Aspen offseason the perfect season for steak? | AspenTimes.com
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Aspen offseason the perfect season for steak?

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Open a new restaurant in Aspen during the heart of the spring offseason lull? That’s Scott DeGraff’s plan.

N9NE Steakhouse will make a brief Aspen debut after the chairlifts shut down ” at a time when many locals escape town and those who remain are accustomed to shops and restaurants that shutter until sometime in June ” and that’s when the economy isn’t mired in a deepening recession.

But DeGraff said it’s the perfect time to give Aspen a taste of N9NE Steakhouse, in which he’s a partner. The restaurant has locations in Las Vegas and Chicago; it will open in Aspen at DeGraff’s Fun Worldwide Lab ” the former Cooking School of Aspen site ” on the Hyman Avenue mall.



With the restaurant space already available, and a chef and crew at the ready once DeGraff’s establishments in Snowmass Village ” Junk and Liquid Sky ” close for the offseason, the venture makes perfect sense, he said.

Given the number of restaurants in Aspen that do close for the offseason, DeGraff reasons he’ll offer residents something new this spring. After all, he noted, not everyone can leave town for an extended hiatus. “A lot of us have full-time jobs,” he said.




The steakhouse will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, April 23 to May 30, featuring “the greatest hits” of the N9NE Steakhouse menu along with dishes under consideration for DeGraff’s next venture ” Junk at the Red Onion ” slated to open this summer at the former Red Onion in downtown Aspen.

“I figured, you know what, since I’ve got the chef and the team here, why not try this out?” DeGraff said Thursday. “It’s not like we have to build a new restaurant. It’s a lab ” we’re supposed to try new things, so we figured, let’s have some fun.”

The Fun Worldwide Lab space features an open kitchen, allowing diners to watch the action. Remodeled after its cooking school days, the lab now hosts special events.

The lab’s head chef, Chris Conlon, was a former executive chef for N9NE Steakhouse, and a number of the crew members were formerly with the steakhouse, as well, DeGraff said.

While DeGraff’s not contemplating a longer-term arrangement for the steakhouse in Aspen, it may continue beyond the end of May. “We haven’t decided,” he said.

janet@aspentimes.com


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