Aspen couple ate at Little Annie’s twice a day for 20 years
For the past 20 years, Janet Roberts and Larry Fredrick have eaten at Little Annie’s twice a day, every day, until the restaurant closed its doors in mid April.
The husband and wife even sat at the same table every single meal — Table 9 — otherwise known as “Janet’s table,” said Little Annie’s waitress Nancy Meyer.
The restaurant reserved the table for their VIP customers every day, and everybody knew it was Janet’s table, Meyer said.
When Roberts and Fredrick left town, other Little Annie’s diners would try and sit at Table 9 simply because it was the only time they were able, Meyer said.
And when the couple went out of town or were running a few minutes late to their normal lunch or dinner times — between 11:30 and 11:45 a.m. and about 5:30 p.m., respectively — they would call the restaurant and let them know ahead of time.
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To say Little Annie’s most loyal customers left their mark on the establishment would be an understatement.
“It was their home away from home,” Meyer said. “We were lucky to have them at Little Annie’s.”
The feeling is mutual, said Roberts and Fredrick, who view the restaurant’s staff as their family.
“From the owner to the kitchen to the bus staff — those people became our family,” Roberts said. “Especially because we don’t have family here.”
Fredrick said the couple watched staff members’ families grow up and have children over the years.
“We were sad when their dogs died and happy when they had family in town,” Fredrick said.
To fill a missing void in their stomachs and hearts, the couple is seeking a new “restaurant home,” Roberts said.
But so far the search has been unsuccessful.
All of Aspen’s old-time local spots have been redeveloped over the past few decades, Fredrick said, adding that, “That’s not our style.”
The couple’s style is low-key and homey, Roberts said.
“We like places that make us feel comfortable,” she said. “Places that are welcoming, care about you and know your name at the door.”
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The Aspen Filmfest program, which opens Tuesday night with the Jessica Chastain-led drama “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” is a tribute to the founder, Ellen Kohner Hunt. The festival will also recognize the memory of Hunt with “Ellenfest” on Thursday.