New brewpub and Mezzaluna will open by spring in Willits Town Center |

New brewpub and Mezzaluna will open by spring in Willits Town Center

Capitol Creek Brewery will open at a new building in Willits Town Center, near Element Hotel. The brewpub's space features five overhead garage doors that can be opened during warm weather.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times |

Two new restaurants will add to the vitality of Willits Town Center in Basalt next spring.

Mezzaluna, one of the longest-serving restaurants in Aspen, will open a second location at Willits.

Capitol Creek Brewery will brew its own handcrafted ales on site and operate a restaurant.

Both restaurants will open in a building currently under construction on the southern side of Willits Town Center.

Tim Belinski, a local representative for Willits developer Mariner Real Estate Management, said two retail stores also are opening. Soak, a sister store of Crystal River Spas, will open prior to Thanksgiving in the first floor of the building where Valley View Hospital’s offices are located — across the parking lot from Whole Foods. Soak will show different brands and products of hot tubs and spas in a 1,600-square-foot space, according to Belinski.

In addition, Holly and David Willson of Aspen will open Hollyann, a store that will offer “the latest trends and styles in fashion, home decor and gifts, with a unique twist,” according to a description provided by the owners. Hollyann will open next year in a 2,000-square-foot space next to Capitol Creek Brewery.

Mezzaluna partners stoked

Grant “Junior” Sutherland said he and his partner at Mezzaluna, Deryk Cave, are excited about the expansion downvalley. They will still operate their restaurant in Aspen, which opened in 1987 and was purchased by them in 1993.

Sutherland said a lot of their customers have moved downvalley and started families over the years, so they are looking forward to seeing familiar faces again.

Willits has “good energy” that Sutherland said he believes will continue to pick up momentum as more businesses locate there.

“I’ve just seen it grow and grow and grow,” he said.

The partners started looking at Willits two years ago and settled on leasing a 3,000-square-foot space in the newest building at Willits Town Center. That building will feature commercial uses on the ground floor and 50 affordable-housing apartments on upper floors. A second phase of the building will include 27 condominiums that will be sold under affordable-housing guidelines.

Mezzaluna will be on the northwest corner of the building, closest to East Valley Road. It will have about 55 seats at tables and other 15 at the bar in the interior, according Sutherland. There will be patio seating during warm weather months.

The new restaurant will feature a menu similar to its Aspen one, including wood-fired pizzas and Italian classics. They also aim to create a legendary bar scene in Willits as they have in Aspen.

The restaurant will be open for lunch on weekends with a daily happy hour and dinner nightly until 10 p.m. The restaurant also will be available for weddings, family celebrations and special parties.

The interior will have a “more modern feel to it” than in Aspen, with Cather’s Home helping with the design, according to Sutherland.

Mezzaluna will need about four weeks to complete the interior work once the space is turned over by Shaw Construction, the contractor on the project. Sutherland said the goal is to open in March.

Brewery for Basalt

Capitol Creek Brewery is coming together because of the passion of Bill Johnson, according to Belinski. The brewery will open in the northeast corner of the new building, closest to Element Hotel. The 4,000-square-foot space will feature five overhead garage doors that can be opened during warm weather, according to Belinski. The beer will be brewed in four kettles on site.

Johnson couldn’t be reached prior to deadline. The goal is also for a late winter, early spring opening.

Belinski said the new businesses are part of the maturation of Willits, anchored by Whole Foods Market.

“The theme that we’re finding with the businesses that are coming in is they are locally owned,” he said. High costs for commercial space upvalley are enticing many businesses to the midvalley, he said.