I dropped just a couple of days after the grand opening and was blown away by just how glamorous the bar area is. Chrome and glass gleamed in the light from the setting sun coming through the big window. The bartender looked preoccupied so I went to the hostess's counter (another classy touch) and got a seat in the main dining area instead. The servers and hostess all wore crisp, button-downed white shirts and dark slacks, much like they do at Luciano's and the Hilton Garden Inn (likely their main competition). The faux fireplace does produce real heat, either electric or gas, and I imagine a table near it would be very warm. There was a curious buzzing sound that would come from the ceiling every couple of minutes, similar to a fluorescent light bulb on the fritz only much louder. It wasn't loud enough to interrupt a conversation, but it did sadly put a dent in the otherwise perfect atmosphere rating. Add to that an out of order urinal in the men's restroom. The lighting is a bit dim in the windowless main restaurant, too, especially over the tall corner table I chose. Perhaps good for romance, not good for reading.
My server was polite, welcoming, and earnestly friendly, although it took a few minutes for them to decide whose turn it was to take my table and get my drink order. Odd considering the place was nearly empty. The menu is remarkable for how many items it can cram into four sheets of paper, so there's a lot of variety to choose from. This ranges from sandwiches to Mexican, Italian, seafood, steak, and salad. I ordered a beef chimichanga with the standard side of refried beans. It came pretty quickly and was as good as any other I'd ever had, although the fried tortilla wrap was a little tough on the bottom to cut all the way through using only a fork. Portions were large, comparable to local diners like Prairie Rose and Mexican places like Corona Village. I tacked on a cream puff with ice cream from the separate desert menu, and its pastry was also a little harder and tougher than I expected.
Prices are comparable to the Hilton Garden Inn, with the exception that soft drink refills are free here and not there. My bill came to about $20, or around $14.50 before I ordered dessert, and would have been a couple of bucks less if I'd gone with a sandwich. That's a little pricey for Laramie. You're really paying more for the ambiance than for the quality or quantity of food, from what I could tell from my first meal. In many ways the Parachute Grille resembles in appearance what you'd expect to find on the first floor of many a classy hotel like the Sheraton, Hyatt, or Hilton. On the other hand, Corona Village is tough to beat for the top Mexican dishes in Laramie, and my chimichanga was not quite as good as theirs in texture, was about the same size, and was a little more expensive. That being said, I'll probably be back soon to check out some other items. Next time I'll stay in the bar area, though, to avoid that buzz and soak up the natural light.
I hope the Parachute Grille can make a go of this often overlooked location where many a restaurant before it has died a quick death. It's right next to Les's Garage, on 3rd Street (287) just south of Ivinson Street and the imposing stone St. Matthew's Episcopal Church.
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