LONGMONT -- Harold's Restaurant & Lounge is the newest addition to Longmont's restaurant scene, open for dinner and drinks in the space formerly occupied by Fusion Food & Spirits, next to the Plaza Hotel.
"The last year (Fusion) lost enough money that we decided that we needed to do something now," said James Unger, general manager of the commercial property division for Pratt Management Co., the owner of the hotel and the restaurant space. Unger is also vice president of hotel and hospitality for the company.
Fusion was open for 51/2 years but Unger said he had always wanted to put his own stamp on the place. To that end, he brought in restaurant consultant Noah Heaney, who helped develop The Bitter Bar in Boulder and Jax Fish House in Fort Collins.
"When I came in here to develop the concept, I had a very specific idea for this restaurant," Unger said, explaining that his concept included farm-to-table meals using fresh ingredients and priced reasonably, a family-friendly atmosphere and a "speakeasy-like" cocktail lounge.
"But I didn't know how to bring it to fruition so I needed a guy from the restaurant industry," he said.
Harold's will seat 82 people inside and about 40 out on the patio, which has a firepit in the middle and some new lighting.
"The patio sold me," Heaney said.
The restaurant is named after Harold Pratt, who was born in 1912 in Longmont, Unger said. Harold was the father of the late Ken Pratt and father-in-law to Susan Pratt, who still runs Pratt Management Co. Unger is Susan Pratt's son-in-law, and he said the restaurant's name is meant to be a tribute to Harold Pratt.
What: Harold's Restaurant & Lounge/The Bayonet Room
Where: 1940 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont
Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays and Mondays; 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (The Bayonet Room opens a half-hour earlier and stays open one hour later than the restaurant.)
He calls the lounge the Bayonet Room in honor of a sword he inherited that once belonged to Harold Pratt, Unger said.
One of Heaney's specialties is cocktails, Unger said, and he describes the Bayonet Room as a "craft cocktail" lounge that will offer an eclectic wine list and a focus on Colorado microbrews.
As in the cocktail lounge, with its homemade bitters, food preparation is the key to the restaurant's concept, Unger said. All the restaurant's dressings, jellies and even the ketchup are handmade, and the meats are high quality and not prepackaged, he said.
The executive chef, Jef Forsberg, was running his staff through some of the menu items earlier this week when he showed off a slow-poached halibut that sat on a bed of blue-corn grits.
"It's loaded with flavor, super-tender, just falling apart," Forsberg said.
The menu also contains some special touches that Unger said were his idea, including "three interpretations of a deviled egg" and the Elvis -- a cherry jam, house-made cashew butter sandwich with banana and bacon -- that's on the kids menu.
As a parent himself, he wanted the kids' menu to go beyond the typical burger, grilled cheese and chicken fingers, Unger said.
"Their parents are going to know that what their children are eating is healthy," he said.
Harold's is open only for dinner to start but likely will add lunch in a month or so, Unger said.