Changing of the guard: Trio of local restaurants shift management, ownership
Change is one way to really freshen up a restaurant. Here are a few eateries in the Vail Valley that are mixing things up a little.
Mango’s Mountain Grill
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Location: 166 Eagle Street, Red Cliff, 970-827-9109, mangosmountaingrill.com
Mango’s Mountain Grill in Red Cliff recently shifted its leadership. In the beginning of 2017, Jen Healey and Julie Bohrer started as a management team for owner Tim Parks.
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“Julie is the executive chef and a backcountry back-of-house ninja,” Healey said. “She has dreamed of running her own kitchen and is doing a hell of a job.”
Healey describes Bohrer’s menu as “creatively simple, from scratch, comforting and full of lots of flavors.”
Mango’s Famous Fish Taco is still on the menu, and check out Taco Thursday every week, when the restaurant offers three other tacos in addition to the fish taco — all for $4 each. Bohrer and her team also create other nightly food specials, such as Burger Night on Wednesdays.
For the summer, Bohrer plans to put together a new menu that offers some lighter, seasonal fare.
“I have been running the bar and front of house at Mango’s since the beginning of January and couldn’t be happier with the decision I made to do so,” Healey said. “Having lived in Red Cliff and worked at Mango’s part time for the last three years, I was emotionally attached to the history of Mango’s and a vision I had in my head of the direction Mango’s could go with the right people in place.”
Healey said since investing herself full time, she has been pleased with the positive feedback Mango’s has received about the changes she and Bohrer have made.
“I have dialed in a cocktail list for the bar,” Healey said. “We have our signature margarita and house bloody on our cocktail list, as well as some other solid cocktails featuring 10th Mountain Distillery’s spirits. We have 12 taps and carry a variety of local beer, domestics and craft brews from all over.”
One priority for the new team is to bring live music back into the space. They host an open-mic night every Tuesday from 7 to 10 p.m., and plan to use the rooftop bar to host events this summer.
If Red Cliff seems like too much of a trek for a night out, book the Mango’s shuttle (requires 72 hours notice), so you can have a safe ride there and back.
Mango’s will close for the offseason on Sunday, April 16, and will re-open for the summer season on Monday, May 8, at 11 a.m.
Vail Ale House
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily
Location: 2161 North Frontage Road, West Vail, 970-476-4314, vailalehouse.com
All the new things happening at the Vail Ale House are really behind the scenes, so customers may not notice too many changes at this popular local watering hole.
Rob Page is the managing partner of the new ownership group, which also includes Mike Sweeney and Jeremy Pagden.
“My background is in operations — food manufacturing, restaurant consulting, restaurant management and ownership,” Page said.
Sweeney and Pagden both have backgrounds in marketing and finance.
“We were looking for a business to purchase in Vail, and were longtime customers of the Ale House,” Page said. “We saw a great opportunity with it and developed a very good relationship with the previous owner.”
Page said the previous owner has multiple businesses in California and felt he could not give the Vail establishment enough support, management and guidance. Page, Sweeney and Pagden purchased the Vail Ale House in January.
“We think there are excellent opportunities to improve and grow with the live music part of the business and to participate in the community with various sports groups and other organizations to give them a location to conduct banquets and fundraising events,” Page said.
“Our goal is to become a location that is family friendly, a fantastic sports and live music location, and a place for any team to bring all of their players, coaches and parents.”
While the new ownership team does plan to use the venue’s large size to host events and support the community, Page said they believe the restaurant is already headed in the right direction, so a lot of change is not necessary.
The bar and restaurant still has all the TVs you need for game day and a well-rounded selection of 20 rotating craft beers.
“The locals here are our home team,” Page said, “and we will always give them a place to come, relax and enjoy.”
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Location: 1265 Berry Creek Road, Edwards, 970-477-5353, harvestvail.com
This past winter, chef Kelly Liken and her partner, Rick Colomitz, ended their management engagement at Harvest to explore new opportunities and partnerships for Kelly Liken Hospitality, according to a statement from Harvest Vail.
“After the successful opening of Harvest in June 2016 and a strong holiday season, the Sonnenalp Club is building upon what was created by Kelly and Rick, and the team has continued to maintain the quality of service and culinary experience that members and guests expect,” said Sarah John, an event director for Harvest Vail and the Sonnenalp Club. “Our dinner crowd is going strong, and we’ve hosted several very well-received special events.”
The Sonnenalp hired Robert Kraemer as food and beverage director to evolve the concept and lead the team.
“A leader in managing the culinary operations at country clubs with over a decade of experience, Bob is bringing a fresh perspective to the concept with a focus on both the public and members alike,” John said.
Chef Jarrod Morrah has been working at Harvest since it opened and will be running the show in the kitchen. Harvest plans to revise its menus to offer more variety.
“I am looking forward to working with chef Morrah and doing all that I can to take the food and beverage department to the next level with regard to service food quality, consistency and attention to detail,” Kraemer said.
One new item on the Harvest menu for spring is shrimp bruschetta with shrimp, Roma tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil served on crostini toast.
The planning process is currently under way at Harvest, with a goal to re-launch the concept mid-May.
“Thanks to the renovations in June of 2016, the beautiful bar and dining area will remain the same,” John said, “along with one of the best patios in the valley offering incredible views of Arrowhead Mountain.”
Harvest will continue to operate the Pantry to provide early-morning juices and smoothies, along with grab-and-go sandwiches and snacks. The team is also considering an all-day menu concept from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, starting this summer.