Restaurants queue up for space this summer
A barbecue joint in downtown Aspen and a new pizza place out at Highlands will be among the latest additions to Aspen’s dining scene.What’s next for the vacant Ute City Bar & Grill space, which closed with a crowded farewell night on April 15 isn’t clear, nor is the plan for Restaurant Barclay, though an application for a liquor license at the Hyman Avenue Mall space has been filed with the city.Meanwhile, Aspen’s Bagel Bites has new owners who are anxious to keep the local bagel shop a regular stop for the breakfast and lunch crowd.Graciela Edgar, owner of Mi Casita in Carbondale, has purchased the former Montage space on Cooper Avenue. She and her husband, David, both native Texans, plan to open Texas Red’s BBQ in a spot that has seen several restaurants come and go in recent years. Edgar didn’t just buy a business, she bought the space for $2 million.”That’s the only way to kind of control your rent,” explained David Edgar, who intends to introduce genuine Texas barbecue to Aspen.
“The one thing we’ve found is most people don’t know the difference between the Hickory House and Texas barbecue,” he said, referring to Aspen’s longstanding barbecue place. For one thing, he said, Texas Red’s will offer a broad array of barbecued entrees – various types of ribs, sausage, chicken and more, with fresh sides and homemade desserts. David is in charge of the smoker, which he’ll operate in the dining room, he said.Barbecuing, he said, “is an art.”The Edgars formerly owned a barbecue place and several Mexican restaurants in Austin; they moved to Old Snowmass five and a half years ago, opened Mi Casita and began eyeing restaurant spaces in Aspen.The couple plans to open for lunch and dinner, with lunches for less than $10 and dinners under $15, David said.Out at Highlands, Graham Frandson, owner of the Little Dill in Snowmass Village, plans to open Crust in the former Thunderbowl Market and Cafe at the base of the ski area. The cafe closed last fall and remained vacant throughout the ski season.Crust, slated to open on May 25, offering lunch and dinner, will feature a full bar and virtually every style of pizza -Chicago deep-dish, New York-style thin crust, gourmet artisan pizza, traditional pies and an alternative “very tasty” wheat-free-crust pizza, Frandson said.
“We’re kind of a unique concept as far as pizza is concerned – kind of offering the best of all worlds,” he said. “We’re going to try to put as many as we can under one roof.”The restaurant will offer sit-down dining and pizza by the slice, plus free delivery within Aspen Highlands Village. By next winter, Frandson wants to deliver his pies to town, as well.Matthew Zubrod, executive chef at the nearby Willow Creek Bistro, is the “chef consultant” to the new enterprise.Another dough-driven concern, Bagel Bites, put its restaurants in Aspen and Glenwood Springs and its Basalt bakery up for sale last year. The enterprise found buyers for the Aspen eatery in Austin transplants Bill and Audrey Oglesby.Here on vacation in December and scouting businesses for sale, they spied Bagel Bites in the Clark’s Market complex.
“We looked in the window, saw it was for sale. I said ‘This is it,’ ” Audrey said.The couple has since moved to Old Snowmass. They’re not planning big changes at the bagel shop, just some improvements in the decor.It’s an Aspen icon – very loyal, wonderful customers,” said Audrey, who wants to make the shop a comfortable spot to hang out.”I love to go to coffee shops, bagel shops, just read the paper.”Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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