Canyon 49 Grill revamps menus, entertainment
By Ryan Kryska
GCU News Bureau
Thursday night looked like this for a chunk of the staff at Canyon 49 Grill: Loading up a truck full of food and supplies. Driving hours up to Prescott for a United Way charity event. Cooking, serving and cleaning up into the night — then driving back to Phoenix to get a not-so-good night’s sleep.
Friday, however, looked like a normal day. It was business as usual for the dedicated staff that has revamped its menus, changed the way its special events run and refocused its mission of serving the Grand Canyon University community and beyond.
Brett Cortright, the GCU Hotel manager, and Marcus Maggiore, the Grill’s executive chef, want you to taste what’s cooking over at the 27th Avenue hotel restaurant, open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
For starters, the dinner menu features new appetizers such as a Baja shrimp ceviche dish that mixes sweet jalapeno, cucumber, red onion and cilantro with fresh shrimp for the perfect tortilla chip scoop.
The soup and salad selection has been changed to fit the fall season, including a grilled salmon quinoa salad with all the right toppings and a chicken tortilla soup from the old menu that was too good to nix.
Entrees now include chipotle chicken mac and cheese, blackened cod, salmon and a New York strip steak with a house chipotle honey butter and chorizo potato hash.
“I would never … in fact, I would go so far as to say I can’t stand corned beef hash,” Cortright said. “And ours rocks.”
Anyone who eats breakfast at the restaurant will be treated to a free smoothie on the next trip in. Just hold onto the receipt from your meal and show it on the next visit.
“We upped our game completely and tried to make food you would get in any high-end restaurant approachable to the student body and to our local guests,” Maggiore said. “It’s a chance for us to kind of show off what we can do as chefs, a chance to make the best food we can.”
Maggiore says 90 percent of the grill’s food is made from scratch. They take pride in that. Maggiore, Cortright and Sous Chef Mike Willison combine for more than 30 years of experience in hotel dining.
“I think the more people we can get in the building to see what we are doing, the more they are going to gravitate toward us because they are going to realize we are the hidden gem on the property,” Maggiore said. “If you haven’t come to see us, you are kind of missing out.”
The restaurant has multiple events for employees and students, one of which is Friday dorm nights.
“We have retro video games out for free and free movies and popcorn,” Cortright said. “Students should know that they can come here every Friday. It’s not like they have to wait for their dorm’s dorm night.”
Both student and employees receive a 10 percent discount to the Grill, and students can use their dining dollars. There’s also a free shuttle that runs from campus to Canyon 49 every 20 minutes until 10 p.m.
The restaurant staff hosts free wine tastings on Wednesday and runs cooking classes on Thursday, which have been a hit as of late. It also has started a monthly “culinary journey around the world” meal that features plates from a specific region.
“It gives our hotel guests and our employees something fun to do and reminds them that we are here for them,” Cortright said.
Maggiore says the restaurant also has plenty of entertainment to stay after a meal and is the go-to place before and after GCU sporting events.
“We have a foosball table, ping-pong table, giant Jenga, we have a patio, we have the environment where everyone can come and just hang out and have fun,” Maggiore said. “You don’t have to travel. Just come across 27th Avenue.”
Contact Ryan Kryska at (602) 639-8415 or [email protected].
GCU Today: New chefs reconnect at Canyon 49 Grill