Restaurant to Make Comeback

A new owner hopes to revive J.R. Brewski's.

Restaurateur looks to revive J.R. Brewski’s-style food scene by
tweaking formula
Gilroy –  A local restaurateur will tweak the formula of the failed J.R. Brewski’s in hopes of reviving the upper end of Gilroy’s bar and food scene.

John Holder, a resident who runs his family’s Bay Area restaurant chain, known as Holder’s Country Inn, plans to open the West Side Grill in April at 8080 Santa Teresa Boulevard. The site has sat vacant since July, when Brewski’s closed after three years under the strain of more than a million dollars in debt.

The new menu is not final, but Holder said it will include throwbacks to Brewski’s, including steaks, seafood and pastas. Dinner prices ranging from $13 to $25 per entree also hark back to its pricey predecessor, but Holder believes he has found a new “twist” on the formula that will spell success.

“The restaurant is going to be similar to J.R. Brewski’s, but we’re going to try to take care of the families,” he said. “I live here and that was one of my favorite restaurants but it wasn’t really a place you could bring the kids. It was more of a specialty place. We’re going to try and make it more of a neighborhood eatery. It’s going to be higher end, but it’s going to cater to families.”

Holder hopes the new style will appeal to families from Eagle Ridge, a gated golf and residential community where he lives, and elsewhere in the northwest quadrant. Some of the residents, especially the golfing types, may notice something familiar about the food when the restaurant opens. Holder said he and his San Jose-based partner have teamed with executive chef Lou Zoulaica, once head chef at Cordevalle Country Club in San Martin, to run the West Side Grill.

Holder also is looking to expand the restaurant’s capacity for events by connecting a banquet area to the main dining hall. Under the current design, the banquet area is only accessible by leaving the restaurant and walking to the rear of the plaza, which faces Santa Teresa Boulevard.

The new owner said he is not worried about road construction in front of his new venture. Many believe the construction along Santa Teresa Boulevard put a dent in revenues for the last owner and helped tilt Brewski’s toward bankruptcy.

“We’re not worried about that at all,” Holder said of the construction. “I think it may have affected the previous tenant, but that’s starting to wind down.”