Hillstone Group plans to demolish Aspen building next to White House, open new restaurant | AspenTimes.com

Hillstone Group plans to demolish Aspen building next to White House, open new restaurant

It's out with the old, in with the new near the corner of Hopkins and Monarch, as Hillstone Restaurant Group plans to demolish the Seguin Building.

Hillstone intends to build a "modestly scaled," one-story structure at 304 E. Hopkins Ave., vice president Brian Biel wrote via email.

Biel said the building — located next door to the Hillstone-owned White House Tavern — would feature "some traditional reference" but not be a historic re-creation.

"We have an affinity for modern buildings, but here, we're thinking the modern part of it will be to have clean lines and details while using more traditional buildings as a reference," Biel wrote last week. "Our feeling is that the Seguin building has a pretty specific style from an architectural standpoint, and we'd like to start from scratch with something that's less of a statement but still engaging."

The restaurant group purchased the building, which previously housed Aspen Brewing Co. and Over Easy, from Aspen developer Mark Hunt on May 10 for $6 million.

"We've always kept our eye out for other opportunities in Aspen. The Seguin building had been on the market in the past so we had considered it previously," Biel wrote. "Having two restaurants next door to each other has some natural advantages in that you have a single management team and a staff that's looking after both."

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Hillstone has not applied for permits with the city of Aspen because the company is still "working on preliminary plans to make sure they are in line" with recent zoning changes.

The Hillstone Restaurant Group operates 47 restaurants in more than 10 states, which poses some concern with Aspen's recent chain ban.

Outside its restaurant ventures, Hillstone operates a wine shop in Beverly Hills and sells home goods (in addition to food) at its "Honor Market" in Montecito.

The brand specializes in American fare while the menus often feature a short list of items "with a lot of care and attention," Biel said.

"American cuisine takes a lot of cues from the world. … There is a lot of variety and that will be the fun part thinking about this restaurant," he said.

While the new restaurant's menu, name and timeline are being determined, Biel knows what works well at the restaurant group's other establishments, including the White House.

"When it comes to restaurants, it's the food people love to eat and delivering that quality consistently that matters most," Biel said. "People also want to be taken care of with a friendliness that's open and service that's attentive. That's what we strive for in all our places."

erobbie@aspentimes.com