New Aspen cafe to open in Zele’s former spot |

New Aspen cafe to open in Zele’s former spot

ASPEN – A new Aspen restaurant is scheduled to open next month in the former Zele Cafe spot, which shut down nearly a year ago.

Peach’s Corner Cafe, to open March 1, will be run by longtime local restaurateur David Roth and his business partners, Lisa Haisfield and Tracy Eggleston.

The space at the prominent corner of Hopkins Avenue and Galena Street has been vacant for 10 months. Zele shut down at the end of March 2009; its ownership cited the declining economy. Zele was most recently owned by Boulder-based Black Diamond Financial Group, a venture capital investment company. Valley resident Patrick Imeson opened the original eatery in 1992.

There now appears to be a glimmer of hope and definite excitement in the cafe space, which has been completely gutted and is being renovated.

The new cafe will serve breakfast and lunch at the outset, and could open in the evening – if there’s demand and it’s economically feasible, Roth said.

There will be to-go items, as well as sit-down dining inside and on the sunny outdoor patio, which was a popular locals’ meeting place because of its proximity to City Hall, government buildings, downtown traffic, and its views of Aspen Mountain.

The empty space served as a poster child for the increasing number of vacant storefronts in downtown Aspen throughout 2009, reminding residents that their community wasn’t recession-proof. Mayor Mick Ireland even held a press conference on the abandoned patio last April during his re-election bid to remind people that the economy needed a boost and that “affordable Aspen” should be the new marketing message.

The building is owned by Godiva Holdings, LLC, of which Haisfield’s husband, Mike Haisfield, is managing partner. Peach’s ownership has a lease with Godiva Holdings and has to pay rent to the company’s investors just like any other landlord-tenant contract.

“I might be able to be a day late – with penalties,” Lisa Haisfield joked.

Peach’s plans to serve liquor for brunch-style imbibing on bloody marys, mimosas and other cocktails. The liquor license application has not yet been finalized in City Hall.

Menu items will be made from ingredients and products produced locally and from the region, Roth said. Coffee will come from a Basalt roaster; baked goods will come from local bakers; meats will come from local ranches and butchers; and granola, jam, honey and dressings will be bought directly from local producers. Many items on the menu will be organic, as well.

“A lot of our products are from the society we live in,” Roth said. “We’re homegrown, and we’re really proud of it.”

Several ingredients also will be plucked from local farmers’ markets, including the one held in Aspen which is a stone’s throw away from Peach’s front door every Saturday during the summer and fall.

Breakfast items will include waffles, Swedish pancakes, omelets, Greek yogurt and homemade granola. Lunch will include cold and hot sandwiches, salads and specialty items.

“There will be something for everybody,” Roth said. “We want to be whatever we can be for so many people. We want to fill that niche, and we want to make things affordable.”

In 1989, Roth started the popular eatery, Paesanos, and is the mastermind behind Grub! – freshly prepared to-go meals sold at convenience stores, including the Shell station at Local’s Corner.

Roth, who is Peach’s executive chef, has hired Chris Williamson, a culinary school graduate from Denver, as the head chef of the cafe.

The interior space has a new kitchen, hardwood floors and an open floor plan that includes high tabletop seating, as well as a small bar area in the front corner.

Lisa said that over the past several months there were many prospective tenants – some out-of-towners – who were interested in the spot but ultimately it was won out by a group of longtime locals.

“It has such a great heartbeat and vibe that we really see it as a locals’ corner,” she said. “We just felt it fit.”

The cafe’s name is in honor of Lisa’s mother, whose nickname was Peach.

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