Paul E. Anna: High Points
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Could there be better news on the Aspen dining front than the revelation that the venerable Red Onion will once again open for business?
Last Friday both local papers heralded the story with above-the-fold headlines that outlined how former Blue Maize partner Tom Colosi and his sister Jennifer had signed a lease to take over the 120-year old building that has served as a restaurant and watering hole for locals and tourists for more than a century.
It will be three years come the first of April since the Red Onion poured its last beer or plated its last meal. That gap in its history that has saddened many and left a hole in the city core. Word that it will reopen on May 15 (let’s hope that is not too ambitious), means that summer afternoons may once again be spent on the patio with the view of Aspen Mountain.
Blue Maize was a gem and their unique Southwest/Latin cuisine was lovingly and meticulously presented by Tom and his former partner Richard Chelec. Tom has been quoted as saying that many of the Blue Maize signature dishes, including the spicy jalapeno poppers and the lobster rellenos, will be reborn at the Onion and these are just the kind of tastes that will fit in perfectly with all of the old Onion faves.
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To me the best part of the plan is that breakfast will be available all day and into the evenings. Perhaps my favorite meal of the day, it seems that with a few exceptions that Aspen is lacking in great breakfast spots. The kind of place where you know that if you sleep too late because you spent to much time and money the previous night at, say, the Red Onion, you still can find eggs and waffles for your crack of noon chowdown.
The last three years have been uncertain ones for the old Onion.
For a while it seemed that “Junk at the Red Onion” would be the new name of the Cooper Avenue Mall establishment. One day we will look back at what the Junk Empire, (as aptly named as any restaurant group in history) hath wrought upon our dining scene. After three years of promises and litigation it would appear that the legacy of Junk was empty spaces and broken dreams. Good riddance and let’s move on.
But now, with new ownership and a landlord who hopefully recognizes that they are mere stewards of a historic building, the Red Onion will rise again. Just walking into the tin-roofed bar and feeling the summer sun fill the windows as you sip on a cold draft beer is a pleasure we can all look forward to.
Can’t wait till the middle of May. See you there.
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