An old French favorite to reopen
June 15, 2005
Jour de Fte, Aspen’s extinct French deli, is coming back to life.A locals’ favorite soup and sandwich joint before it closed in 1997, it’s scheduled to reopen July 1 in its old location, 710 E. Durant Ave. Olivier Mottier, who opened Jour de Fte in 1988, is excited to be back in business – partly because he’s paying lower rent now than he was when the deli closed in 1997, he said.Since Jour de Fte’s eight-year run ended, the location – next to the Grog Shop – was vacant for several years, followed by a few transient businesses. Most recently, Bagel Bites opened its second local store there.But Jour de Fte, Mottier said, is back with intentions to stay.Mottier plans to put some life and energy back into the Durant area, which he says “looks like a bunker.”
He is busy remodeling the space to create a French-style deli with counter service and both indoor and outdoor seating. Mottier grew up in the French Alps, and his parents owned a similar place.”It is familiar ground for me,” he said.Mottier has a simple explanation for his luck with the rent: “I had a good tenure here. Maybe I made a good impression on him [the owner]. I’m very happy with the lease that I have, compared to last time.” “He’s a very lucky man,” said Ruth Kruger, owner of Kruger and Co., which specializes in commercial real estate. “Rents in town are really shooting up now.”Kruger said that Aspen’s recent rent spike is a result of a better world economy and a renewed interest in travel. Aspen is revitalizing after a lull in tourism following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.Commercial vacancies in the downtown core have dropped drastically in the past four years.
“Four years ago there were 30 vacancies,” Kruger said.Now, there are “very few. You can count them on one hand,” she said.Since Jour de Fte’s closing, Mottier has worked as restaurant manager for Rustique, Gusto and Campo de Fiori, but he has been looking for a way to get back into his own business.”They were all really great jobs, but I was really missing being my own boss,” he said. “I need the challenge.”Jour de Fte won’t serve only French cuisine; rather, it will “cover a little more global area with French influences,” he said.Mottier will serve fresh-baked breads and pastries, sandwiches, salads and hot entrees ranging in price from $6-$12. He also hopes the remodeled space will serve as a gathering place for friends and workers looking for a break and a good meal.
Pam Bakios, who works in a nearby building, said the reopening of Jour de Fte will fill a void of good restaurants in that section of town.”The food has always been good there,” Bakios said. “I think [Mottier] will offer much better food than the last two places. And the staff was always friendly there, as well.”Apparently, news of Jour de Fte’s reopening has spread quickly among Mottier’s loyal followers. “Even though I haven’t told anyone, it seems like everyone knows,” Mottier said. “It’s great for me to realize that people haven’t forgotten.”