Local chef Martin Oswald plans Snowmass restaurant debut with unique concept in Base Village
February 5, 2019
Seasoned local chef Martin Oswald, known for his fresh, colorful fare, is mixing things up in Snowmass with plans to launch a unique restaurant concept in Base Village.
Mix6 will open inside the main level of the community-designated Collective Snowmass before Christmas, East West marketing director Sue Hyde said.
The name, oddly enough, is a play on the restaurant's concept, and not the space known for a number of years as Building 6.
Patrons — be it skiers, bikers, hikers or shoppers — will create their own dishes by selecting up to six ingredients from a variety of vegetables, proteins and scratch-made sauces. Rather than the traditional sit-down restaurant model, diners place their order before the chefs.
"Similar concepts have become very popular in large cities with chain restaurants," Oswald said. He pointed to Lemonade in California, Dig Inn in New York and Fresh Kitchen in Florida as examples.
Consistent with these concepts, mix6 will offer plenty of seating. Oswald estimated the restaurant would boast about 90 seats, including barstools, inside the Collective, and roughly 50 on the patio.
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A native of Austria, Oswald moved to the Roaring Fork Valley 25 years ago.
Oswald chose the valley as home after successful stints with a number of acclaimed chefs — including Wolfgang Puck, Dr. Joel Fuhrman and Willi Dungl — in Europe, New York, San Francisco and Vail.
His work over the past two-plus decades spans throughout the upper valley, including the defunct Riverside Grill in Basalt and Syzygy restaurant in Aspen, as well as the quaint Pyramid Bistro, which he will continue to operate. Oswald also has catered for a number of local organizations, including Jazz Aspen Snowmass, the Aspen Institute, the Aspen Art Museum and Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.
Although his experience in the kitchen runs the gamut, Oswald is most passionate about crafting clean, nutrient-dense dishes.
"I feel like we all share a collective sense of responsibility to move things into a better direction for everyone," Oswald said. "For me, this means providing guests with healthy food options and being an advocate for nutritional science."
While he's studied nutrition extensively and holds his own values about sustenance, the longtime restaurateur believes in providing people with options.
"Who am I to tell people what they want?" he said.
Customers' culinary demands and expectations also are changing, Oswald said, which in turns affects how the food is prepared.
"Having Pyramid Bistro for eight years now, I have seen how many people want to be very specific. They don't want to have nuts, the next person can't have the onions, and the next person can't have mushrooms," Oswald said.
"All of this (flavor) goes away, you know, because normally chefs design dishes (to) include all those ingredients. So it's become very challenging for customers to just go out and pick something on the menu because of allergies and more sensitivities and more knowledge. People are much more aware of their allergies and sensitivities."
Consequently, more people are embracing specific diets to suit their needs — be it ketogenic, paleolithic, vegan, gluten-free — "the list is really long," Oswald said.
His goal for mix6 is to offer a wide selection of fresh fare in a casual, welcoming environment.
"I will draw recipes from my many years of culinary journeys," Oswald said. "I'm all about using lots of spices, fresh herbs and aromatics to bring out big flavors."
The menu will change seasonally and ideas so far include: chimichurri steak, Cajun-spiced salmon, chorizo shrimp vegetables with Mandarin-ginger broccoli, pancetta sprouts, ras el hanout spiced cauliflower and a Tokyo seaweed salad.
As far as the restaurant's price-point, Oswald said, "We will do everything possible to keep prices friendly for families and the local community."
The lease between Oswald and Base Village developers East West is five years with renewal options of up to 15 years, according to Hyde.
The Collective Snowmass will close its doors for the season April 1 to allow for construction of the new restaurant.
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