Madeleine Osberger

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May 19, 2009
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Phoenix Grill to open in Nardi's space

The former manager of Nardi's and the business' silent partner are planning on opening a restaurant in the second floor Snowmass Mall space that housed Nardi's and, before that, the Margarita Grill.

Phoenix Grill, which will feature Mexican and American cuisine, could open as soon as June 1, according to investor Michael Policari. He said that Kate Fitner, who managed the two previous restaurants in that space, would co-own and operate the business. She could not be reached for comment before presstime.

If the restaurant wants to serve alcohol at its debut, Peter Nardi will have to sign over the license to Fitner, as the next time the town's liquor licensing board meets is June 30, according to Donna Garcia of the town staff. Otherwise, the earliest that the board can review an application is during that June meeting.

Given the events of this week, it may be unlikely Nardi is interested in signing over the liquor license to Fitner and Policari. On Tuesday, Nardi filed a complaint with the Snowmass Village Police against the former manager/bookkeeper alleging possible fraudulent activities on her part. He accuses Fitner of signing checks to employees and vendors bearing his signature while Nardi was in Mexico.

Outside of the police department, Nardi told the Snowmass Sun that he had entrusted Policari to pay his tax bills to both the state and the town, which resulted in the non-payment and seizure by the Department of Revenue.

"I didn't know about the Department of Revenue (debt, which totals more than $41,000) until the day before I left" on vacation, Nardi said.

Policari denied that's the case, telling the Sun "that is absolutely not true," adding that while he (Policari) was the funding source for both Nardi's and the Hideaway, he wasn't involved in its daily management.

"Peter ran the business. I don't know what he paid, what he didn't pay," Policari said.

Police chief Art Smythe said Nardi is interested in paying back some employees who are owed money by the now shuttered business. Nardi has detailed, in a six-page handwritten letter, his version of the chain of events that ultimately led to the restaurant's demise. Due to time constraints related to fact checking, this letter does not appear in this week's newspaper. Please check out The Aspen Times and the May 27 Snowmass Sun for further details on this continuing story.

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The Aspen Times Updated May 19, 2009 08:23PM Published May 19, 2009 08:23PM Copyright 2009 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.