Cyndi Palmer: Change is always on the menu
It is said that almost 99 percent of new restaurants die within in their first year because it’s such a demanding business. Coming across a winter menu guide from 1982-’83, it isn’t surprising to see how much restaurants in Grand County have changed in the past 25 years. The county has been no merciful host to our culinary caterers who aren’t up for a challenge, and we don’t hear much about many of the eateries listed in that old guide anymore. In fact, more than half of the restaurants in the guide aren’t around. Others were rooted and uprooted – changing addresses, owners, chefs and everything else from management to the menus. To say the least, those places that are still around have different directions than they did in the early ’80s.Twenty -five years ago, Shep’s in Old Town Winter Park (which used to be Adolph’s and is now Shipwreck Landing) served up an open-face Deno’s steak sandwich, with fries, coleslaw and onion rings for $6.95. The Swiss House and Coachman Tavern, also in Winter Park where Deno’s Mountain Bistro is today, didn’t publish their prices, only a plush list of French-style delectables like escargot, lobster, crab, sole, steaks and country home items like barbecue. Fred & Sophie’s once graced the clock tower in Winter Park, offering honey-based ice creams and an English muffin bun option for those who ordered the Hamburger in Paradise ($3).There was the High Country Inn in Winter Park, which became the Raintree and is now Moffat Station, serving up homemade suds and food across from the Winter Park Ski Area on U.S. Highway 40; The Attic Restaurant (which moved into a railroad caboose when Cooper Creek Square’s underground parking structure was built) with frog legs and clams casino on the menu; Portobello Road and its massive menu that included quail and oysters Rockefeller at the Inn at SilverCreek (which was also later the Sunlight Cafe and Paul’s Creekside Grill), L.C. Benedict Restaurant and Tavern across from the Sitzmark (where Lost Boys Burgers is now), Ben’s Aspen Leaf in the Granby Mini Mall (which now houses the Granby Medical Clinic), Grande Ole Inn in Granby (which is now Maverick’s), Wild Rose in Kremmling (which is now the Faith Tabernacle Church), Chalet in Winter Park (where Randi’s is now), and Dougal’s Mountain Inn (whose owners also served for the Grand Lake Lodge for some time), which is now the Bears Den and Paws Pub in Grand Lake.Berties, which is now Remington’s in Granby and at one time had a chain restaurant in Winter Park, used to have dancing and live bands every week. Owner Tim Luksa, who has been with the business for almost eight years now, released a new menu at the end of last year with most of the traditional favorites and a new look.One of the menu’s few new highlights is a homemade chocolate mousse torte made by Luksa, who modestly admits baking is probably his least of culinary experience. He found the dish to be absolutely delicious and said that he has to keep himself away from it. I, too, found it to be an impressive dessert, and recommend people save room to try it out (or get some to go). For only $4.95, the dessert is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. When asked if there are any other changes in Remington’s future, Luksa said he’s always wanted to evolve as a business. He said possible changes include more ovens to accommodate large parties, and, of course, more homemade desserts.The Rapids, which is still in Grand Lake, offered breakfast from $1.95, and served it all day. Although they only serve dinner now, which is a fine dining experience at a more upscale cost, the beauty of the river right next to the restaurant remains a constant scenic accompaniment for diners.Gasthaus Eichler has moved from down by the cinema and now has two restaurants; and the Longbranch and Columbine Cafe in Granby have also withstood the tempest of time.New businesses I’ve been urged to check out include the Italian restaurant and its chef out at the base of SolVista Basin’s ski area, and the Freestyle Sports Bar in the basement of Lost Boys Burgers, which is set to open soon, according to their answering machine. (What happened to the 1970s disco-themed restaurant I heard was going in Lost Boys’ basement just a couple months ago?).As an avid foodie, it’s great to see not only restaurants who have made their mark here successfully, but new restaurants open in Grand County. I wish them all the best in their endeavors. Unfortunately, they’re going to need it.Food for thought: It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin.
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