Meet Your Merchant: Cafe Elevation
How did your business start?
While I (Tommy) was a professional waiter for many years in Aspen, I dreamed of my own place and had many ideas. Gunnar and I being best friends, on the slopes and off, I pitched the idea on the lift one day, he believed in me and invested – the rest is history.
What do you sell?
Creative contemporary cuisine and a good time. We try to create food you don’t necessarily make at home.
What positive lessons did you learn during the recession?
It was an opportunity to better ourselves as a restaurant and as individuals in every aspect. We had to focus on the importance of a hands-on approach, and we gained a genuine appreciation for our regular customers.
What strategy do you use to hire good people?
I think it was Wolfgang Puck who said, “You can teach a good person to be a waiter, but you can’t teach a waiter to be a good person!” Hire good people with high EQs, and trust your chef and other key people to do the same.
What is your strategy for growth in the next year?
Our focus will remain the same with emphasis on being the best we can be, at what we do.
What is the best thing about running a business here?
You get to live here too!
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The city of Aspen’s office building is exempt from paying encroachment fees, yet private developers have to now pay $9 a square foot, per month, starting in 2020.