Taster’s owner taking second bite into Snowmass Center, plans to open diner this summer

The Snowmass Town Center space that was formerly The Village Tavern is going to be taken over by Taster's, which already has a nearby space in the center.
David Krause / The Aspen Times

Taster’s pizzeria is taking another slice of the Snowmass Center.

The owner of the popular Italian food eatery that has had the corner spot in the center for the past 19 years is planning to take over an additional 1,300 square feet in the space that was home to another locals’ hangout for Snowmass residents, The Village Tavern.

The Tavern, formerly the Mountain Bayou among other eateries through the years, will not reopen, Jordan Sarick, principal of Eastwood Developments and its Eastwood Snowmass Investors affiliate, said Friday.

That offseason change allowed the owners of Taster’s to expand his footprint and menu. The two locations will bookend Sundance Liquor & Gifts store, and Taster’s owner Stacy Forster said Friday it all “kind of come to pass fairly quickly so I’m still working on concept and names. I’ve got to get in there and clean it first.”

Forster said the new place will maintain a diner feel and this summer will only be open for breakfast and lunch. If he can “get all the legal stuff in order” he would like to open for the Fourth of July weekend.

He plans to incorporate dinner and the full bar for the next winter season. That in turn will help him when the Snowmass Town Center undergoes its major renovation.

The Snowmass Center is under review for a massive remodel and expansion. The second location “will give them flexibility around construction and help them stay open during construction,” Sarick said.

Forster is no stranger to construction issues. He had to close his Aspen location at Rio Grande Place in August after more than 10 years because of the city of Aspen’s construction for its new office building.

“My thinking is that when we move into the new Snowmass Center, we’ll have bigger space, bigger full bar, and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Forster said. “It will almost be a merging of the two ideas. This is giving me a lead up to that, and dealing with menu items and seeing what works.”

On May 18, Snowmass Town Council finished its preliminary review of the proposed Town Center redevelopment. That allows Eastwood to move ahead with prepping and submitting its final development application. Sarick said Friday they are not sure on a time frame for the final submission.

“Right now, everyone has pencils down and is working away,” Sarick said. “There is a lot of work but everyone is really excited. It’s an exciting project. These days, for us to have lots of work, and lots of exciting work to shape the future of the village, is a great thing.”

Since the Town Center opened, the space that Forster is taking over has been Pour La France, then Wildcat Café, then Spencer’s, then Village Tavern, then Mountain Bayou and back to Village Tavern, according to a town officials.

Taster’s, which opened in Snowmass in June 2001, is one of the very few Snowmass restaurants that stayed open in some fashion during the early weeks of the pandemic and has remained open. Forster said Friday it wasn’t hard to stay open because they are primarily set up for take-out and delivery anyway.

“At the time … I was thinking about our family’s income and the employees’ income,” he said. “But then I quickly realized the locals were really appreciative to have a place to go and something open and it is nice to be a part of that.”