Carbondale’s Red Rock Diner closes

Thomas Phippen
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
A closed sign outside Red Rocks Diner in Carbondale.
Thomas Phippen / Post Independent

Carbondale’s classic diner has closed after 25 years of operation.

The Red Rock Diner near the intersection of Highway 82 and Highway 133 had a closed sign out front Saturday evening, and on Sunday the restaurant’s Facebook page posted a notice about the closure.

Co-owner Gina Shaw said she and fellow owner Marty Voller hope to sell the business but haven’t put it on the market yet.

Shaw said the business was unsustainable for a combination of reasons, including staffing and declining breakfast customers.

“In the current economy, it was really hard to find consistent help,” Shaw said.

The diner had many fabulous employees, Shaw said, but retaining talent was a struggle.

New minimum wage laws for restaurants didn’t help the small diner either, Shaw said.

Business started to diminish during the three-month Grand Avenue bridge closure in 2017, Shaw said.

“Ever since the bridge closure we lost our breakfast crowd, which was kind of our bread and butter,” Shaw said.

“I think people were just so hell-bent on getting where they needed to go that they didn’t stop for breakfast because they didn’t have time, and after a long day of commuting they didn’t stop for dinner either,” Shaw said.

While the new bridge opened in November 2017, the Red Rock Diner’s breakfast traffic didn’t really return.

Voller and Shaw bought Red Rock Diner in 2015, taking over the iconic store just north of the town limits from Bob Olenik, who started the restaurant in 1994. The new owners kept much of the decor, retro atmosphere and staple diner fare.

Voller added a number of dishes and “reimagined what the ’50s and ’60s diner tastes like,” according to the restaurant’s website. The restaurant also served beer, wine and cocktails.

The news about Red Rock Diner comes nearly a month after New Castle’s diner announced it would be closing until a new owner is found.