New owner plans on turning Upside Down House inside out
ASPEN A former chef for one of Aspen’s sushi restaurants has bought the Upside Down House and plans to reopen it in June under a new name, with new hours and a refurbished interior.But no, he won’t be serving sushi out of the tiny Main Street deli, which he said once was the kitchen of the home of real estate broker Tom Moore, owner of the deli space and the entire block of retail shops at the corner of Monarch and Main streets.Joe Freeman, 36, and his fiancee, Krista Eddy, completed the purchase of the business on May 22 and immediately gutted the place in preparation for a remodel.They plan to reopen in mid-June, under a name they have not picked yet but with a menu very similar to the one that locals have become used to over the years.Freeman, explaining that he is fully aware of the trademark problems that plagued the old In & Out House, said he has been working with a trademark attorney to come up with a name he can stick with.The deli had operated as the In & Out House for some 35 years, serving sandwiches, soups, chips and beverages to a loyal lunchtime crowd. Then a trademark battle with the In-N-Out Burger chain, based in California, forced a name change in 2006.And while former owner Michelle Abruzzo and her manager, Garrick Cox, indicated in February that they planned to keep the deli open long term, financial difficulties forced the sale of the business.Freeman said Friday that he first moved to Aspen in 1994 from his native state of North Carolina, and has been in the restaurant business “since I was 18,” but always before this as an employee, most recently for two years at Kenichi. This is his first stint owning his own business, he said.He declined to name the purchase price of the business, and he said the purchase included all equipment and furnishings, though the pair is having to replace some of the fixtures and equipment.”We’re just pretty much buying the right to do business in Aspen,” he said with a smile.The restaurant, whatever it is called, will be open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays to begin with, until the new owners get a feel for what customers want and what they, as owners and servers, can put up with.John Colson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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Written pleadings filed Monday in district court by the Pitkin County Restaurant Alliance seek a court decision requiring the defendants — the county, the board of health and interim director — to answer their complaint by Thursday and hold a court hearing on the matter as early as Friday.