Tapas, upscale cuisine now on the menu
June 1, 2017
Two new restaurants recently opened in Grand County, adding to the already lengthy list of dining options. What sets these two apart, however, is the unique atmosphere and menu choices uncommon in the area.
Dean Public House offers HISTORIC ATMOSPHERE
Stepping through the door of the newly opened Dean Public House is like stepping back into a piece of Hot Sulphur Springs history. The restaurant is part of the Stagecoach Country Inn, a former hotel that has graced the corner of Aspen and Nevava streets for over 100 years.
The property was purchased by Tim and Connie Harvey last July, and they quickly went to work reinvigorating the building and starting a restaurant, which opened last week. Retaining the old western feel of the property was a priority.
The Inn originally belonged to Lt. Thomas Dean, who served with the Union Army during the Civil War, was captured by the Confederate Army and spent two years as a prisoner of war. It was after Dean that the restaurant was named.
"We're trying to recover the time period that it was built in," said Tim Harvey, who owns the property with his wife. "That's why we went with the Public House as the name. Going back to Dean who originally was the first proprietor."
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The Dean Public House is a tapas restaurant with a menu featuring wild game, seafood, vegetarian and vegan items. Tapas, traditionally taking the form of small plates, are served "family style." The public house also makes its own ginger beer, Italian sodas, root beer and will is scheduled to have a liquor license by the end of June.
General Manager Jon Harvey, son of Tim and Connie, said that the menu will rotate often to avoid stagnation.
"We're trying to keep it fresh, keep it rotating," he said. "I've been in the business for so long that I feel like if you get stagnant and you are doing the same menu it becomes like machine work to you."
Jon Harvey brings a great deal of experience to the operation.
He began working in restaurants when he was 16 years old. His first gig was at The Old Spaghetti Factory. He also attended Johnson and Wales University in Denver, known best for its culinary programs, from 2001 to 2003 before moving on to work at more upscale dining venues in Vail.
Along the way, Jon Harvey worked with Chad Calloway, an Oregon native, who is now the head chef at the Dean Public House. Calloway creates the menu with some help from Harvey.
"The best part is that I got stagnant in my last job, and it was just the same thing every day, like a robot," said Calloway. "Now I'm doing it all; my hands are in everything. I'm learning how to do the baking; I'm learning how to do everything. That's the most exciting part."
The Dean Public House also maintains a food truck, run by Steven Harvey, another son of Tim and Connie, and Jon's brother. The food truck, which opened this week, is parked on Maple street behind the courthouse in Hot Sulphur Springs. It primarily serves the lunch crowds and has an emphasis on healthier options.
"When we ask around about what people want, they usually say that they'd like healthier food available to them up here, because a lot of it is burgers," Steven Harvey said. "So we're doing a smoked trout salad, quinoa and stuff like that. We're trying to keep it lighter."
The catering service run by Steven Harvey will also be located at the Fraser Rodeo every Sunday for the next seven weeks, beginning on July 1.
Dean Public House is currently open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m Thursday through Saturday. The food truck runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday.
Tim Harvey insisted that the times are flexible depending on demand.
"Whatever the demand is what we're looking for. We don't really want to compete strongly with other restaurants around here," Tim offered. "So we're trying to offer something a little bit different. But if the demand races than we can make changes."
Grand Old West opens in Kremmling
The Grand Old West celebrated a quiet opening last week in Kremmling, inviting guests in for the first time to experience the restaurant's upscale American cuisine and rustic, western themes.
The Grand Old West, located on Park Avenue, is the realization of a shared dream between owners and Kremmling natives, Shawn and Mike Wheatley.
"We've been thinking about doing this for years, and this place came up for the right price," Mike Wheatley said. "So we jumped on it."
Shawn Wheatley has worked in the food service industry for much of her life. She used to cut meat, prepare wild game and served as the director of food service for West Grand School District for two years. Mike's background is in the mining industry, and he used to own a small towing company in town.
Both credited their success to Mike's mother and aunt, Irene Wheatley and Rosie O'Hotto, respectively, who taught them both how to cook.
"I didn't learn as much, she learned most of it, said Mike with a grin. "I'm still learning from my mom."
The restaurant offers an array of American classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner including biscuits and gravy, steak, pork chops and burgers featuring fresh, never frozen, high choice ground beef, according to the owners.
The name of the restaurant is a nod to the former restaurant standing in its place, also called The Grand Old West, which the Wheatley's remember from when they were young.
"It was The Grand Old West years ago in the 70s," said Shawn. "It started as the West Cafe, then it was the Grand Old West. So we just went back in time."
The restaurant is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday, and closed Wednesdays for cleaning.