The Flying Saucer downtown
is reopening May 4th and big changes are in store.
The restaurant has been closed for about a month for renovations in prep for its 20th year.
Co-founder Shannon Wynne was in town re-hanging the famous "Beerknurd" plates that adorn the walls and ceilings of Flying Saucer.
Part of the renovation is a brand-new kitchen. Wynne says that originally, this Flying Saucer only served cold sandwiches and pizzas. Over the years, as they've updated other locations, they've put in full kitchens.
What that means is that there is a new menu with a new focus: burgers.
Wynne based the menu on Rodeo Goat
, another restaurant he founded in Texas. He says they've pretty much perfected the burger: grass-fed beef, no hormones, nothing frozen, plus interesting flavor combos.
The menu includes some nods to the city, including the Sputnik Monroe burger with bacon, onion marmalade, arugula, spinach, white cheddar and ranch mayo; and the Chickasaw Bluff with a grilled chicken breast, guac, and pepper jack cheese.
While the burgers dominate the menu, customers can expect to see some of the old favorites, like the pretzels.
As for the star of the show? "We're changing the beer menu in a huge way," says Wynne.
He explains that 20 years ago, when this Flying Saucer opened, the menu was mainly European beers like Chimay. Since then, the craft beer scene has exploded, and, says Wynne, a lot of good beers get lost in the shuffle.
"It's a strict menu that will have 80 beers, 20 will be transcendent," he says. And by that, he means, "They just transcend all others. The other 60 will be exceptional."
The menu was selected by Wynne, co-founder and beer expert Keith Schlabs, and Saucer general manager Kirk Caliendo. Some local beers have made the list of 80, according to Wynne.
In addition, every two weeks, four beers without names will be introduced. These are the "Ghost Beers." Guests vote on their favorites and whatever wins gets added to the menu.
But back to those Beerknurd plates ... Wynne estimates there are about 1,000. Is he putting them all back in their original places? "Oh hell no," he says.