Editor-in-chief Andy Hanacek talks with Jeff Dean of Granite City Food & Brewery about their partnership with Two Rivers.

Andy Hanacek: I’m here with Jeff Dean, vice president of operations for Granite City Food & Brewery. Jeff, thank you so much for joining me today. Just going to talk a little about Two Rivers and the relationship you have with them. Tell me what kind of business do you do with them, how do you use their products and how have they performed thus far for you?

Jeff Dean: When we started our relationship with Two Rivers, we were looking for a product that would be an upgrade to what we were currently using on Sunday brunches, which was prime rib. The product that we’ve got is a slightly enhanced product that performs very well. The texture, the quality and the flavor has been very good to our guests and for our sales overall. It has given us a product that we can rely on and we can count on.

Hanacek: So in terms of the quality, are there any other attributes to that that have enhanced your offerings to your customers?

Dean: We use it primarily for Sundays for our prime rib, which is an all you can eat buffet that we do on Sundays that is a big part of our business at Granite City Food & Brewery. Secondly we use it to cut for shaved beef for prime rib sandwiches as well. [That] also does very well. Overall, the quality and flavor of the meat itself is such an upgrade from what we did in the past. Hands down, it has increased the sales of the sandwich almost two-fold.

Hanacek: How long ago was it that you made the switch?

Dean: Probably about two years ago. It’s done very well. It has been much more consistent. From the table itself when we are interacting with guests, hands down the flavor and the appeal of the sandwich itself was much better.

Hanacek: I would be remiss if I didn’t let viewers know where we are and why we’re here. We are here at this VEJ Holdings event to talk about the 34 Reserve line of steaks. Why are you here specifically and what’s the reason? What are you looking to gain from this type of event where we are having taste tests, cutting of the steak and things like that?

Dean: We got introduced to what Two Rivers is doing currently with Bo Jackson at a dinner after the National Restaurant Association event in Chicago. It just looks like a great product. It looks like a product that… from a cost standpoint (and we are in the upper-casual segment of casual dining but we are value-oriented as well), we are looking at a couple of their different offerings to possibly put a better steak on the plate that will not price us out of the market, but will give us the ability to give a better steak for a similar price point to what we are offering right now. We think that what Two Rivers is offering might possibly give us some options to upgrade that experience.