After owning the Victorian Lady in Georgetown for 12 years, chef Mark Newman is ready to show off his talents at the Holiday Inn's renovated restaurant: The Sporting News Grille.
In fact, he's one of a new crew of employees who have filled key positions at Frisco's Holiday Inn in the past month or so, just in time to make a big splash after a two-year restoration of the entire hotel.
"We want this to be a Frisco (locals') headquarters," said Andrew Bradford, the new director of sales.
He says The Sporting News Grille is a sports bar he feels comfortable bringing his toddlers to - a family-friendly place that transformed from a dark, basic restaurant to a light, airy, spacious restaurant, with a long, sleek bar featuring unique stools made of the same rubber as basketballs. Within The Sporting News Grille, 16 flat-screen, high-definition televisions are strategically placed in nooks, crannies and towers, allowing groups to watch different games without much distraction.
The team hopes to build the bar into a locals' hangout with a free locals' card that provides two free PBRs with the purchase of an appetizer during happy hour (4-6 p.m. daily, except Sundays, when it applies all day), and the 13th purchase free. Newman plans to draw a crowd with aps like buffalo chicken egg rolls with a kick, sliders, and caramelized mushroom and onion risotto, as well as his entrees, such as chicken with pesto pasta, tangy ribs, steaks and blackened salmon.
"I try to make it more exciting, more vibrant, more eye-catching, more pleasing," said the chef of 20 years.
Four years ago, a family business comprised of two sons and their parents, incorporated as New Vision Hotels, bought the franchise of The Holiday Inn. Within the contract, they agreed to renovate within two years.
Now, the lobby welcomes guests with a soft lodge feel, accented by a double-sided fireplace and cozy chairs to sit while surfing the 'net. An added wing brings the total rooms, complete with granite countertops, desks, oversized shower heads and some king-sized beds, to 216. The indoor pool room features a dry sauna, huge windows and large, light tile - quite a change from decades past.