New golf course restaurant is ready to tee off
Aspen city officials are hoping to score a hole-in-one with their latest lessee.
On Monday the City Council approved a contract for longtime local restaurateur Shlomo Ben Hamoo to run the restaurant at the Aspen Golf Course.
The well-known proprietor of the former Shlomo’s, at the base of Aspen Mountain where the Ajax Tavern now stands, and a key player in the opening of such landmark local eateries as the In & Out House, Boogie’s Diner and the Sundeck, Ben Hamoo is a familiar face in the restaurant scene.
“I couldn’t be away from the business … I missed all the people,” said Ben Hamoo, a 20-year restaurant veteran who has spent the last couple of years selling real estate.
According to Ben Hamoo, Shlomo’s on the Green will open within the next 10 days and will serve hearty American fare – a mix between Little Annie’s, Shlomo’s and Boogie’s. Per its lease, the restaurant will be open seven days a week, from at least 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., from May 1 through Oct. 30. Ben Hamoo will also be charged with manning the golf course’s beverage cart and offering a minimal winter menu.
Shlomo has not ruled out the possibility of serving dinner in summer, or of offering more extensive fare in winter.
“I’ll be open anytime if people want. I will wait for them to come,” he said.
Of course Ben Hamoo will have his work cut out for him. The golf course restaurant, opened in summer 2002 as part of the Aspen Golf Course’s new clubhouse facility, has failed to live up to expectations. In fact, the city’s lease with its first tenants, Doug Clayton and Allen Giaquinto of the Pyramid Peak Roadhouse, was canceled well before its five-year life after the restaurant was beset with business and personnel problems.
Asked if he knows what he’s getting into, Ben Hamoo laughs: “I’ve been around … and I know this is the challenge. But I’m what [the city] is looking for.”
City staffers agreed, stating in their support for Ben Hamoo that “although the other candidates were qualified, each lacked some of the criteria that Shlomo provided. The panel believes Shlomo’s strong background in previous restaurant operations in Aspen and his local following will be a tremendous asset to the facility.” Four other restaurateurs submitted proposals.
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