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Gary’s at the Belvedere

RESTAURANT CLOSED

With the facade of a stately Victorian manor and the soul of a chain-smoking, cocktail swirling 20-something, The Belvedere is one of Santa Rosa’s most beloved contradictions. And I mean that with love.
Anchoring the northwest corner of Mendocino Avenue’s Tipsy Triangle (including the 440 Club and Round Robin) the Belvedere looks more like a bed and breakfast than a bar. Which may explain its cache and a weekend hangout.
But ask about the restaurant and you’ll get puzzled looks. “They serve food?” In fact, they do.
It’s been an on-again off-again affair. Several years ago, attempts at a
high-end restaurant failed. Then nothing. Then Gary’s at the Belvedere
reopened with more modest ambitions — burger, salads and sports bar
fare. Steaks. Man-eats for the downstairs crowd.
Served Monday through Friday, the lunch menu is
simple: Burgers, steak sandwiches, Caesar salads and various
adaptations of the aforementioned. Salads with steak. Wraps with salad.
Infinite burger combinations involving bacon, barbecue sauce, mushrooms
and cheese.
Best bet is the burger, though you’ll have to suspend judgment about the puck-shaped disc of grilled chuck and cafeteria-like fries Though I’d lay bets that both
recently did some hard time in the big chiller, the grilled onion blue
cheese burger wasn’t half bad. In fact, it was a lot better than some
bloody awful burgers I’ve recently had the misfortune of eating. No,
the onions weren’t as caramelized as I’d like, but the buns were nicely
toasted and the presentation thoughtful, especially while sitting on
the wrap-around porch watching the world go by.
It’s a big, fat meal
for $11.99 (including a drink).
Dinner features some of the same appetizers and salads with the
addition of steaks and pasta. I’ll let you, dear readers, have that
adventure with managed expectations. Featuring 40 beers, a full bar, five pool tables and a smoker-friendly porch you
could do a whole lot worse than an afternoon or evening with front-row
seats to the crossroads of Santa Rosa.
And I mean that with love.
Gary’s at the Belvedere, 727 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, 707.542.8705
(restaurant), 707.542.1890 (bar). Open for lunch Mon-Fri from 11am to
2pm, Dinner Mon-Sun, 5pm to 10pm.
PS: After this, no more burgers for a while. Promise. I’m done.

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Comments

27 thoughts on “Gary’s at the Belvedere

  1. Try the Whiskey-Peppercorn Steak! If you like spicy, they do special pastas every now and then that is so yummy. Everyone is correct about the burgers too! I love the Cowboy burger myself, and lay-off the fries and order the onion rings, they’re even better!

  2. I like hanging out downstairs In the bar during the week. BUT you have to eat the food at GARY’S. I promise you, you will not be disapointed. Never have I had one of the best steak’s In the world. The burgers O MY GOD their nothing but spectacular. The salads are the best. I highly recommend adding the chicken strips to It. If you ever are out, or have some friends over at your place and are trying to figure out where to eat. Gary’s is the place to go. Afterwards you can take a stroll downstairs to have a drink and a game of pool afterwards.

  3. I like hanging out downstairs In the bar during the week. BUT you have to eat the food at GARY’S. I promise you, you will not be disapointed. Never have I had one of the best steak’s In the world. The burgers O MY GOD their nothing but spectacular. The salads are the best. I highly recommend adding the chicken strips to It. If you ever are out, or have some friends over at your place and are trying to figure out where to eat. Gary’s is the place to go. Afterwards you can take a stroll downstairs to have a drink and a game of pool afterwards.

  4. I like hanging out downstairs In the bar during the week. BUT you have to eat the food at GARY’S. I promise you, you will not be disapointed. Never have I had one of the best steak’s In the world. The burgers O MY GOD their nothing but spectacular. The salads are the best. I highly recommend adding the chicken strips to It. If you ever are out, or have some friends over at your place and are trying to figure out where to eat. Gary’s is the place to go. Afterwards you can take a stroll downstairs to have a drink and a game of pool afterwards.

  5. We are shuffleboard freaks (NO! NOT the q-tip playing, cruiseship type!) but the standard, old school, long table type. Found 2 in Petaluma. Know anymore in SOCo?? Thanks in advance! 🙂

  6. I just tried Gary’s at the Belvedere for dinner in the dining room. I was the only patron in the dining room, but it was a Monday night, around 6:45-7:45 pm. I had a salad (fresh and crisp) and a pasta with chicken and capers in a white cream sauce (quite good). The waitress was attentive and charming.
    One thing that no one has mentioned is the architecture. The building is a gorgeous, Queen Anne style 1901 Victorian mansion that has been well preserved and restored. Lots of mahogany, stained glass and leaded glass windows, and nice plaster work with gilded picture rails. It’s a beauty.

  7. I heard the same chef used to cook at John Barleycorns in Bennett Valley. He made a “killer” buffalo burger and I was never disappointed by any meal served from Julio’s kitchen. I hope they have a similar, if not the same, burger available on the Belvedere menu. Simply the best burger ever.

  8. Finally ate at Gary’s yeasterday. The burgers were great! Our fries were crispy and tasty btw. 🙂 Service was a little slow, but there were only a few tables seated and we weren’t in a big rush so it wasn’t a problem. The ambiance is great, I love eating in big, beautiful old houses like that(like Ca Bianca).

  9. My brother took me here a dew months ago and it is now one of my favorite places to eat. They specialize in service. What a rare treat! Their burgers and dinners are some of the best I’ve had and I’ve eaten a lot in my 45 years. This is a GREAT place to take family and it’s inexpensive!

  10. Those fries look pretty bad. The bun on the burger doesn’t look all that appetizing either. I’d say the best burgers in town are at Stark’s.

  11. Although the service from upstairs is lacking, the mushroom burger i ordered was delicious. It came how i ordered it (medium rare of course) & the meat tasted yummy. The salads aren’t all that good & the croutons are obviously delivered from a big box store somewhere. The salads wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t priced like a steak dinner. I will for sure be back for the burgers.

  12. Although I’ve never been a fan of crinkle cut fries, they are better then they look. And it should be noted that I’m pretty sure you can get soup or salad instead of fries with any of the burgers.

  13. The Belvedere has aged like I have and it makes me happy. I first entered it’s hallowed halls on my 21st B-day, back in ’02 and I have been a regular since I got out of the Corps in ’04. In those days it was raucous and a tad dive-esque, but that was what I was looking for as a 23 year old man. I wanted wood-paneling, a surly bartender (I still love you, Tony!), and cheap cold beer. Now that I’m older, I’ve come to appreciate the Belvy for its attempts at higher class and the best part of all the changes, most of the original staff remain. Cheers to you Trish, Drew and Eric!

  14. SOrry about the “on tap” mistake. You are in fact correct. They aren’t on tap. I think Kainoa’s take is pretty dead on.

  15. i’m not an employee of the belvedere, but i thought i’d post a couple of clarifications…
    there are indeed 40+ beers… just not on tap. there are no taps. the bottled beer (extensive) and canned beer selection (pbr, guinness…) is top notch.
    as for the “no cussing rule,” there was indeed such a rule. but that was a while back. when the belvedere came under new ownership just over a year ago, that rule went out the door. along with a surly bartender and most of the other things that made the belvedere less than friendly.
    the fries? they’re exactly what they look like. that said, something happens when they’re put next to their burgers and they become better. no, they’re not hand-cut, fried in duck-fat, served with truffle aioli, or even fresh. but they’re not trying to be. they’re just simple fries for a simple bar with a simple menu. and they’re good.
    it should be mentioned as well that the new owner (gary), has turned the place around. flat-screens abound, a solid menu (which includes a great “monday night football” deal on burgers and beers), bartenders that are both fast AND friendly, a new (albeit slightly pricey) jukebox, cleaner bathrooms, and the “vibe” is just better. good ever. there are reasons that a line forms most every night.
    the belvedere isn’t for everyone. the wine list is basic but the pours are large. no blended drinks but… really? blended drinks? the outdoor patio is crowded with smokers, but… it’s a bar, and if it bothers you, you can stay inside or take up smoking. good luck getting a mojito, anything infused, or a cocktail that involves fire, eggs, or obscure liqueurs. you’ll have to settle for cheap beers ($2 cans of pabst!), affordable yet stiff drinks, and heavily poured shots. on a busy night you may have a wait outside or at the bar, but come a few times and the bartenders will know your name, your drink, and will be genuinely happy to see you.
    the belvedere isn’t wasn’t what it was… so if you hated it years ago, give it another try. it’s changed. of course… if you are a d-bag, feel free to stay away.

  16. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover people. The fries are actually really good along with the burger. I work in the resturant biusness and I have heard several times that thier burgers are the best in town. I found out for my self that this fact is sooooooooooooooo true and Im a regular now. Beside, after you eat thier hole burger you totally dont have any room for the fries anyways. So try the fries first before you judge.

  17. LOL @ Heather.. recently you made a “not so nice” comment about the fries at Fountaingrove Inn (equus Bar)you said “….and the fries were standard issued.” SOOO, I’ve come to the realization that maybe I am alone in in in the French Fry quest?? Those fries at Gary’s looked like CRAP – I agree with an earlier post that the fries looked like something from a 6th grade HOT LUNCH(or even a microwave dinner) YUCKOOO. On a positive note the 40 beers on tap sounds like a reason to try this place out! I wonder (dare I wonder?) do they serve FISH ‘n CHIPS??

  18. God bless the Belvie…Maybe they should offer up some unique bar food for those drunken Friday & Saturday night nights! Oh and with exception of the “no cussing” rule (yes I had a friend actually booted for dropping the ‘f’ bomb a while ago) it is by far one of the best spots in town!

  19. I gotta second the french fry comment!
    I despise crinkle cut fries!
    They remind me of grade school cafeteria lunches!
    Who ever thought those were a good idea?

  20. We ate there one early evening before SRT during the dog days of August. Portions huge, prices modest, quality acceptable for everyday dining, especially if you just want to tuck in for a meal. This is not Niman Ranch Beef and Sonoma County Organic Mixed Greens with heirloom tomatos. This is stuff your face food. The Guatemalan restaurant operators are nice people with big hearts, and that’s enough for me. The bar downstairs has major pick-up potential for the neighborhood and Junior College crowd. Will definitely go back. We had fun!

  21. Oh man, The Belvedere is my favorite bar in SR and I keep meaning to try the restaurant for a while now. Your article has convinced me to go SOON.
    Tip: If you go to the bar, ask Trish for a Buttery Nipple. SO good!
    -Vince

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