New restaurant will soon be in full swing
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Aspen’s newest restaurant may enjoy something of a guaranteed clientele, but the Pyramid Peak Roadhouse isn’t going to settle for a customer base limited to those making the rounds on the city golf course.
When the restaurant and bar opens in the new clubhouse at the course this spring, owner Doug Clayton and his business partner, Alan Giaquinto, hope to make the roadhouse a destination in its own right.
The clubhouse, now in the final stages of construction, is slated to open in April, according to Steve Aitken, director of golf operations for the municipal course. The restaurant in the building will open by June 1, and perhaps by mid-May, according to Clayton.
When it does, golfers will enjoy a dining experience vastly different from what the course has been able to offer in the recent past, Aitken said. So will Nordic skiers who flock to the snow-covered course each winter.
“It’s just a great natural gathering point for people coming off the golf course,” he said. “And, I think it will help promote Nordic skiing. Having the restaurant located right on the track and right next to the Nordic Center – I think it’s going to be a win-win.”
The city has leased the restaurant/bar operation to Clayton for five years. He has operated the makeshift dining facilities at the course for the last couple of seasons with his eye on the opening of the new clubhouse.
“We only did that to get to this point,” he said. “Let’s just say we lost a lot of money.”
Last year, in fact, the course restaurant was pretty much limited to cooking on a griddle; the operation had no dining room or kitchen, according to Clayton.
“We had a really good hamburger,” he said. “We tried to do limited stuff and do it well.”
For years, the golf course eatery had been the former restaurant at the adjacent Red Roof Inn, a former motel that has since been converted to affordable housing.
“It really didn’t work for the golf course,” Aitken said. “It was kind of out the way. The location wasn’t really conducive for gathering.”
Instead, golfers were more likely to stop at a picnic table next to the parking lot, tally up their scores and head home.
But the new clubhouse is next to both the first tee and the redesigned 18th green. It will have seating for about 60 people inside and about 40 people on an expansive deck, according to Clayton. The raised deck offers views of the 18th green from one side and of Tiehack and Pyramid Peak from another.
“The back veranda is just going to be the hot spot this summer,” Clayton predicted.
The restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef Joseph Flamer is creating the menu. He was formerly the sous chef at Pinons and ran Finestra, an Aspen Skiing Co. restaurant on the slopes at Snowmass, for two years.
Clayton is the former co-owner of Ajax Tavern at the base of Aspen Mountain. He partnered with Giaquinto, founder of Cafe Ink, to take on the lease for the restaurant at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport last October. The pair gave the new Tailwind Deli a facelift, added a bar and upgraded the food, Clayton said.
The Roadhouse will offer a raw bar for lunch and dinner and will be grilling burgers on the deck, in addition to the full menu.
The restaurant will have three television sets for sports fans during the day; they’ll be turned off in the evening when a more refined atmosphere prevails, Clayton said.
The lease requires the restaurant to operate seven days a week from May 1 to Oct. 20. During the winter, the restaurant must operate at least Thursday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The winter season begins the weekend before Thanksgiving and concludes at the end of March.
While golfers and skiers may form the natural nucleus of the restaurant’s regular diners, Clayton said he will target a much broader customer base.
He won’t have to look far. The Truscott Place worker housing development is right next door and 99 additional units are now under construction. Between Truscott, the Airport Business Center, and the Castle and Maroon Creek valleys, Clayton said he hopes to draw in many diners on Aspen’s west side, as well as customers from the core of town. The restaurant is also a natural stop for anyone driving into town in the morning and heading downvalley at the end of the day.
“We want to be a destination,” he said. “It’s already been proven that people go to the Woody Creek Tavern, they go to Poppies . we need to be in that same circle.”
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