GYPSUM — The Creek Side Bar & Grill at the Gypsum Creek Golf Course is breaking from tradition, and that’s a good thing.
At least three previous restaurants struggled for business there since the clubhouse — originally known as Cotton Ranch — was built in 1997.
The property was foreclosed upon several years ago and the town bought it in 2010. Creek Side is the third restaurant there since then and the previous two restaurants struggled to last more than one or two years.
Though it only opened last Easter, The Creek Side Grill very much appears to be a different story.
“This is a 360-degree difference from the last restaurant,” said manager Kimberly Forsberg, who also worked for the previous owners. “The chef is outstanding. Having a menu with more variety seems to be a big key.”
Owner Scott Berry agreed that offering a diverse menu is important. He said the menu will change at least four times a year.
“The town has given us a deal that enables us to buy top quality food like you would find upvalley and serve it at Gypsum prices,” he said.
Location has been part of the challenge in the past. There are almost no signs to direct people to the restaurant that is in the discreet clubhouse, which is off the main road. That doesn’t seem to be too big of a problem now, though.
The Creek Side was busy with diners on a recent Thursday night.
“People from Glenwood Springs, Avon and Edwards are coming here,” Berry said. “They say we have the best prime rib, which has been our Friday night special.”
Berry said the restaurant has specials every day.
“The lunch special is usually around $8 and dinner is around $12,” he said. “And the vast majority of our food is made fresh to order.”
Forsberg said most of the business hasn’t been from golfers.
“It’s been people who come here specifically to eat,” she said.
Berry pointed out that his executive chef, Ken Hansen, has about 25 years of experience working upvalley for such restaurants as The Chop House.
“I think maybe the biggest difference is that the owners out there have a true restaurant background,” said Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll. “That is what they do. They have a really good cook on-board, and the people I talk to really like the food and the pricing.”
Berry said for the first time, the clubhouse restaurant is planning to stay open through the winter.
“It’s hard to say what wintertime business will be like,” he said. “We’ll offer some different food — some heavier food — to go with the season.”
In the meantime, the town is working with the restaurant to remodel the lower level of the clubhouse to accommodate banquets without affecting business at The Creek Side.
“The basement will be able to hold 180 people and we won’t have to close for separate events,” Berry said.