Colton’s Social House
We all have a lot of opinions about food. Everybody’s a critic these days, me more than anyone. But it’s not often that a restaurant is openly asking you to critique them. That’s exactly what new restaurant Colton’s Social House is doing, however.
The idea of a soft opening isn’t at all new to the restaurant world. Most businesses use this concept – quietly serving customers for a few days before their grand opening – to work out the kinks. But Colton’s Social House – which has moved into the space at Sierra Vista Mall formerly occupied by Sweet River Grill – is taking it to a whole new level.
They’ve set up a program called Beta Tasting, where they’ve been inviting customers to come and dine at Colton’s and then provide feedback about the various menu items on a survey afterwards. You do have to pay for your food, but you get a free #BetaTaster t-shirt, and the satisfaction of knowing that you’re actively contributing to the future of Colton’s Social House. Colton’s owners, a group of experienced restaurateurs, say they want and expect their regulars to lead the way when it comes to their ever-changing menu.
So far, the menu at Colton’s Social House shows a lot of promise. By far, my favorite item was the caramelized brussel sprouts. Yes, I know … brussel sprouts! But this appetizer is out of this world, with roasted brussel sprouts, apple smoked bacon, gorgonzola cheese, dates and honey butter. It has been unanimously voted onto the menu by Beta Tasters. Other unique menu items being tested include panko-crusted deviled eggs, Thai chili wings and a “crazy pasta” that has, among other things, hot Italian sausage and jalapeno.
In addition to the innovative menu at Colton’s Social House, there’s a great selection of drinks. An electronic board boasts the beers currently being offered, including local favorites from House of Pendragon and Tioga-Sequoia. House wines are Toschi, from San Joaquin Wine Company. I wanted to see what they were mixing up, so we decided to order a couple of the cocktails they were trying out, including an orange mule and a cucumber & mint vodka tonic. Both of them were refreshing and delicious (and the drink prices were also not ridiculous, which is nice to see).
Overall, both the bar and restaurant area at Colton’s Social House seem like a great place to grab a drink with your friends and have dinner while watching a game – they have tons of TVs. (Can I give them extra points for playing “Parks & Recreation on one set of them while I was there? lol) The servers are all super friendly and great, and their social-minded business philosophy lends itself to a very welcoming vibe.
It’s clear that Colton’s strategy is already paying off. In just a few weeks, Colton’s has amassed more than 2,000 fans on its Facebook page, and there was a steady stream of people when I ate there on a Monday afternoon. If you want to be a Beta Taster for Colton’s Social House, they will be doing the experiment for another week or two. They open Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. and weekends at noon. For more information, I recommend contacting them via Facebook, where they are always quick to engage and answer questions!
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