Make it a trio for Wild Fig duo | AspenTimes.com

Make it a trio for Wild Fig duo

Janet Urquhart

Owners of The Wild Fig envision a bustling restaurant corner with their purchase Wednesday of the adjacent Popcorn Wagon and the former Colony Restaurant and Piano Bar.Craig and Samantha Cordts-Pearce, who opened The Wild Fig nearly two years ago with the backing of several partners, will expand with a new venture after purchasing both the Colony and Popcorn Wagon businesses from Susan Parry, and taking over the lease for both spaces. The Colony opened in 2002 and closed last month, but the popular wagon is here to stay, Craig vowed Thursday.”It’s staying for sure,” he said. “That’s a piece of Aspen history. As long as we own it, it will stay in this town.”As for the couple’s future plans for the Colony space, Craig was keeping mum on the details except to say, “I promise you this, the food is going to be absolutely awesome.”And the restaurant’s piano bar will disappear during the coming renovations. The new restaurant – it’s name has not been finalized – will open in December, Craig said.The Colony had been listed for sale by broker Karen Setterfield. Craig had been crunching the numbers and working on a deal to buy it for a year, with the involvement of the investors in The Wild Fig.The corner of Hyman Avenue and Mill Street, where the Popcorn Wagon is squeezed between The Wild Fig, facing Hyman, and the former Colony building, facing the Mill Street mall, will become a European-style square of al fresco dining in the summer months, Craig said.”It should be just a dynamite corner,” said Ruth Kruger, who helped broker the deal.Craig and Samantha each had a wealth of local restaurant experience when they decided to try a restaurant of their own, in a space that had seen various establishments come and go. The Wild Fig opened in December 2003.”I opened this space, The Wild Fig, with basically everyone saying I wouldn’t make it,” Craig said. “It was the space that just never worked for anyone.”But the Cordts-Pearces gave the space a Mediterranean feel and introduced a cuisine to match, with the influence of France, Italy, Spain and Greece. It quickly gained a following. Open for lunch and dinner during the summers and solely dinner during the winter months, the restaurant finished its first year of operation in the black, Craig said.Patrons of the new restaurant will note the couple’s influence. The two establishments will be similar, but different, akin to two siblings, he said.As for the Popcorn Wagon, a local fixture for some 25 years, Craig said he may expand the popular stand’s menu of crepes and other quick eats, but that’s about it.”We’re not going to scare people away, make it pricey. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel with that thing,” said Craig, who admits he’s tickled to own the wagon and more than a little excited about the prospects for the new restaurant space.”I’m just absolutely ecstatic,” he said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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