EDGEWATER — The Growling Rabbit is gearing up to open its doors for the first time in Edgewater next week, complete with two bars, two dining rooms and even its own (friendly) resident ghost.
Owner Laura Soncrant gave DNAinfo a first look inside the brunch pub’s new and much larger home at the former St. Andrew’s Inn, 5938-40 N. Broadway, which opens Tuesday. The new location will be open from 8 a.m.-11 p.m., with food service ending at 10 p.m.
While it awaits its liquor license, Soncrant said the Growling Rabbit will have a BYOB policy and partner with Independent Spirits Inc. across the street for discounts and suggestions on mixed drinks.
The bar will provide mixers and garnishes for cocktails on its menu (that it will make in house once the license is obtained) that pair with rum, vodka and tequila offered at Independent Spirits. Customers can still bring beer or wine if they wish.
Inside the new location, Soncrant and her crew’s vision of a more “mature” Growling Rabbit comes to life with vibrant shades of green set against muted gray tones, a mighty three-sided bar, Broadway-facing lounge area, separate cafe and re-purposed relics found during renovations.
Under the former bar’s drop-down ceiling Soncrant discovered ornate copper ceiling tiles.
While some of those became hung picture frames for black-and-white photos of rabbits, most were cleaned and again serve as both ceiling and decoration.
Other items like mirrors, dishes and furniture that were left behind Soncrant tried to incorporate into the new Growling Rabbit. Table tops with old Scottish emblems became the top of the coffee bar.
Reusing the items was not only meant to pay homage to former businesses and added to the diner’s unique aesthetic, but also to appease another stakeholder in the business — the bar’s resident ghost, Frank.
As legend has it, the St. Andrew’s storefront is haunted by the ghost of Frank Giff, one of the original business owners in the building (and supposed heavy drinker) who died there in 1959.
It’s been counted among some of the most haunted places in the city, appearing on ghost tours and websites dedicated to haunted places.
Soncrant said she knew about Frank before beginning her move and “respected” his presence.
Before the renovations, Soncrant said in an effort of good faith with the spirit she placed a set of blueprints on a table in the bar for a period of time.
“You can call it crazy but … he’s sticking around, so I want him to like it and feel comfortable with everything,” she said.
Since then, she said she’s experienced what others have also described over the years: mysterious cold spots, shadowy human-like figures in the basement stairway, moving objects and more.
Not to worry, however, Frank is around but he’s not a menace.
“He’s friendly, super, super friendly,” Soncrant said.
Check out pictures from inside the diner below.
The coffee bar station on one side of the restaurant. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Many of the wall hangings and accents were salvaged from prior businesses who used the storefront. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
A view from one dining room into the other. [Provided/Laura Soncrant]
The new diner will double its capacity. [Provided/Laura Soncrant]
At first The Growling Rabbit will be BYOB, and it has partnered with Independent Spirits across the street. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Frames for wall hangings were made from re-purposed ceiling tiles. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
An original tile ceiling was discovered during renovations. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Tables from the former St. Andrew’s Inn were saved and reused. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
In one of two kitchens, chefs were working on new recipes. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]