Northside restaurant group expands into two new locations in Edwards
A new rotisserie concept called Ed'z and a third Benderz Burgers location will open in Edwards by January
The Northside restaurant family is expanding into Edwards this month with its fifth of six locations, including a new rotisserie restaurant concept called Ed’z opening this week and a third Benderz Burgers location opening in the new year.
Jim Pavelich, who leads the restaurant group with partners Noah Bender and Steve Shelman, said that the steady expansion has been driven by great locations becoming available in the valley. Pavelich, a co-founder of the Vail Daily, said it is the connections that he and his partners have established with the community over the years that enable them to continue finding room to grow.
“That’s the advantage of being here for a long time — you get to know a lot of people so you’re just able to take advantage of the opportunities,” Pavelich said. “There is no master plan. We keep our eyes open.”
The new Benderz Burgers will be filling the shoes of the former Larkburger location in the Edwards Village Center, and Ed’z will occupy the space next to Alpine Bank, most recently vacated by Chinese restaurant The East. It will be the group’s first time expanding downvalley, and Pavelich, who lives in Edwards, said that he sees it as a natural place to grow.
“I don’t think of Avon to Edwards as a move downvalley, just kind of a move over,” Pavelich said. “Edwards is loaded with great restaurants, and we’ll just be one more option for people.”
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Ed’z Restaurant, which is expected to open its doors within the next 10 days, is built around a concept that Pavelich describes as “rotisserie comfort food.” The menu will center around warm, filling dishes, with a variety of vegetables and meats like chicken, lamb, duck and pork available off the spit. Other available comfort foods, harkening back to the experience of fireside home-cooked meals, include ribs, meatloaf, sandwiches and salads, as well as an extensive kids menu. Meals range from around $20-$30.
”We don’t have any of our venues designed so that you spend a lot of money on dinner and go home and open the refrigerator. You’re always full when you get home,” Pavelich said.
Ed’z is the second time that the restaurant group has pursued a new concept outside of the well-known Benderz and Northside brands in Avon and Vail. It follows the 2021 opening of Fattoria in Avon, a rustic Italian concept made from ingredients plucked straight from an on-site greenhouse.
Just as there is no master plan for where the group is going to expand, Pavelich also said that the concepts for each space come instinctually to the group as they spread.
“Every one, after negotiating a lease, then we started to think about what we were going to serve,” Pavelich said. “Each happened one at a time for different reasons. Fattoria could have been Chinese or Indian, but we ended up with Italian, and that was a great idea. And then rotisserie comfort food just sounds like a perfect concept for a very energetic, outdoorsy community.”
The third Benderz Burgers location will have a simple menu of burgers, fries and hand-scooped milkshakes, as well as an ahi tuna sandwich and crispy chicken sandwich. A kitchen fire at the Larkburger led it to shutter in 2019, leaving a burger-shaped hole in the Edwards community that the Benderz signature 6-ounce Angus burger hopes to fill. The location was also granted a liquor license from the county in October and will serve beer and soda.
“We focus on great food and value,” Pavelich said. “We’re not the cheapest place, except for at happy hour, but we really bring quality, and we want people to enjoy their visit to our restaurants.”
The group’s locations have enjoyed a successful run in a difficult time for restaurants up and down the valley. Staffing shortages have plagued many establishments since the pandemic, and while it hasn’t been easy, Pavelich said that his staff’s dedication to the business has allowed them to not only stay alive, but thrive.
“It’s a constant challenge, but we are fortunate to have great people working for us, and at every level, they attract their friends and acquaintances,” Pavelich said.