Route 6 has a new home
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado – After a bit of swearing, Ollie Holdstock took the latest hiccup in his moving plan in stride: “I’m going skiing,” he said.
Holdstock has moved the Route 6 Cafe from its old location at the east end of Eagle-Vail to a new home in the old Paddy’s location. The work was done quickly and on a tight budget. He also didn’t want the business to be closed more than a few days, since every penny counts right now.
But renovating one space while moving out of another is bound to have a few foul-ups. The latest came late last week when local fire officials told Holdstock he’d have to close until a new fire-alarm system could be installed. Hence the swearing.
But Holdstock plans to open up full-bore about Wednesday. Until then, he’s going to get reacquainted with his wife and get in at least a few runs on what snow is left this season.
Holdstock wasn’t planning to move. But just after the first of the year, he and his landlord at the old restaurant couldn’t agree on a new lease. So Holdstock started looking for a new place. The space that held Paddy’s was available, a lease was quickly negotiated, and the move was on.
“A bad situation really turned out great,” he said.
But to get the job done, Holdstock needed some help from his friends. Not wanting to deal with a bank, he borrowed what he could, where he could, and tapped his own resources as deeply as he dared. He quickly hammered out a deal with some contractor friends that included a lot of literal “work for food” in the deal.
And friends helped out, as did his staff.
Longtime friend Mark Bryant was available and has spent about 30 days straight on the project, doing whatever needed to be done.
“We had skilled tradesmen in here, but we needed people to scrape grease and sweep,” Bryant said.
The result is still a work in progress, but it’s coming right along. Taking out the old room between the bar and dining room has opened up the space. New paint and flooring has helped perk up the place, too. The decorations from the old restaurant – every one a gift – are starting to go up, but there will be room for more.
“I’ve already gotten a couple of motorcycle-type gifts,” Holdstock said after rescuing the cover on this own bike from Friday’s blustery winds.
The east side of the bar now has a comfy lounge and a stage ready for either a house band or informal jamming – which is what the place had the other night.
Full dinners won’t come for a while – perhaps the end of this month – but those who come after dark will be able to get sandwiches and such until then.
It’s all part of what Holdstock hopes becomes a combination of Eagle-Vail’s favorite breakfast place and neighborhood bar. And he believes he’s just the caretaker of a place people believe is their own.
“We’ve had people in here since we’ve started this,” Holdstock said.
Bryant said he’s optimistic the new Route 6 will become a place the valley will embrace.
“All this has really given Ollie a chance to hit a reset button,” Bryant said. “It’s a fresh start but doing the same thing.”
Holdstock mostly hopes being in a bigger place with expanded hours ultimately allows him the chance to hire a manager, so he can indulge his passion for skiing, the thing that’s kept him in the Vail Valley all these years.
But first, the fire-alarm system needs to be finished, along with the rest of the bugs and hurdles that have cropped up over the past couple of months.
Holdstock listens to National Public Radio on his way to work in the mornings and hears stories of people whose lives have been shattered by misfortune. That helps him with his perspective, he said.
“When you hear that … so I’m late on a bill,” he said. “We’re going to be fine.”
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.