Carbondale’s Town restaurant to close

Ryan Summerlin
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Town restaurant in Carbondale will close next month.
Alex Zorn / Post Independent |

Town restaurant in Carbondale, occupying a prominent Main Street location, announced Monday that it’s closing its doors Oct. 21.

Mark Fischer opened Town in 2013. The downtown restaurant was a successor to Fischer’s earlier restaurant Six89, which operated for 14 years just a couple blocks down Main Street.

The closure of Town will be another step in the shifting landscape of Carbondale’s Main Street, including the recent razing of the Dandelion and Theresa’s markets and the addition of a few new businesses such as Batch, next door to Town.

“We just couldn’t reach workable terms as we worked through renewing the lease,” Fischer said. A lot of factors go into running a restaurant, and any one of those factors can upset the whole balance, he said, forcing him to ask whether the headache is worth it.

“Is it financial? Is it personal? All of the above,” he said.

Fischer didn’t want to get much more specific than that, saying that the decision to close was not simply a matter of increased rent. And he added that Town had struggled with two big challenges: finding good employees and then being able to pay them enough.

“If I can’t pay for health insurance, they will go somewhere that can,” he said.

A lot of people who could be employees for the restaurant are leaving town, he added.

“I love being in business on Main Street. I love cooking for people in town. We have nothing but gratitude,” Fischer said. “Do we have regrets? Yeah, we would have liked to have a longer run here, but that doesn’t appear that will be the case.”

As for his other two restaurants, Phat Thai across the street in Carbondale and Pullman in Glenwood Springs, Fischer said, “It’s business as usual until it’s not.

“We’ve got no plan to close those restaurants, and that certainly wasn’t the plan” with Town.

The building Town occupies, like the block where Dandelion and Theresa’s markets operated, is owned by companies associated with Bren Simon, the widow of shopping-mall tycoon Melvin Simon. The companies own several parcels in downtown Carbondale, which were valued at about $7 million in 2015. Plans for the properties are unknown, including the recently razed parcel, which is now an empty, fenced grass lot.

In a statement announcing Town’s closure, Fischer described a premature end for a business that hadn’t realized its potential, saying “the best was yet to come.”

“Certain and assorted circumstances have prevailed making it difficult to continue the successful operation of our restaurant. As it were, we’re calling it a (metaphorical) ‘night,’” he wrote. “It’s a reach to think our success might have contributed, partially, to our inability to stay. Our food and drink isn’t cheap, but it’s not unreasonably priced. To change that value equation would be contrary to our philosophical approach to it all.

“There are no victims or villains here. It’s easy to take things for granted. It’s also easy to (complain) of the state of things. And it’s difficult to truly appreciate things until they’ve been taken from you.

“It’s easy to say it’s just a restaurant, but is it really? We have nothing but gratitude for the opportunity. Thank you for being our friends. It has been an honor to be a small part of Carbondale.”

“It’s awfully disappointing,” said Mayor Dan Richardson upon hearing the news. “It feels like losing a community member. Town was a great gathering place, a cool spot. And as restaurateurs, they have invested a lot into Carbondale. They’ve really raised the bar.”

Andrea Stewart, Carbondale Chamber of Commerce director, said that Town has become a great staple for Carbondale.

“As a great location with a great atmosphere, they have brought a lot to town,” Stewart said.