Restaurants get reimagined and rearranged in Carbondale

Thomas Phippen
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

As one Carbondale restaurant shifts from lunch to dinner, another cafe is opening for breakfast and lunch two blocks away.

Eclectic locavore lunch spot The Beat will shift to a dinner-only restaurant for the winter, and The Landmark Cafe has sprung from the ashes of The Way Home.

Finding a new Way Home

Someone waiting for the bus in Carbondale walked up to The Way Home in October to look at the menu, and Aaron Rogers had to give him the bad news: The Way Home restaurant would not be reopening.

“Is this building cursed?” he asked.

“No, it just hasn’t found the right person yet,” Rogers said.

Rogers and her husband Flip Wise believe they are the right people, and they’ve opened Landmark Café in the old Victorian mansion with a bold vision to turn the property into a gathering place for locals and visitors alike.

Before The Way Home opened in the fall of 2018, the century-old building had sat empty since the 2012 closure of Mark Fischer’s popular Six89 restaurant. Before Six89, the restaurant was called Landmark, inspiring the new café’s name.

Rogers started working with The Way Home in June planning events. When the restaurant’s investors pulled, she saw an opportunity on bringing a café to the space, to capitalize on what appears to be prime real estate at the entrance to Carbondale’s downtown corridor.

Wise, who was The Way Home’s chef, said he’s not sure why the restaurant didn’t make it. But he thinks the space could find a better use than a traditional sit-down restaurant.

 “I envision it more as a free-flowing place. It turned into a sit-down, eat, and get out thing,” Wise said.

Landmark Café opened Dec. 15 with little publicity, but the foot traffic has steadily increased, Rogers said.

The couple had to shut down the café over the holidays, but reopened it this Sunday for breakfast and lunch.

The vision is to turn Landmark into a hangout and snack stop, while renting out The Way Home’s rooms to overnight guests and hosting events in the evenings.

The cafe is open for coffee, breakfast and lunch until 2 p.m., serving breakfast sandwiches on house-made English muffins, vegetarian quiches, polenta and poached eggs, breakfast bowl, French toast and more.

The café will rotate ingredients and toppings seasonally, but currently Landmark features a locally made persimmon jam.

Rogers has long envisioned running a café, and getting Landmark to the starting line has been a labor of love.

“We were counting on some funding from a local foundation, but that didn’t come through, so we’re still having to work other jobs,” Rogers said.

Beginning later this month, The Landmark will host live music on Friday nights, starting with Callin’ Old Souls on Jan. 17. Snacks, cocktails and beer will be available.

Wise and Rogers are also creating a supper club that will meet twice a month, offering three-course dinners, wine pairings, dessert and coffee to members on the second and last Wednesdays of each month.

The Beat goes on

Another home-turned-restaurant in Carbondale is shifting from a lunch spot to a dinner and drinks hangout.

The Beat, on Main Street a block east of the roundabout, will start dinner service Tuesday.

The winter hours Tuesdays through Saturdays will be 5-9 p.m., though the bar at The Beat may stay open later “if the mood strikes,” according to a press release.

Restaurant owners Lucy Perutz and Tobyn Britt said the shift will help the spot survive the winter lulls.

“Closing wintertime lunch service was a very difficult decision to make but ultimately, we know it is the right choice,” Perutz said in the press release. “Sometimes we have to do less in order to achieve more.”

The Beat will restore lunch service in the summer months when it’s warm enough to sit on the restaurant’s ample patio space.