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Ladera Grill becoming a favorite landmark

Since opening two years ago, eatery has become a downtown favorite

Published on Page 6 of the September 4, 2013 issue of Morgan Hill Life:

By Austin Belisle

Executive Chef Tony Carcial puts the finishing touches on a meal.  (Photo courtesy Dan McCranie)

Executive Chef Tony Carcial puts the finishing touches on a meal.
(Photo courtesy Dan McCranie)

Ladera Grill is Dan McCranie’s culinary adventure. The downtown Morgan Hill eatery is the Silicon Valley businessman’s vision for an upscale restaurant specializing in classic American dishes and top-notch customer service. Situated on the corner of Monterey Road and Third Street in the charming historic building that once served as the Skeels Hotel which hosted the Crown Prince and Prince of Sweden in 1926, Ladera Grill has fast become a landmark dining establishment famous throughout the Bay Area for its friendly servers and excellent cuisine.

“When I first thought of the idea for Ladera Grill in 2010,” McCranie said, “there were lots of locations to put the restaurant in.” Before the restaurant opened on May 27, 2011, the space was home to a casual, sit-down delicatessen called Ragoots. McCranie transformed the popular deli into a luxurious, 4,650-square-foot dining destination, complete with an expansive bar and comfortable outdoor seating. From the start, McCranie knew that the location was perfect and considered it his only option.

Aside from the ideal venue and fine dining atmosphere, the restaurateur needed a great staff led by executive chef Tony Garcia, McCranie’s partner. Garcia has helped offset any lack of knowledge of McCranie had of the restaurant business.

“We built a program where Tony picks his specials, and in two years, we’ve created 440 lunch and dinner specials,” McCranie said, laughing and acknowledging that Ladera has shattered the Cardinal Rule in fine dining: maintain a tight, focused menu.

Luckily for McCranie and Ladera Grill, Garcia’s 10 years of experience running Giancarlo’s Italian Restaurant in Morgan Hill give him the expertise to not only master contemporary American dishes, but add his own twists and inspirations to each plate. Filet mignon has been transformed into a melt-in-your mouth sandwich, macaroni and cheese bursts with the sweet, buttery flavor of fresh-caught lobster, and a kiss of harvested berries complement the sweet crunch of a torched crème brûlée.

To add complements to these delicious creations, McCranie hired Susan Marsh in April of 2012, who now serves as the restaurant’s sommelier and manager. “Before Susan was hired, we had 40 labels of wine,” he said. Now, Ladera Grill features 110 different labels and about 30 by the glass. With the help of Susan, the restaurant holds eight to nine wine dinners a year, all featuring local vineyards and winemakers.

McCranie’s experience may be rooted in the technology industry, but his passion for his restaurant and the Morgan Hill community is what makes his visions a reality that draws diners from all around the Silicon Valley.

“I knew that if you added a nice restaurant in downtown Morgan Hill, it would only expand the opportunities for revenue and growth in the area,” he said. “We want to be around for a long time, and we want Ladera to be a landmark in Morgan Hill. We can be a landmark.”

LADERA GRILL INFORMATION

Location: 17305 Monterey Road, #110

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Contact: (408) 201-9200 or www.laderagrill.com