Many patrons say the wait is worth it

CANANDAIGUA — Many have been eagerly anticipating the opening of Murphy’s Law down by the lake for nearly a year.

Count Owner John Diamantopoulos among them, although this is not a case of Murphy’s law — the old axiom that if anything can go wrong, it will. Instead, now that his third bar and grill by that name is open officially as of Thursday night, he said he’s glad he took the time to wait until after the holidays.

“I would have probably rushed it earlier,” Diamantopoulos said early Thursday evening. “We really thought about what we were doing, from the menu to the concept to the whole design and staff.”

The Canandaigua location — at the site vacated by MacGregor’s Grill & Tap Room — is his third; the first is on East Avenue in downtown Rochester and the second on Empire Boulevard on Irondequoit Bay in Penfield.

The menu here is different than the others, with more of a Irish gastropub style of food, such as the O’Murphy, Top O’ The Morning and Nutty Irishman burgers; banger sausage skillet, shepherd’s pie and Irish poutine.

For dessert, pile on Irish campfire s’mores. Beginning this Sunday, brunch will be served, which also is “going to be pretty cool.”

“It’s more of a direction I want to go to with our food,” Diamantopoulos said. “It’s a lot different than Empire and way different than downtown.”

And of course, lots of beer, signature cocktails and domestic and international whiskey to wash it all down.

People like Kelly Drake and Holly Cooley have been waiting for this ever since MacGregor’s closed last March.

Sure, they — and others — have been meeting at some of the microbreweries around town. And they all have been driving by regularly, looking for signs of action so they could stop in for drinks.

“A lot of the old patrons are happy to see it open again,” Cooley said. “Everybody is excited to see what’s been done and how it’s been remodeled.”

Drake agreed that it has been a long time in the making.

“It looks amazing in here,” Drake said. “Everything looks brand new.”

That’s by design.

Diamantopoulos said the original Murphy’s Law has more of a classic, 1920s traditional pub meets art deco design.

The new location has a “cottagey feel” and he added windows to allow for more natural light, Diamantopoulos said. He also got rid of the dropped ceiling to expose the ductwork and wood beams and just put more of a Murphy’s touch to the place.

Diamantopoulos also fell in love with the building’s history, which dates back to 1838 and has operated under many names, including the Colonial Inn right before MacGregor’s purchased it in 1999.

“I love this historical building,” Diamantopoulos said. “I wanted to get involved in Canandaigua. People have been great in this town so far.”

Count Rosemary Lofton of Canandaigua as a fan already. She said she enjoys the drink selection and felt comfortable when she walked in.

“It’s nice to have another place in Canandaigua again,” Lofton said.

Primetime for steak

Speaking of grand openings, the folks at Prime Steakhouse at Eastview Mall marked over a month of operation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.

The restaurant, which specializes in steaks and seafood, is the second for owner Danny Klamm. The original steakhouse has operated in Hanover Square in downtown Syracuse for nine years.

Klamm said he has known Tom Wilmot, owner of Eastview Mall, for some time. Wilmot mentioned to Klamm that he had a spot for him — in the former Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano location.

“He’s a great guy to work with,” Klamm said. “He’s probably the only reason I’d do a second restaurant at my age.”

Not only is he doing a second restaurant, he’s driving here from Syracuse just about every day to help get going. The restaurant is large, seating about 250 people, with a private room seating 50 to 60 people.

And he said the commute has been worth it.

“I’m excited about being here,” Klamm said. “The Thruway is getting a little work, but I enjoy it.”