Llama Tooth celebrated its opening at 1033 Spring Garden St., which, until recently, was the vegetarian spot Thoreau. Within the last couple of years, the restaurants that occupied this space have been unable to stay afloat for very long, but owner Joe Galster is attempting to put an end to this unfortunate pattern. Galster, along with his son John and daughter Allison, have taken the space a step further than his predecessors, hopefully giving their business better odds for success.

The 800 sqft dining space seats up to 40 guests inside, but what really caught our attention was the outdoor patio seating that they’ve built on the adjoining lot. The 3,500 square foot space comes equipped with 40 additional seats as well as a tiki bar. What makes this impressive outdoor space particularly unique is the way it’s flanked on either side with murals by artist Frito Bastein. Not only is this an added bonus in terms of ambiance, but it has also allowed Llama Tooth to be a stop on the Mural Arts Tour (stops 5 & 6), giving them considerable exposure. The Mural Arts Tour also does a Meal and Mural Arts program, where ticket holders have the option of eating at one of the restaurants included on the tour.

Looks so pleasant. Makes the food taste even better.

Galster tells us that the cuisine is New American, prepared by executive chef Ken Therrien. With entrees topping out at $20, the prices are pretty good for the quality. That, combined with their outdoor space, should draw locals as well as folks from outside the neighborhood. And we’re sure that people will be happy to have an alternative to Silk City’s nearby outdoor space, which can get awfully crowded on weekends. This stretch of Spring Garden St., while showing signs of progress, is still in need of some serious development. Once Union Transfer opens up across the street, we could start to see a critical mass of turnover and development in this part of town, and Llama Tooth will be right in the middle of it.

So, what does Llama Tooth mean? Joe tells us that his daughter Allison came up with the name.  She apparently has always had a fascination with alpacas and llamas, but when asked what it means she simply responds with “What does it mean to you?”  Fair enough. –Kaitlin Bostwick