Aspen restaurant owner: The offseason will not happen this year
It’s mid-September just after 3 p.m., and the line inside Peach’s Corner Cafe reaches the door, where just outside people also are occupying a majority of the patio tables.
Anyone whose passed the corner cafe on a sunny day around breakfast or lunchtime, or during peak season, knows this scene all too well.
But an overcast Monday afternoon during the offseason?
“I think the cafe has been busier this time of year than in previous years. This whole summer’s been busier than usual,” Peach’s manager Hugo Sanchez said.
While some restaurants and bars in town say business certainly seems busy for the offseason, other places have no doubt.
“The offseason will not happen this year,” Ryno’s Pies and Pints owner Ryan Sweeney said.
Sweeney said the restaurant and bar’s sales for September are up 50 percent from last year.
“Mondays and weekends are just nuts,” he said.
Ryno’s reaches capacity by 10:30 p.m. on Monday night for karaoke, Sweeney said, though weekdays also are significantly busier than in previous years.
“Last year, we had maybe 30 or 40 people on an average weekday at this time. Right now, we’re pretty much doubling that,” he said.
The bar conversation between locals who work in the hospitality industry reflects surprisingly high business, as well, Sweeney said.
“We get a pretty good local crowd in here, and for people with tip-based jobs, it hits a point around this time where people start to have less money in their pockets.”
From behind the bar, Sweeney hasn’t experienced this yet.
“People are still going for the top-shelf stuff — a Grey Goose and soda versus a vodka soda; craft beer versus some of the lower-end stuff,” he said. “It just has not slowed down this season.”
Some of the higher-end establishments in town say business and occupancy are still surprisingly strong, as well.
Ajax Tavern supervisor Shuman Pradhan said the restaurant and The Little Nell hotel “are still very busy this year.”
Pradhan anticipates this will be the case for a while, as weddings and corporate events on the top of Aspen Mountain will continue to draw crowds through mid-October.
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