Casual country club atmosphere in new Gypsum restaurant | VailDaily.com
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Casual country club atmosphere in new Gypsum restaurant

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
HL CRC 01 TS 05-10-08
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Hardwood floors, chairs, tablecloths and the menu aren’t the only new additions to the Cotton Ranch golf course’s dining establishment. It also has a new name: Cotton Ranch Club Restaurant. That makes sense; it’s simple and whoever hears the name can connect it immediately to the golf course and the town of Gypsum. And simplicity is what Catrina College, the restaurant’s general manager, hopes will draw a crowd to the establishment.

“It’s baby steps,” College said.

That’s because the new restaurant (formerly called Primrose) also has new owners, longtime local Darryl Chavez and Bratzo Horruitiner, who moved to America from Peru six years ago. The challenges they face with their new endeavor are two-fold ” they must keep country-club clientele pleased while making non-members feel welcome to come and dine at the golf course eatery.

“We’re just trying to strike a balance … We’re trying to bring in high-end foods but bring in reasonable prices,” Chavez said.

Part of the reason Chavez was interested in taking over the restaurant was the challenge. Where other’s saw past failures, Chavez saw a chance to jump in and make a difference. He installed a patio bar on the outside deck so patrons can sip drinks while rooting for their buddies on the 18th hole.

The menu is another focus for Chavez and Horruitiner. They have broadened it to include a wide variety of foods ranging from grilled seabass topped with a tomato artichoke compote ($15.50) to a meatball sub with a side of fries ($8.50). There’s also a section of Spanish-style tapas offerings like bacon and ricotta stuffed mushrooms with pesto ($7.50) and parmesan shrimp served with whiskey mustard and bread ($10.50).

They’ve also tried to keep their prices on par with most restaurants in the valley.

“We’re just trying to keep it kind of casual, not too up-scale, not too up-tight,” Chavez said.

Finding that balance between country-club atmosphere and an every-man feel isn’t always easy, but so far Chavez said things are going well and business is steadily increasing. Little things like offering a happy hour, opening for breakfast and catering events are just a few tweaks the new owners hope will bring in business.

“I want to make this place better than ever before,” Horruitiner said. He aims to see his new establishment foster a loose, party-like atmosphere where customers can hang out and enjoy good food without the stigma of elitism sometimes attached to country clubs.

“We are a friendly restaurant with a new variety of foods,” Horruitiner said.

The pair of owners have their hands in every aspect of their business, too. They both cook, clean, wait tables, bartend, manage employees and constantly take feedback from their customers ” and they wouldn’t have it any other way. This hands-on approach is the only way for them to be sure they are succeeding.

“We’re hoping we get this place busy all the time,” Horruitner said.

Club member and Gypsum resident Mike McGinty said he’s definitely noticed the changes taking place at Cotton Ranch Club Restaurant and so far, he’s pleased with the new direction.

“I think they’re doing a good job and it’s a definite improvement overall from a service perspective over the last two restaurant tours that were in there,” said McGinty, who frequents Cotton Ranch Club Restaurant at least three or four times a month.

And then there are some things that don’t need any tweaking. The scenery from the restaurant for instance. The large restaurant windows look out on the lush green grass course and the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Is there a better way to end a day on the golf course than with a three-course meal and a view?

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.


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