Kirby Cosmo’s in Minturn celebrates anniversary |

Kirby Cosmo’s in Minturn celebrates anniversary

NWS Kirby Cosmo's DT 12-30-11

MINTURN, Colorado – Mark Tamberino was looking for a business opportunity in 2006 when he spotted a classified ad in the Vail Daily. Five years later, that opportunity has become something of a Minturn institution.

Kirby Cosmo’s BBQ Bar is Tamberino’s evolution of JB’s Barbecue, which he bought a bit more than five years ago. After leasing, then renovating and all of the building next door to FirstBank in Minturn, Tamberino and his wife, Emily, opened the new restaurant the last day of 2006.

Tamberino had spent much of his adult life in the restaurant business, and, as the son of a butcher, he knows how to properly disassemble an edible animal, but why pick barbecue?

“Because that’s what it was, and the food was good,” Tamberino said.

Emily added that rather than start a place from scratch, she and Mark were looking for an existing business they could put their own stamp on.

They’ve done just that.

Except for the kitchen, the Minturn restaurant was done pretty much from the ground up to Tamberino’s specifications to create a rustic-looking place where someone can enjoy smoked meat and an adult beverage or two.

Folks in Minturn have responded. Regulars have their “mug club” mugs hanging above the bar, and most of those mugs are filled several times in any given week.

“There’s something about barbecue,” Emily said. “People can be in here three or four nights a week.”

It also helps that the restaurant is closer to the more residential part of town, so it’s a quick walk for a lot of people. And, while pizza and salads are on the menu, too, the original barbecue recipes are still going strong.

“JB has really been a mentor to me,” Tamberino said. “He still comes by, and we put him to work once in a while.”

That work includes helping with the fine points of smoking – all of which is done using peach wood from Palisade.

Like everyone else who’s still in business these days, the Tamberinos have had to make some adjustments over the years. Most nights, there are just a couple of people running the restaurants, one in the kitchen and one at the bar. The restaurants also have specials on different days, from 25-cent wings to kids eat free nights.

The local support has brought in out-of-towners, too, mostly the ones who ask, “where do the locals like to eat?”

Still, most nights are for the regulars.

“I had a friend come in with me the other night, and he asked, ‘Do you know everyone in here?'” Tamberino said. “I looked around and there were three people I didn’t recognize.”

But why name the place after the family dog?

“I wanted this to be a place where people want to be treated like family, and Kirby’s a great family dog,” Tamberino said. “Kirby’s 10 now, and the restaurant is five – we’re all going strong.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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