More variety arrived on Main Street last month with The Loungin’ Lizard’s expansion.
The Loungin’ Lizard, at 2 W. Main St., has expanded into the space next door, opening The Chophouse at Loungin’ Lizard.
The space at 4 W. Main St. previously housed the San Juan Coffee shop, which closed in February after about two years in the space.
“We thought it might be our last opportunity to get to expand in this building, so we weren’t planning on it,” owner and chef Brian Puett said. “It just kind of happened, and we went for it.”
Loungin’ Lizard opened in November 2014, and has been a main attraction on Main Street ever since.
With downtown Cortez growing and expanding, storefronts are quickly becoming a hot commodity.
“It is a busy block down here, so to be able to have extra space in the downtown Main Street area is pretty unique and rare,” co-owner Amanda Puett said. “We just wanted to jump on it when we had the opportunity because who knows when that opportunity would have come up again.”
The Puetts are serving “Espresso and Grab and Go” in The Chophouse from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday through Monday.
Complementing the grab-and-go focus of the daytime operation, The Chophouse offers iced tea, Italian sodas, coffee, breakfast burritos and New York style pizza, sold by the slice.
The Chophouse also runs a bar all day long, stocked with beers, local Sutcliffe Vineyard wines and mixed drinks. As expected at a steak house, the bar has a solid lineup of bourbon and Scotch whisky.
At 4 p.m., the space transforms into The Chophouse, which focuses on steaks and tapas.
The new restaurant boasts a familiar Loungin’ Lizard feel with a twist.
“There are different atmospheres,” Amanda Puett said. “We still have the cool rock wall in this 127-year-old building on both sides, but different music and just a little bit of a different atmosphere so it is familiar but not exactly the same.”
The idea for the menu of the expansion came from customers who requested more dishes and choices from chef Brian Puett.
“This side has a different menu,” Amanda Puett said. “It has a tapas menu and then a chop house, so you can create your own steak dish. You pick what cut of meat you want and which size, and then you can add garnishes and sauces to it.”
“Over there (at the Loungin’ Lizard) is the same chalkboard menu that they have gotten to know and love,” Amanda Puett said.
“They have trusted us with knowing that the food sounds different ... (but) it’s going to be good.”
Ultimately, the Puetts are excited to offer something new to a community they love.
“It has become this wonderful little downtown community that we are lucky to be a part of and have fun with it,” Amanda Puett said.
“We are just excited for this new space and want to make sure that everybody knows that it is here.”