‘Stube owner: eatery in Aspen for long haul | AspenTimes.com

‘Stube owner: eatery in Aspen for long haul

Despite rumors of its demise, operators of Aspen's venerable Wienerstube restaurant say it will not be going out of business any time soon. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

Success has created a bit of a problem for the owner of Aspen’s Wienerstube restaurant.The ‘Stube’s expansion to Basalt last month helped fuel speculation that the famous breakfast joint is toast in the upper valley.There has also been speculation by real estate agents that the pending sale of the Wienerstube building in Aspen’s commercial core would force out the eatery because redevelopment would send the rent skyward.

All the speculation is flat out wrong, said Wienerstube owner Kevin Willson. He said he gets inquiries nearly every day asking if the ‘Stube is still open in Aspen. “It’s unbelievable,” he said.His frustration peaked this week when he discovered that a website connected to the ESPN Winter X Games listed his restaurant in the “out” category, as in out of town. He fears the rumors will harm his business on what should be one of the busiest weekends of the winter.Willson said the real estate agents and other speculators who claim the imminent demise of the Aspen ‘Stube don’t know the terms of his lease. When he signed the current lease with the current owners, Willson asked for and received an option to renew for 10 years at the same rate in case of a sale.

He sought the terms because he knew the aging owners might not hold onto the property for long. He was correct. It’s under contract for sale. Pending litigation will determine if Willson should have been given the right of first refusal to purchase the building, as he claims. Even if he doesn’t end up owning the building, he claimed that the Wienerstube will stay there for the foreseeable future because of the favorable lease terms.Despite the perception problems, Willson said he has no regrets about opening a second Wienerstube in Basalt on Dec. 9. The breakfast and lunch menu is the same as in Aspen, and he said Basaltines have embraced the place.”It’s total local trade,” he said.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com

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