I would like to thank Granite City Food and Brewery not only for a wonderful experience for my self and my family, but also for what is obviously a dedicated effort at serving the needs and pleasures of those they serve.
While Google offers up a description of the restaurant in central St. Cloud, MN to be a, "Casual chain eatery with an American comfort-food menu plus craft beers brewed on-site", I would agree. And I would also add that those that head up the full-steam-ahead engine of this success train know well what they are doing. They've chosen a great demographic with St Cloud being a great location for exactly what they are serving up. The restaurant is clean, the staff and servers are friendly and seem to like their jobs, and they've got a clean, crisp, fresh and simple main menu. Give the people what they like in simple but creative ways in an atmosphere of freshness and vibrancy, and they will come back.
What I appreciated most is that they are not only not immune to the changing needs and desires of our dieting, but it seems they are constantly changing and re-vamping to keep moving forward and keep up with the times. I know this from personal experience because we frequented the establishment seven years ago, and much has changed, and for the better. When I asked, our server answered that yes the menu is adapted at frequent periods, which is a good sign to me. They keep the faves, but have the ability to adjust to the changing needs and demands, including food sensitivities and a turn towards a customer desire for greater health in our dining options. Years ago, it barely was a thing to be "gluten free", but now they have a clear separate menu, with options that are worthy of their top quality entrees. Please ask for it, as gluten free options are not indicated on the main menu.
While my focus in doing Foodie Reviews is mainly on reporting the options and noting the positive efforts from an unbiased, but knowledgeable perspective, and not so much on my solo individual experience, it is a pleasure when I can also make positive commentary on the taste and quality.
While many restaurants are offering the most obviously necessary changes like a gluten free bun or pizza crust substitution, some it seems pay little attention to the taste, texture, and quality of said substitutions. Granite City proved to me that they did not add these substitutions as "asides" but included them in the attempt to showcase each and every entree. "Gluten free" and "healthy" did not seem like a secondary offering, but just as important as the most acclaimed dishes on the menu. Smart, especially since St Cloud's population includes a large young generation, and likely those that are more into sweeping fads of diet change. Kudos to this, knowing just how to please the demographic as well as not making those with necessary dietary restrictions feel like second class citizens.
The menu shares many healthy offerings with simple pleasing preparations, with probably the artisan flatbread pizzas being a favorite among the dietary particular community . Even as a strong vegetation eater, I felt I had options; vegans and vegetarians rejoice.
This is one restaurant I will definitely keep on my Maps and bring the vastly variated eating styles of my friends and colleagues to.