Venerable ‘Stube’ expands winning recipe downvalley
Basalt diners hankering for bratwurst, sauerbraten and other authentic Austrian fare will think they’ve died and gone to heaven over the latest news on the restaurant front.Aspen’s venerable Wienerstube restaurant will open a Basalt branch Dec. 1.”We’re expanding, not moving,” stressed Kevin Willson, co-owner of the “Stube” along with wife Laura Wren. They will continue to operate at 633 E. Hyman Ave. in Aspen, where the eatery was founded 40 years ago in November.In Basalt, Wren and Willson will open in a prime spot in the Riverside Plaza building in the Ute Center development, where Hestia restaurant used to operate. The same menu that has made the Stube such a hit in Aspen will be brought to Basalt, Willson said.He’s confident the Stube will catch on downvalley because there aren’t all that many places to eat breakfast and the establishments that are open often have lines. Willson also expects the restaurant to be a popular gathering spot among old, familiar friends.”We do realize a lot of old Aspenites moved to Basalt,” he said.The Stube is a popular feeding trough for locals, which in turn makes it attractive to tourists. Gerhard Mayritsch co-founded the restaurant and operated it for more than 35 years. Horst Grilc bought the Stube in 2000 but sold to Willson and Wren on Nov. 1, 2002, to pursue a different restaurant opportunity. Excellent service from waitresses in Bavarian-style outfits has always been a hallmark of the eatery. It’s also known, of course, for Austrian, Continental and American cuisine. A quick browse of websites on Aspen restaurants shows it on several top-10 lists.Willson estimated the Stube does 60 percent of its business during summers and 40 percent during winters. He expects that mix to be skewed even stronger toward summer in Basalt.Contractors will transform the interior of the Basalt site in the next few weeks. The downvalley opening has fueled a lot of speculation that the Aspen restaurant will disappear, Willson acknowledged.The building where the Stube is located is under contract, but he figured it will take about a year to finalize the sale, then probably two years for a new building to earn approval. If that scenario unfolds, he intends to relocate temporarily during construction of a new building, then snare a spot in the new structure. Willson said he has an option on a lease that would keep him in the new building for at least 10 years.”The business is going to stay around forever,” he predicted.The Stube’s arrival isn’t the only change in the Basalt dining front. Among other developments: El Nuevo Horizonte opened two weeks ago on the Midland Avenue site Rick’s Steakhouse and Chefy’s previously occupied. It features Mexican and Salvadoran cuisine.Owner Freddy Cabrera is the brother of the owner of the Taqueria el Nopal restaurant just down the road. Freddy said the brothers don’t see each other as competitors. His brother even helped him get started.The Taqueria is more of an in-and-out spot while Horizonte is a sit-down dining experience. It features reasonably priced specials and some dishes that might not be available on the menus of other Mexican restaurants.El Nuevo Horizonte takes its name from the new opportunity America presents to people from Mexico and El Salvador, Cabrera said. The restaurant is open for breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. It’s open for lunch and dinner from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Saxy’s Cafe is hitting on all cylinders since opening six weeks ago. The Midland Avenue coffeehouse and Italian bistro is across from Basalt Town Hall. It features rich Italian pastries on its breakfast menu, and panini and salads at lunch. And, of course, coffee, coffee and more coffee.Bryan Sax credited his wife, Christy, with planning the menu and the interior design after researching the bistros of Venice, Italy. They are creating an atmosphere where people feel they can meet and hang out rather than rush along. It’s open from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Redstone Pizza opened recently at a spot beneath Stubbies, near the Basalt Store. Lest we forget west Basalt – also known as El Jebel – Subway opened a few months ago in Orchard Plaza.Scott Condon’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
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