27 – October 10, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life
For the past 10 years, Ron Garald has dreamed of turning the Cochrane Road site of his Marie Callender’s Restaurant and Bakery into a casual dining steakhouse. His decade-long dream came true in mid-September when the doors of Forbes Grill opened to an enthusiastic public.
The restaurateur operated various Marie Callender’s in the Silicon Valley since 1970. A few years ago, he branched away from the famous franchise and joined with business partners to open the high-end Forbes Mill Steakhouse in Danville and Los Gatos. The concept combined excellent cuisine and distinguished service with a stylish and comfortable environment. Garald’s ambition for Forbes Grill was to provide a similar experience for diners but at lower prices to attract families. The restaurant got a major remodel to became the home of an eatery offering premium quality food in a friendly atmosphere served by knowledgeable and attentive staff. For after-work hours, a cozy bar area welcomes customers to enjoy wine, beer or a cocktail served by an expert barkeep. And good news for aficionados of baked goods. Keeping the beloved Marie Callender’s tradition, Forbes Grill will sell fresh-baked bread straight out of the oven as well as a choice of four delicious pies: banana, chocolate pies, high-top apple, and berry.
Garald describes the décor of his new restaurant as “industrial-rustic.” The barn wood and spacious leather booth seating are accented by delightfully creative light fixtures that create an elegant and relaxing ambiance to enjoy a long evening’s dinner.
The restaurant staff provide personal service to patrons, an important component of the Forbes Grill customer experience, he said.
“I always tell my staff that when customers come through that door, they don’t want to worry about things like their taxes and their problems,” he said. “We want our patrons to forget all their troubles and have a great time here.”
Much like Forbes Mill, Forbes Grill will offer a prix fixe menu that will be changed every month to reflect the season or a special occasion.
“Whatever is in season, we’ll see how we can bring it to the table,” he said. “If halibut is in season, we might do an Alaskan regional menu.”
The kitchen is run by executive chef Josh Dixon, formerly of the American bistro Nick’s Next Door in Los Gatos.
“He’s a great chef, and he kind of goes a little separate from the norm,” Garald said. “When we talked about the kind of food I was looking for, that was exactly what he wanted to do. We were on the same page of creating innovative food, not just the usual classic eggs Benedict.”
One idea Dixon had was to create a Dutch baby, a crepe-style sweet that rises along the sides of the pan to create a delicious dessert container filled with fresh, locally grown fruit.
“When the server walks it to the table, people are going to look at it and order it,” Garald said. “It’s one of those eye-popping dishes.”
Morgan Hill resident Ken Murray and his wife, Connie, visited for the Sept. 17 brunch and found the menu offered a hearty balance of selections from breakfast to lunch items.
“The steak Benedict was truly exceptional. The hollandaise sauce was light and perfectly emulsified with a balanced blend of butter/egg flavor with a hint of lemon,” he said. “This sauce is what hollandaise is all about. The perfectly poached egg was placed on top of tender beef fillet medallions, all resting on what appeared to be a house-made toasted English muffin. A definite re-order for me!”
His wife enjoyed a Forbes Grill burger served on a brioche bun with the meat hanging out the sides. He tried a sample of her burger and found it delicious.
“The bakery will be a huge draw for the restaurant,” Murray said. “But the heart of any burger is the meat. It was the flavor of the meat combined with the brioche bun, a secret sauce and condiments that makes this the best $16 hamburger in Morgan Hill. And oh, by the way, house cut skinny crunchy fires — my favorites — rounded out the burger selection. I predict the quality of food and the levels of service will place Forbes Grill as one of the best dining experiences in our city, and it will become a destination restaurant.”