New Mexican restaurant coming to Aspen as El Rincon closes

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times

A new Mexican restaurant is coming to Aspen.

The space where El Rincon operates, previously known as The Cantina for 28 years, is changing ownership.

Aspen locals Darren Chapple and Adam Malmgren have signed a 15-year lease on the restaurant’s existing location.

“We plan to be up and running by early December,” Malmgren said.

El Rincon owner Aidan Wynn confirmed the restaurant’s closing and thanked the locals for their support.

“It just didn’t work out,” Wynn said.

Malmgren and Chapple get the keys Oct. 1, after which they’ll close for a remodel, Malmgren said.

Chapple and Malmgren worked at The Cantina in 2004 but left after six years due to changes in the “dynamics, management and culture of the restaurant,” Chapple said.

“We have years and years of history and experience in that place,” he added.

After leaving The Cantina in 2010, Chapple moved back to Southern California, where both he and Malmgren are originally from, and opened his own Mexican restaurant, La Rosa Tequileria and Grille, in Santa Rosa.

“It’s traditional Mexican with some contemporary blend,” Chapple said, adding that he’s always “been passionate about food quality.”

Malmgren, who’s worked in restaurants for 20 years — 15 of which were in Aspen — also is no stranger to the culinary scene, and Mexican cuisine in particular.

“Both of us being from Southern California, we understand street, modern Mexican, and we get inspiration from that,” Malmgren said.

Having lived in Aspen for a number of years, they also understand the town’s demographics.

“Aspen is a well-traveled town and very much a foodie culture. Its clientele knows good quality,” Chapple said. “I’ve been checking out every Mexican restaurant all throughout the American Southwest, getting inspiration and ideas for this.”

“I’m confident this is going to be a very welcome spot for the community,” Chapple said.

“We’re just excited to make some good Mexican food in a comfortable place,” Malmgren said.