Vail Valley: Main St. Grill celebrates its 10th anniversary
Vail, CO, Colorado
EDWARDS – Anyone can say they have a neighborhood bar and restaurant, but ultimately, the neighbors have to agree, by coming in year after year.
Chris and Nikki Heiden have earned their place in the Vail Valley over the years, and are celebrating their 10th anniversary. The Heidens recently took some time to answer a few questions about their success over the years, and how they plan to celebrate their 10th birthday with the community that’s embraced them.
Q: Back in 1999, Edwards was just starting to become the community center it is today. What prompted you two to open a restaurant in Riverwalk instead of another location in the valley?
A: Starting in 1998, we looked at various restaurant sites from Breckenridge to Glenwood Springs. We decide we wanted to stay in the valley, and focused on two spots, Avon and Edwards. Those two spots had more affordable rent, and were less seasonal than Vail and Beaver Creek.
The spot in Edwards really caught our attention for a few reasons. We loved being close to the movie theater. We loved the two decks, especially the views overlooking the Eagle River from the back. We also liked the way the entire Riverwalk area was so accessible to foot traffic. We liked that people could shop, dine and go to a movie all in one location.
Q: You’re in a tough business – restaurants can come and go in a hurry. Through good times and bad, how have the two of you kept your place thriving?
A: We’ve learned that the restaurant business is an evolving business. You always have to adapt to what your customers want.
We started as a Cajun restaurant on Feb. 1, 2000. We changed our name and logo in May 2001. We felt too limited in our market due to the notion so many people have that all Cajun food is spicy. We kept the classic Cajun foods (gumbo, jambalaya, Creoles and etouffe) but started focusing on mainstream items like our ribs, wings, burgers, steaks and seafood.
No matter what food you’re serving, freshness matters! All of our soups, salad dressings and sauces are made from scratch, and our menu items are all priced under $20.
Over the years, we’ve also added or deleted music nights as needed. We’ve had music up to five night a week – right now we have it three nights. We have also created new specials to encourage business. We recently added a five-star chef Mike Irwin to increase the quality of our food and bring new flair and ideas to our menu.
Q: Edwards has grown and changed significantly since Main St. Grill opened. Looking back, what’s surprised you the most about the community?
A: The energy! It seems the Edwards community always wants to reach out. The excitement at Christmas is amazing. The summer farmer’s market is a wonderful place to shop.
Mostly, there are always people around. They keep the traffic flowing down here, whether it’s for a fund-raiser or sports at the new Miller Ranch fields and complex. But we still miss the events that have moved or disappeared from downtown Edwards such as Cinco de Mayo, the Thunderbird Arts Festival and Harvestfest
Q: The whole country is going through some tough times now. What has you excited about the next couple of years?
We’re eager to see a turnaround with more people working again and able to be optimistic about their future.
We hope the Riverwalk becomes full of people seven days a week in the next two years so all the businesses can thrive and work together to promote this area.
Q: A 10-year anniversary is pretty special. What are you doing to celebrate?
On Feb. 1, we started a promotion with 10 nights of $10 entrees. We have great menu items that are all under $20 normally and want everyone to be able to sample them, even in this weak economy. Come see us, and thanks for a great 10 years!
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