Vail Valley Bizwatch: Dusty Boot catering |

Vail Valley Bizwatch: Dusty Boot catering

Daily Staff ReportNewsroom@vaildaily.comVail, CO, Colorado

Business name: Dusty Boot Banquets & Catering.Locations: We have locations in Beaver Creek and Eagle for banquets – our casual catering business serves all of Eagle County. Date opened: The Beaver Creek Boot opened 12 years ago – our Eagle location opened in October, 2008.Owner: John Shipp.Contact info: Call group sales manager Debbie Taagen at 970-328-7005 or e-mail goods or services do you provide? We provide more than 10 different combinations of private dining space in two locations – Beaver Creek and Eagle – for group events such as holiday parties. Both Beaver Creek and Eagle Ranch also offer a business meeting space (this is new in Beaver Creek this December) complete with projector and blackout capabilities. If you can’t come to us, we can now come to you. This year we are introducing our casual catering service. With menus ranging from $9 to $14 per person, if you have a space, you can afford a holiday party for your employees this year. These menus are available for pick-up, delivery or full-service catering. What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? The Dusty Boot restaurants offer consistent quality food in a family-friendly environment without breaking the bank. Our diverse menu allows for several return visits during the week, with plenty of choices to keep it interesting. Now, you can take the Boot home or to the office with our casual catering menu. What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? We, as a community, are going through tough economic times right now. That is why we are committed to making it affordable for our local businesses to show their appreciation for their hard-working employees by hosting a holiday party.Businesses have two choices, depending on their budget and style. They can come to one of our locations and use one of our many different combinations of private spaces. Or, we can go to them with our casual catering service. With this service, they can enjoy menus from $9 to $14 per person for pick-up, delivery or full-service catering. Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: (John Shipp) I got an early start in the food & beverage business as a dishwasher at age of 12. Soon after, I found myself bussing and waiting tables. While attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, I ran kitchens for fraternities and sororities. After graduating, I worked for six years in the health care sales industry, but didn’t care for it. I was glad to return to Colorado and join my brothers in establishing a new Italian restaurant in Denver called Bella Ristorante. From there, we took on several other projects before my first venture in the mountains, the Kickapoo Tavern in Keystone 15 years ago. Three years later, I joined a partnership with Vail Resorts in establishing the Dusty Boot in Beaver Creek, before taking full ownership. It was soon after when I decided to call the Vail Valley my home. As a board member for the Heuga Center’s Can Do Program, I take great pleasure supporting many local charities. Currently, I enjoy sharing the mountains with my wife and daughter and, in my free time, you can find me skiing, biking or fly fishing. What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened? We have had a long-time employee, Kevin Gray, who is a sports fanatic. One night, about three years ago, Kevin was bartending and it was almost closing time when some guys walked into the bar. They sat at the bar and ordered a beer and a shot and then asked Kevin if he was a Dallas Cowboys fan because his hat had a star on it (which is a Dusty Boot uniform hat). Kevin said, “Heck no, I’m a Bronco’s fan. Besides, I’m really pissed at Tony Romo after he dropped that snap and lost the game the other day.” They chatted about various subjects, mostly pertaining to football, when finally, one gentleman introduced himself as “Tony.” Kevin said, “Nice to meeting you Tony”. Then he said, “Romo.”

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