Zeno Aspen to open near Silver Queen Gondola

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

An Italian restaurant privately described by sources as “casual” and “locals friendly” soon will open in the former Il Mulino space in the Residences at the Little Nell.

Zeno Aspen will be operated by Marco Cingolani, co-operator of Justice Snow’s restaurant in the Wheeler Opera House building. Cingolani declined to discuss details surrounding his restaurant concept but confirmed that a restaurant is coming to the East Dean Street luxury condo development. He is currently seeking waitstaff, kitchen workers and other employees for his new venture.

Il Mulino, a national chain with a popular location in New York City, operated in the 5,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor spot from fall 2009 until its abrupt departure last spring. Developer John Sarpa, who represents Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., which owns the commercial space at the Residences at the Little Nell, confirmed that a lease has been signed with Cingolani.

Sarpa would not discuss its terms.

“I know he wants to open as soon as possible,” Sarpa said. “We have a lot of confidence in Marco.”

While details remain murky, sources close to the project say the restaurant is being named Zeno Aspen after Zeno Colo, a champion ski racer from Italy who won gold and silver medals in the 1950 World Championships in Aspen.

Local real estate broker Brian Hazen, of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse, made mention of the restaurant in his recent newsletter.

“Not even officially announced yet is the new restaurant, Zeno’s, which will reside in the Il Mulino space at the Little Nell Residences. (It) will be a more casual Italian restaurant with a ‘fun, easy to approach atmosphere.’ They hope to be open by Thanksgiving,” the newsletter states.

In 2004, when the Aspen City Council approved the Residences at the Little Nell project, council members got developers to agree to a stipulation that a restaurant and bar be open there during the summer and winter tourism seasons.

The Residences at the Little Nell is a fractional-ownership development near the Silver Queen Gondola, opening in early 2009. Its luxury condos are managed by Aspen Skiing Co.’s Little Nell Hotel.