Generations of Kings Canyon National Park guests have enjoyed seasonal American cuisine served at the family-friendly Grant Grove Restaurant. While the restaurant has been feeding park visitors since the 1970s when it opened as a coffee shop, today’s visitors have higher expectations for both the food and the setting.
Building and environmental standards have also evolved and will play a prominent role in the design of the new Grant Grove Restaurant. The design is aimed at LEED Gold certification, and the $6.2-million project will feature an 8,000-square-foot restaurant, which will be built using sustainable materials and construction techniques.
“Upgrading Grant Grove Restaurant has been a central part of our vision for enhancing the overall visitor experience,” said John Motley, hotel operations manager for Delaware North at Kings Canyon National Park. “The new facility will raise the Grant Grove dining experience to match today’s visitor expectations.”
Taking advantage of the spectacular setting, the restaurant will feature enhanced views of Bradley Meadow. The inside seating capacity will be increased to 108, with outdoor deck seating for 48, and a large courtyard area with picnic tables that will seat about 75 people. A fireplace, large windows, vaulted ceilings and efficient layout will greet visitors inside, and a large modern kitchen will serve behind the scenes. For those in a rush or wanting to maximize their outdoor time, a walk-up service window on the exterior will enable visitors to purchase to-go items such as pizza, sandwiches, coffee and—of course—ice cream.
The original structure featured a small lunch counter, which served park visitors until the restaurant was expanded to its current size. It has had few changes since then other than the conversion of the former Sequoia Room Bar into overflow seating for the restaurant. In 2013, when Delaware North’s parks and resorts business was awarded the Kings Canyon National Park concession contract, updating the Grant Grove Restaurant was high on its lists of planned improvements immediately following planned lodging upgrades. In 2014 and 2015, Delaware North completed renovations to the Grant Grove Cabins, John Muir Lodge and Cedar Grove Lodge.