Solstice Bistro opens in Fraser
December 30, 2016
Fraser's plans to develop a thriving community and dining scene made progress last week with the opening of a new restaurant.
Chris French just opened the doors to Solstice Winter Bistro in Fraser. She also owns Wild Horse Catering. It was not French's dream to open a restaurant, but everything fell into place with the convenient location. Solstice is located in the Fraser Marketplace next to Safeway.
Solstice is open seasonally from December-April. Since the catering company is so busy in the summer time must be focused there French said. Wild Horse usually employs around 45-50 staff members in the summer and French said they usually hire about 30 people each year, so trying to run a restaurant on top of all that would be a challenge.
The employees of Solstice work both in the restaurant and for the catering service when there is work in the winter. French is able to utilize employees for both the restaurant and catering, and she already knew most of the employees of Solstice. Solstice employs about 12 people with four full-time in the kitchen.
French moved to Grand County 16 years ago and did not have a family background in the food industry—it was just something she discovered she loved to do.
She wants Solstice to remain small. The space is small and quaint, but with plenty of seating. Solstice is a way for French to showcase what her chefs are capable of and let them be creative.
As far as the menu goes, it changes. French said she is still testing out how often the menu will change, but if she notices that one menu item is a favorite she may keep it on there full time. Most of the items on the menu are small plates, but there are a few larger plates as well. All menu items are made from scratch. Solstice cures their own bacon and makes their own yogurt and sauerkraut creations. They also made cranberry vodka that has been a hit amongst guests.
The kitchen was all ready to go for the new restaurant, as Pearl Dragon was located there previously.
French said the open space created a "blank canvas" for her to start her restaurant. French's chefs have been with her for a long time, and she lets them dictate the rotating menu.
French said that Fraser is her "business home." She started Wild Horse there and she was happy to stay in Fraser to open Solstice. She said she has had many people who live in the MeadowRidge area that like the location because it is on the way home, or perhaps because Fraser is less busy than Winter Park during holiday seasons.
Solstice makes infused liquors and specialty cocktails. They also have a beer and wine selection. French said after opening only a week ago, she has already seen repeat customers, and hopes to see more as others discover Solstice.