Coyote Cafe: Celebrating 25 years in Beaver Creek, Colorado
Beaver Creek CO, Colorado
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” The Coyote Cafe restaurant and bar has pulled off quite the balancing act since opening for business under the name Drinkwater Park 25 years ago.
It has remained a locals haunt ” known as the “unofficial office” for the Beaver Creek ski patrol ” and steadily grown as a respectable stop for visiting families. This season marks the 25th anniversary of The Coyote Cafe, which is quite an accomplishment in a valley that has seem lots of changes over the years.
Part of the reason locals dig the place so much is that the bartenders know what they drink and have it waiting for them by the time they get to the bar, according to Jeff Forbes, who took over ownership of the Coyote Cafe from his brother Kraig in 1988.
Out-of-towners like it because over the years general manager Buzz Busby has quietly upgraded the decor of the Coyote Cafe to give it a cleaner, more modern look without losing the quaint, historic charm it has become known for. There’s also more of an emphasis on family-friendly service, Busby said.
“One of our unofficial slogans, I guess, is ‘cold beer, warm hearts,'” Forbes said.
During the ski season hundreds of people pass by the establishment every day due to its prominent location at the base of Beaver Creek mountain, which helps keep the restaurant busy.
“I think probably the biggest change here is that we’ve become known as a restaurant with a bar where 10 years ago we were a bar that served food,” Busby said.
That may be the biggest change, but it’s not the only change. A full kitchen was installed a couple years ago, allowing for an expanded menu. And while the offerings are comprised mostly of Tex-Mex favorites like burritos and nachos, there are also items like the French dip and tuna panini to choose from.
Recently they began serving breakfast with a choice of six different platters or a breakfast burrito and Busby said there will be a special apres ski menu. A large projection screen is used to show ski movies throughout the week and a DJ booth was installed for parties. Busby has also started bringing in musicians the past few years.
“You have to be careful to not change too much too quickly,” Busby said.
Many long time patrons step into the place and ask him what has changed; while sensing something is different they’re unable to put their finger on it, Busby said.
‘It’s like home’
Whatever changes are made, Addy McCord doesn’t need convincing to visit the “Yote,” as it is affectionately called by locals. She’s been going there for the past 25 years ” the entire time its been open.
“You can not replicate the atmosphere that happens in Coyote Cafe ” its locals, its staff, its employees, its everything. It’s friendly; It’s like home,” McCord said.
“People say this is the ski patrol bar, I think it’s more like the all-mountain employee bar,” said Avon resident and Beaver Creek ski patroller Evan Winger.
During the winter months, it’s not uncommon to see liftees, snowmakers, ski patrollers and management enjoying a beer together after a long day of work on the mountain, Winger said.
“The Yote and the Beav, I guess go together hand in hand, to some degree,” Winger said.
Forbes and Busby both recalled a time when the standards were looser and told stories about the old days, when they didn’t ever worry about their image.
But times have changed, and the Coyote Cafe has kept up with the times without selling out. Both men have poured endless effort into making sure The Coyote stays successful, but they still give credit to their staff, and of course, their patrons.
“The same people are still coming in here from 10 or 15 (years ago) … It’s kind of a landmark,” Busby said.
High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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