U Square Spotlight: Keystone Bar & Grill


March 13, 2014

Keystone Bar & Grill

Is there anything better than a big ol’ bowl of macaroni and cheese? When you’re talking Keystone Bar & Grill, the answer is a resounding “no.” From bacon and BBQ chicken to spinach and sun-dried tomatoes – and served up in a sizzling skillet – this lovin’ spoonful is about as far as you can get from a boring blue box and powdered cheese.

According to Dan Cronican, one of the four in 4EG, who oversees Keystone operations, the secret to the restaurant’s success boils down to three elements: (1) Being a neighborhood bar and grill. (2) Made-from-scratch goodness. (3) Stellar service.

“That’s what sets us apart,” says Dan, who has overseen Keystone’s growth from a single location in Covington to its third (and newest) location in U Square. “I liken it to providing a formal service in a casual atmosphere. We pay attention to every detail.”

Even the kitchen equipment stays true to Keystone’s elements of success. There’s not a single microwave on premises. There’s only a freezer because, “We serve ice cream,” Dan notes. “We spend a lot of time and energy making sure all our food is fresh and made from scratch every day.”

And since there’s no better way to wash down a piping hot skillet of mac and cheese than with an ice cold beer, Keystone focuses on discovering new brews that will please local customers. Most Keystone managers take the introductory Cicerone class to become beer server certified – basically, the barley and hops equivalent of taking an introductory sommelier course. This training allows for each manager to source and serve tasty concoctions that fit within the flavor of the local neighborhood.

This attention to detail and adaptation to the local community is one of the reasons Keystone Bar & Grill works so well in the Uptown area. And, Dan says, it’s part of the reason the local chain wanted to expand here in the first place.

“We were excited about it years ago when U Square was still an idea. Here was this neighborhood that was desperate for change, and we knew we could help fill it,” he says. “Entertainment, eating and drinking, people coming together to enjoy themselves – that’s what we’re all about. And that’s what U Square helps us deliver.”

Now that’s a lovin’ spoonful we can take a big ol’ appreciative bit of.