Parshall Inn owner really is living the dream
Special to the Sky-Hi News
The Grand County staple, the Parshall Inn, is once again up and running.
While the owner, Marco DeAndrea, is new, the mission of the PI is the same as it has been for more than 60 years: providing patrons with classic, mouth-watering food and the drink of your choice in a laid back, friendly atmosphere.
DeAndrea’s connection to Grand County goes back almost as many years as the PI. His great uncle purchased a ranch in the area in the 1950s and the family has made many a trip to Middle Park ever since, using the ranch as an all-seasons retreat.
When DeAndrea first stepped into the PI as a youngster in 1979, the small-town timelessness of the bar and the breathtaking location left a lasting impression on him. But life, as often happens, would have many twists and turns in store for DeAndrea. Spending his youth between Denver and San Francisco, he would eventually leave the United States in his late 20s to spend over a decade teaching English in Japan.
During the years he always kept Grand County and his fondness for the PI in the back of his mind.
Coincidentally, about the time DeAndrea realized he was ready to move back to the U.S., he learned the PI was on the market. With DeAndrea working out the details from a distance, the deal fell into place, and both the PI and its new owner, made their debut the end of October.
Since its grand re-opening the PI has been living up to its goal to provide top notch food and drink. Eddie Allen, one of the PI’s three alternating chefs, attests to the extra mile taken to provide quality food.
“The PI has the best little hand-pattied, not frozen, hamburgers in the county,” Allen said. “We also have homemade potato chips, and homemade french fries will be coming soon. Our fish and chicken are hand breaded … Plus we have a special each night of the week.”
PI frequenter Ralph Lange echoes Allen’s sentiments, succinctly summing up his opinion regarding the business. “New look, new feel — I’m so happy!”
With the holidays upon us, DeAndrea has big plans: ringing in 2015 with wild decorations and a New Year’s Eve prime rib special that includes a bottle of champagne. The chefs will be greeting the New Year with — what else — food. A breakfast buffet begins at midnight for all those putting off their New Year’s resolution to lose 10 pounds.
The PI’s party will be a chance for people to spend New Year’s Eve celebrating in a safe and fun environment, greeting the new amidst all the charm of the old.
But the holiday festivities are just the beginning of DeAndrea’s vision for the bar; this summer he’s hoping to have it live up to its slogan, “Parshall Inn: food, games, bar,” not only hosting shuffleboard and horseshoe tournaments, but card games, and pinball and pool contests.
The decision to return to the tiny bar with big personality is one DeAndrea couldn’t be more thrilled about. His passion for the place, and for people, is obvious.
“I just like talking to people … and hearing their stories. … It’s my favorite thing,” he said.
But people are not his only passion. As resident bartender DeAndrea also acknowledged his appreciation for the brewing arts, adding, “I’m impressed with the craftsmanship of alcohol, and I want to make sure people have a nice drink.”
In the PI, the embodiment of DeAndrea’s interests, it appears he’s found his niche. And with DeAndrea at the helm, the PI has the potential to be a place people continue to gather, making memories over hot homemade food and cold brew, with friends and loved ones for decades to come.
“This place has just been around forever,” DeAndrea said. “It’s a part of the landscape. It’s meant to be here. … It’s a part of the mountainside.”
The PI can be reached at 970-725-3476.
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