Dining/Drinking

PPR Danas Downtown Grill 1219
Dana's Downtown Grill chefs Jim Ashline (from left) and Gil-Ho Borden, along with owner Dana Poland and Floor Manager Kode Sewell, stand at the new restaurant at 14 Margaret St. in Plattsburgh in the former Livingoods location. The grill is Poland's third restaurant in the area in addition to Dana's Rusty Anchor and Dana's Cafe Mooney Bay.

Dana's Downtown Grill open in city

By: DAN HEATH

PLATTSBURGH — A local restaurateur has opened his third establishment in the area.

Dana Poland opened Dana’s Downtown Grill in the former Livingood’s location at 14 Margaret St. on Dec. 13. Poland is also the owner of Dana’s Rusty Anchor on Route 9 in South Plattsburgh and Dana’s Cafe Mooney Bay on Point au Roche. 

He said the opening weekend was fantastic with many of his regular customers and some new faces.

Former owners moved

Poland jumped at the opportunity after he learned Livingood’s owners Matt and Jess Ray were moving to Peru in order to add a brewery to their restaurant.

“I’ve always been looking for a downtown spot,” he said. “I think this is a fantastic spot.”

The downtown location also provides an opportunity to stay open year-round, as the other two marina-based restaurants are seasonal.

Poland said his two chefs, Gil-Ho Borden and Jim Ashline, worked with him on the menu along with Manager Gary Morette. The goal was to bring in dishes from around the world that are not common in Plattsburgh.

There are prices for any wallet, from $9.99 up to $32.

Entrees include dishes such as pan-sauteed diver scallops with morel mushroom risotto, Oscar-style filet mignon topped with sweet Maryland crab and Bearnaise sauce and lobster macaroni and cheese. 

Burgers include a 1/2-pound angus burger with smoked cheddar, maple glaze, lettuce, tomato, onion and maple mayo, a bison burger with demi-glazed mushrooms, onions, Swiss cheese and horseradish mayo and a Cajun-seasoned alligator burger with chipotle mayo, lettuce and tomato.

There are 15 types of pizza as well as a build-your-own option. Appetizers include traditional favorites as well as fried calamari, Cajun-fried gator bites and mussels.

“We cover a wide range of different styles of cuisines. It shows in the plates we put out,” Borden said.

Variety of beers

The bar features 12 beers on tap and a selection of domestic bottles. The small wine list includes prices from $18 to $250 per bottle.

There is also a full-service bar. Poland said he plans to offer some high-end Scotchs in the future.

The restaurant has seating for 85 people with a mix of tables and spacious booths and a small upstairs dining area. The furniture is all new, as is the kitchen equipment. 

Tile floors and drop-down lighting add to the ambiance.

Poland has been in the restaurant business for about 30 years. That includes five locations in Maine and now three in Plattsburgh.

He started with Dana’s Rusty Anchor in June 2004 and took over the Mooney Bay restaurant earlier this year. Poland is eager to welcome his regulars and new customers to the new spot.

“I take a lot of pride in pleasing everybody that comes through that door,” Poland said.

Ashline said he didn’t attend culinary school, but has worked in restaurants for 25 years since he was 15 years old in locations on both sides of Lake Champlain.

Borden studied at Johnson and Wales culinary school in Miami, then worked under a chef who specialized in French cuisine for five years.

He worked at Cafe Mooney Bay several years ago and returned this year when Poland took over.

Work well together

Borden said he feels lucky to work at the Mooney Bay and downtown locations.

“We have a really good team and we work well together. There’s no egos,” he said.

Kade Sewell is the floor manager.

“He’s been a great help to me,” Poland said.

There are about 35 employees. Poland said he’s been fortunate to have a great team at all three locations.

His lease took effect in November and they scrambled to renovate with a new coat of paint. The west wall has two large glass garage-type doors that can provide an open-air dining experience in warmer weather.

Poland is looking for local artists who want to display their wares in the restaurant, with exhibits that will change periodically.

Dana’s Downtown Grill will be open Tuesday through Saturday during the winter and seven days a week, including Sunday brunch, once the weather warms up.

The winter hours are 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and until 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Entertainment to come

Poland said he plans to have jazz-style entertainment on Friday nights.

Payment is by cash or credit card. A website is under development, but specials and events are posted on the Dana’s Downtown Grill Facebook page.

For more information, call 563-6001.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

Published: