Business As Usual: Born on the Bayou |

Business As Usual: Born on the Bayou

Compiled by Jill Beathard
Chris Menard, left, and Jason Nielson shortly after opening Mountain Bayou in 2013. The Snowmass Center restaurant serves Cajun-style cuisine and barbecue.
Snowmass Sun file |

Mountain Bayou

Located in the Snowmass Center next to Sundance

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Editor’s Note: Business as Usual is a series highlighting local businesses in Snowmass Village. It is published weekly in the Snowmass Sun.

Once the home of longtime local staple the Village Tavern, Mountain Bayou was born from a partnership between chef Chris Menard and proprietor Jason Nielson in 2013. One of just a couple of Snowmass restaurants that are open all year long, Mountain Bayou might have a totally different menu, but it has quickly become a favorite for residents and visitors alike.

Snowmass Sun: How did your business start?

Chris Menard: In May of 2013, I was approached by the Snowmass Rodeo Council about bidding on the Snowmass Rodeo BBQ and I would have needed an FDA-approved kitchen to work out of so I approached Jason Nielson, who was running the Village Tavern at the time, with a business opportunity and we’ve been partners ever since. We officially became 50/50 partners on June 1, 2013. We started the Mountain Bayou that same day.

Snowmass Sun: What services or goods do you sell?

Chris Menard: We specialize in barbecue and Cajun cuisine.

Snowmass Sun: What makes your business unique?

Chris Menard: What makes us unique is that we are the only Cajun restaurant in the valley. I say that because we all know that New Orleans isn’t Cajun, but Creole. Our chef is from the heart of Cajun Country. Literally “Born on the Bayou,” not the big city.

Snowmass Sun: Who is your primary clientele?

Chris Menard: Our primary clientele are the Snowmass locals. We do have a good influx of tourist and second-home owners during our peak season, but I would have to say the locals are our bread and butter.

Snowmass Sun: What is the best thing about running a business in Snowmass?

Chris Menard: The best thing about running a business in Snowmass would be the incredible support system among all the restaurants in the village. Everyone is willing to help each other out in a pinch.