The Beau Club Grill has opened its doors unannounced at the hole-in-the-wall formerly known as Geppetto's Restaurant in downtown Ashland.

The Beau Club Grill has opened its doors unannounced at the hole-in-the-wall formerly known as Geppetto's Restaurant in downtown Ashland.

The inside of the restaurant has a new atmosphere — spotless, revamped and casual.

Geppetto's famous wontons are still on the menu, "but we're working on recipes for new cheese filling," said Andy Dreiszus, the grill's manager.

"We put so much work into cleaning this place up," said 25-year-old Dreiszus, estimating that he spent more than 100 hours "scrubbing this place down" during the past three months.

The seats have been reupholstered, kitchen re-outfitted, and bathroom redone, and the decorative "dust collector" baskets formerly perched above the eating area are gone, he said.

The restaurant opted for a soft opening on May 25 to ease itself into the flow of things, he said, and is still hiring. Dreiszus said the eatery's highlights include its house-made sauces. Honey mint dressing and the barbecue sauce top that list, he said, followed by its creative panini sandwiches and burgers.

"You have to try the basil tomato and fontina panini — it's been the most popular," said Assistant Manager Tim Kohlmann, who waited tables and cooked at Geppetto's from 1996 to 1998.

"It was time for a change," he said of Geppetto's. "We're really excited about the future and we've only had extremely positive responses from our customers."

Head cook Bob Ellis worked for 22 years at Geppetto's before it closed the beginning of August 2011.

"We have a great chef with 20-plus years of experience in that kitchen and we're trying to create our new thing," said Dreiszus. "Geppetto's was on a downhill slide for a while. The condition that we received the restaurant in was poor."

Dreiszus, who graduated from Portland State University last year with a business degree, moved back to Ashland to help his father, Bob Dreiszus, run the Beau Club next-door to the eatery, he said.

Bob Dreiszus and his wife, Annie, lease the building that houses the eatery and the bar.

Getting into the restaurant business was a "family idea," said Andy Dreiszus. "We wanted it all under the same umbrella."

Former owners John and Tiffany Trapp declined to comment on why they decided to close the restaurant last August.

It was a "sensitive subject," said Bob Dreiszus. "It's just really unfortunate, and we'll leave it at that." The restaurant was founded in 1977.

Under the management of the Trapps, Geppetto's failed multiple health inspections before its closure.

Founders Ron Roth and his wife, Kathleen MacMichael, sold the restaurant to the Trapps in November 2009, after more than 32 years behind its counter.

"For many years, this was the place to eat in Ashland," said Andy Dreiszus. "I'm just glad to bring a good eatery back to this location, so, come check us out — we'd love to meet you."

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email swheeler@dailytidings.com.