Vail Valley Outback closes its doors |

Vail Valley Outback closes its doors

Scott N. Miller/Vail ValleyDerek Martinez, left, and Jeannette Baker worked at Avon's Outback Steakhouse until the restaurant closed its doors Wednesday morning. Employees willing to relocate can get jobs at other restaurants in the chain, but Baker and Martinez say they want to stick around the valley.

AVON – Derek Martinez wondered why managers at the Outback Steakhouse called a mandatory, all-employees meeting for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

“It was like ‘If you don’t show up you’re fired,’ so we showed up and got fired,” Martinez said.

The Outback closed for good Wednesday, leaving about 40 employees out of work with two weeks’ pay in their pockets. Some, like Martinez and former co-worker Jeannette Baker, are going to try their luck at finding jobs in the valley.

Baker grew up in the valley, and said she’ll try to catch on at Moe’s BBQ or another valley restaurant. Martinez isn’t sure what he’ll do.

“I may have to go on unemployment for the first time in my life,” he said.

Other former employees will take advantage of the company’s offer of jobs at other Outback stores.

Restaurant manager Keith Lipari is staying with the company and moving on. He said a combination of high rent and a slow winter forced the restaurant to close.

“We’d been open in this location for six years,” Lipari said. “There was a lot of repair coming up and our lease was up in a year, so we made the decision. We’re actually moving about a year earlier than we’d planned.”

As of late Wednesday afternoon, employees were still coming out of the restaurant with full boxes from the bar.

“We’re going to have a barbecue on Outback tonight,” Martinez said.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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