Andy Gulvezan’s long-running game of musical bar stools continued in July when he reopened the former Monkey Bar and Grill on Main Street as the Full Moon Restaurant and Saloon. It’s been the Full Moon at least twice before, and in between those two times it was the One-Eyed Moose.
Even Gulvezan can’t keep track. Try to pin him down on a particular year in which he opened or closed any of his many downtown bars and grills, and he bursts out laughing. “I don’t remember,” he says, which is understandable given the sheer number of turnovers. He does remember when the original Full Moon opened. “1982,” he says without hesitation then laughs again and begins to goof around. “I’m going to say March 8th. Do you want the time? 7:04.”
As to why he decided to change the Full Moon to the Monkey Bar and back again, Gulvezan, sixty-five, says, “It’s a long story. I changed [the name] about three years ago, but things didn’t work out. I had a lot of health issues.” They were pretty serious health issues, but he is feeling better these days and happy to be back at work tweaking his restaurants.
He’s replaced the Monkey Bar’s Tex-Mex menu with what he calls “tavern food” and put together a special menu just for the summer months. “It’s called my Stimulus Recession Relief Menu,” he says. “Nothing is over five dollars.” That includes eleven different burgers and a wide selection of salads and sandwiches.
He’s building up the Full Moon’s legendary beer menu, too. Back in the glory days he had 110 beers on the menu, but he won’t carry that many this time around, and his reason is strictly whimsical. “I’m going to carry ninety-nine and have the [waitstaff] sing to you, ‘Would you like one of our ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall?'” There are other changes in the works, including charity poker if The Powers That Be in Lansing prove willing. Gulvezan hopes to kick that off this fall.
Then he remembers one other date–the year he opened his first restaurant, the long gone and much beloved Whiffletree on West Huron. “That was 1972,” says Gulvezan. Which reminds him of another change at the new Full Moon that should have fans of the Whiffletree salivating: “Say that Andy’s original Whiffletree Fries are back on the menu.”
Full Moon Restaurant and Saloon, 207 S. Main. 994-8484. Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2 a.m., Sun. 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Closed Mon.