Aspen’s Square Grouper closed for good
The Aspen Times
Aspen Square Grouper has whipped up its last order of gumbo fries, served its final rounds of beers and bid farewell to the loyal patrons who have supported the local spot for the past three and a half years.
The New Orleans-style restaurant and bar closed its doors for good during the wee hours of Tuesday morning, co-owner Mike Goldman confirmed Tuesday.
“The dive bar is not really making it in Aspen anymore. It’s been very tough to keep the more price-pointed bar, places like us,” Goldman said.
“A bar like ours, we rely on volume, not the big spenders. And the volume in Aspen just isn’t the way it used to be.”
But Goldman said he and fellow Square Grouper owners Tom Flanga and Milton Allen remain in good spirits as they close this chapter in their careers.
“We want to make it positive for the three of us. We’re really, really proud of what we’ve done,” Goldman said. “Hopefully the Square Grouper will always be remembered in a positive light. We left our legacy.”
To Goldman, the Grouper’s legacy involved serving as a home to locals.
“It’s where all the industry people went, where all the bartenders, servers, chefs, the managers went,” he said. “So to be accepted as that — as the place that our locals went, the heart of Aspen — that meant the world to me.”
The Square Grouper, located at 304 E. Hopkins Ave., opened its doors to the community mid-May of 2013.
Developer Mark Hunt owns the building, which also houses Aspen Brewing Co. and Over Easy.
“It’s bittersweet, but it’s the right thing and it’s the right time,” Goldman said of the restaurant’s close this week.
From a business standpoint, 2016 “was a very difficult year for us,” Goldman said.
Altogether, “though our numbers were up over the last four years, we’re not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel,” he explained. “I don’t see a future in Aspen with our kind of bar in it, unfortunately.”
A series of break-ins last year, including one that had Goldman in court Tuesday morning, didn’t help, either, the owner pointed out.
“We want to end this the right way and walk away with our heads held high,” he said. “The Grouper has meant everything to us and it’s really been a fun ride for nearly four years.”
On behalf of the Square Grouper, Goldman said he wishes to extend a “tremendous thank-you” to the local community.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Aspen Times Weekly outdoors columnist Ted Mahon reports on new trails, campsites, and first e-bikes at Fruita’s mountain biking gem at 18 Road.