A sparkling-clean dining room and kitchen do much to reinvigorate an Ashland institution

A sparkling-clean dining room and kitchen do much to reinvigorate an Ashland institution.

Six months after Geppetto's closed its doors, Ashland's Dreiszus family stepped in to administer the tender, loving care this 35-year-old restaurant so desperately needed. Seats were reupholstered, the kitchen and bathroom updated and faded frippery taken off the walls.

Three months of scrubbing and overhaul later, the Dreiszuses reopened the eatery in May as Beau Club Grill, an extension of their Beau Club bar next door. And the storied spot likely hasn't looked this good since shortly after Geppetto's founder Ron Roth completed a major remodel in 1978.

With the support of longtime Geppetto's cook Bob Ellis, the new owners also made over the core menu of burgers and sandwiches, dispensed with breakfast but kept a few Geppetto's favorites.

The resulting dishes stay true to the eatery's roots as a casual joint and provide lower-cost dining options for locals and tourists alike. Most selections are in the $7-to-$8 range. The only item priced over $10 is the 8-ounce New York steak with vegetables, house-baked herb bread and choice of brown rice or red potatoes for $11.99 — commendable in this town.

Budget-conscious diners should beware, however, of racking up fees by requesting substitutions. Extra sauce and cheese are 50 cents; sweet-potato fries cost 75 cents more than regular; substituting salad as a side dish is $1; adding avocado is $1.50, bacon $2, etc.

Fans of Geppetto's likely will miss breakfast service, as well as the erstwhile restaurant's use of organic, seasonal produce. Roth practiced farm-to-table cooking long before it was trendy, with his 20-acre, organic Eagle Mill Farm supplying as much as 50 percent of Geppetto's produce during summer. Seasonal availability was apparent in his popular dinner specials.

Lacking the imagination of Roth's entrees, Beau Club Grill nevertheless offers something for everyone at a good value, whether at lunch or dinnertime. In addition to the steak, there are barbecue pork medallions, herb chicken, meatloaf, sesame-crusted tilapia, "cheddar cheese mac" and fish and chips.

As its name implies, the last in that list is the only dish that doesn't come with two side dishes and the bread. But the macaroni and cheese would benefit by diverging from the standard entree formula, too. Mac-and-cheese fans risk carbohydrate fatigue from the side of starch that accompanies the pasta, not to mention a slice of bread. They'd likely appreciate the option to order this comfort food a la carte.

Recommended: Salads with house-made honey-mint dressing, cheese wontons and eggplant burger, both longtime Geppetto's favorites.

Alternative diets: Six vegetarian sandwiches; vegan burger with vegan mayonnaise; turkey patty available to substitute in burgers; some organic and nonalcoholic beers.

Beverages: Local wines by the glass, half-liter and bottle; domestic, draft and bottled beers; sodas, juices, teas and locally roasted Noble coffee.

Price range: Appetizers, $3.49 to $7.99; soups, $3.29 to $5.49; salads, $3.49 to $10.49; sandwiches, $4.99 to $8.49; burgers, $5.49 to $8.99; entrees, $8.49 to $11.99; desserts, $2.99 to $5.99.

Extras: Kids' menu; street parking.

Serving: From 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.

Info: 345 E. Main St., Ashland; 541-482-4185.