After more than two decades under the same owner, the Red Rock Diner in Carbondale is changing hands.
The landmark, just north of town limits near the intersection of Highway 82 and Highway 133, was recently sold to siblings Marty Voller and Gina Shaw.
Voller, 43, who previously served as a salesman for Sysco and was one of former owner Bob Olenick’s food suppliers, will manage the restaurant.
A longtime local, avid fly fisher and bow hunter, he plans to keep all the favorites and use the same regional suppliers from beef to buns.
“We’re trying to make it a really smooth transition,” he said. “All of the stuff that they do right – why would I change that?”
That doesn’t mean he won’t be putting his degree in meat science and experience with charcuterie – the art and science of prepared meats – to work. New dishes are beginning to appear as specials, like the falafel waffle and the “pig on pig” bacon wrapped tenderloin. There’s also some new breading on the fish and chips that hails back to Voller’s childhood in Minnesota.
Voller, who like Olenick has worked in several upscale Aspen eateries, doesn’t think there’s any reason a diner can’t serve great food.
“I like the midvalley working class crowd,” he said. “They know their food.”
Voller is the first to admit he has “really big shoes to fill” in Olenick, who has run the Diner since it rolled in 1994 and knows many of his customers by name.
Olenick, 66, has been working in the restaurant business since he was 14 and is ready to hang up his Hawaiian shirt.
“It’s just time for another phase of my life,” he said. “I’ve been coming here seven days a week for 21 years. You wear out after a while.”
“I’m happy that I was able to sell it to Marty,” he added. “I feel he’ll continue what we’ve done here.”
On Monday night, the City Council listened to ideas for each old building. However, nothing laid out what the community space would actually entail — only aspirations and gathered community comment.