It's hard to imagine that the building now home to the glossy Blu Grouse once contained the Tiger Lounge. My last memory of its backyard patio and fire pit was of a slice of pizza flying out of my hand as I was knocked into a flowerpot during a Bloodclots show. I was happy to see the patio remains intact and has been outfitted with a cozy ring of stumps to sit on and a new fire barrel with the restaurant's name carved on its side in a cheerful font. I sat there with owner Diana Lane, a former bartender at Slim's Last Chance, while she told me about the excitement and stress of opening her first restaurant.
When the Blu Grouse's website says "fresh and healthy with a gut-bomb twist," it thankfully does not refer to ipecac-spiked quinoa, but a vegetable-laden selection of flatbread pizzas, wraps, salads, and tacos. The "Caprese Grouse" wrap I tried, with spinach, buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and pesto mayonnaise, was creamy, tangy, and slightly sweet. The mozzarella was lacy and delicate, like an elite string cheese.
Though the names of several dishes contain the word grouse, the only bird on the menu is chicken. The restaurant is named after Diana's childhood home in the Blue Mountains on Grouse Flats. The "e" in "blue" was omitted so as not to be confused with other Blue Grouses when googled. While none of the live acoustic music on Blu Grouse's patio is likely to send you hurtling into a flowerpot, Diana invites patrons to "bring their guitars and jam."