By Jenn Watt
Published July 18 2016
The first thing you notice when you walk into Stone 21 the new restaurant in Pinestone Resort is the walls. The dining space that was once almost aglow with wood-lined walls has been painted a flat black with the original wood left in places creating a contemporary look.
The Heatherwood a traditional restaurant that had developed a reputation for being too upscale for some has been replaced with a new concept that comes with new hours and a new menu.
Stone 21 is aiming to broaden its appeal keeping the original clientele of Heatherwood with its classic entrees while finding a new audience with a range of appetizers vegan and vegetarian options and later hours.
It started with a discussion between food and beverage director Collin Burke and general manager John Teljeur.
They couldn’t keep going with the Heatherwood as it was Teljeur said and Burke told him he had a few ideas about how to change things up.
“I thought the room deserved better” said Burke who has worked at Pinestone for about six years. He had always thought the Heatherwood had a beautiful layout but had become dated and cumbersome.
“I knew [the idea] was a home run” Teljeur said.
They took the plans to new ownership Aurora Hotel Group which gave them the go-ahead to begin the transformation. Renovations started in February and wrapped up in June.
Pinestone staff did the work cutting up the overly large bar from the adjacent Highlander Bar to make two – one for Highlander and the other for Stone 21. Walls were painted and light fixtures repurposed. Glass doors that were once in the area that commonly houses receptions and mingling were brought over to welcome guests to the new restaurant. Plans and drawings from Pinestone’s past have been framed and placed around the room.
And then there is the menu.
“We have a new culinary team on board with fresh ideas” Teljeur said. They worked to create a menu in a mid-range price with more appetizers. They expanded the hours with food served to 11 p.m. during the week and to midnight on weekends.
Their new head chef Adam Raposo started in May and the staff has been working to put together a menu that has “consistent quality that looks good and tastes good” Teljeur said.
Among the items to choose from: lobster tacos vegetarian spring rolls steak Atlantic salmon a pesto pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes and artichokes.
The Highlander Bar and Stone 21 now operate better together with the bar area available for entertainment as well as overflow from the restaurant.
A small stage will be built in one corner for music or comedy. Burke says Minden comedian Brigitte Gall is planning to host a monthly cabaret review.
Teljeur who grew up at Deer Lodge which his parents owned through the ‘70s ‘80s and early ‘90s said he likes the idea of resorts offering entertainment for visitors as well as accommodations.
“Back in those days everyone got involved in putting on entertainment for the guests” he said.
Beyond Stone 21 which is now open to the public are several other plans.
The patio outside the restaurant is being rebuilt and Pinestone recently announced outdoor concerts to be staged on its grounds this August.
Since they already have the infrastructure from running outdoor weddings the resort could host somewhere between 300 and 700 people depending on weather. Teljeur has been talking to former organizers of the Forest Festival about the logistics.
Burke and Teljeur said Stone 21 is already exceeding expectations with plenty of business and positive feedback. A new crowd of business people cottagers and the 30- and 40-year-olds have started arriving Burke said. They haven’t lost the regulars either.
“There was loyal clientele I was worried would miss the Heatherwood” Burke said. “But they’ve embraced it.”
Meals are served at Stone 21 from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays; from 7:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday nights. They are located in the Pinestone on County Road 21. Give them a call at 705-457-1800.