Remodeled Avon Burger King now offers internet cafe in old playground space

The new interior of the Burger King on Monday, Dec. 4, in Avon. The restaurant underwent interior and exterior renovations.
Chris Dillmann | |

AVON — There’s a new place in town to get a quiet cup of coffee and a bit of internet time: Burger King.

The town’s only drive-through restaurant is nearly done with an extensive interior and exterior remodeling project. That project has turned the old playground area into a kind of internet cafe.

Store owner Bill Oldershaw said the playground had been closed for a few years — that’s the trend across the industry, given the difficulty of keeping the equipment clean. In its place now is a spot where people can get a little quiet time or hold a small meeting.

Oldershaw and his wife, Robin, have owned the Avon Burger King since it was built in the 1990s. The Avon store is part of a small group of stores the couple owns. Other locations are in Eagle, Silverthorne and Littleton, in the Denver area.

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Bill Oldershaw is a dentist by trade. His first practice in Colorado was in Glenwood Springs, from 1976 to 1987. After moving to Denver, and with some money to invest, the Oldershaws started buying franchise restaurants, starting in Silverthorne. At one point, the couple owned seven Burger Kings and a handful of Red Robin locations.

These days, the couple owns just the quartet of Burger Kings.

The Oldershaws built and owned the Avon location, along with the building next door that houses Starbucks. The Oldershaws sold those buildings a few years ago and now rents the restaurant building.

Upgrades are fairly common in the fast-food business, especially in the kitchens. But, Oldershaw said, the franchisers — that’s Burger King — will demand an extensive remodel.

The McDonald’s in Vail shut down for much of the fall of 2016 while its last renovation work was done.

In Avon, the Oldershaws kept the Burger King running through the entire project. The dining room had to shut down a few times, but the drive-through window remained open.

“When (crews) do anything dusty, we have to plastic-wall off the kitchen,” Oldershaw said. “But we kept the inside open probably 98 percent of the time.”

Keeping the kitchen open is more than a matter of keeping dust out of the fries.

Oldershaw was quick to point out that the Avon location consistently lands at the top of Burger King’s measures of speed of service and cleanliness among Colorado stores.

“As a dentist, cleanliness is important to me,” he said.

Besides inside improvements and the new internet cafe — which required additional power outlets and boosted Wi-Fi signal — the restaurant’s outside has also been spruced up a bit. There’s new stucco on the exterior walls, as well as new sidewalks and signs.

The idea, of course, is to keep the store as inviting as possible for both customers and employees.

Oldershaw said one of the store managers has worked at the restaurant for 19 years — that’s how long the place has been open. It’s also on the high side of average for the Oldershaws’ store managers, who average about 16 years in their jobs.

“We’re really proud of that,” Oldershaw said. “Any place in the mountains, if you can find (good) people, you want to keep them.”

There’s also a group of steady customers at the Avon store. Oldershaw said there’s a group of daily visitors, and they and the employees almost all know one another.

The Avon renovation was more than just a corporate mandate, though.

“Avon’s our favorite store,” Oldershaw said. “People look up and see Beaver Creek from the dining room.”

That’s a pretty nice view.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, or @scottnmiller.

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