Wolcott Yacht Club re-opens in Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

Wolcott Yacht Club re-opens in Vail Valley

Sarah Mausolf
smausolf@vaildaily.com
Vail Valley, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail Daily file photoKristin Anderson/kanderson@vaildaily.com
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VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” When the Wolcott Yacht Club in Colorado’s Vail Valley closed in October, Kirk Ogle was disappointed.

“Everybody was bummed,” the 52-year-old Wolcott resident said. “It was a favorite watering hole for all the locals around here.”

Now that the Wolcott restaurant has re-opened, though, Ogle looks forward to stopping by to chat with old friends.

“They’ll all be back,” he said. “It’s a good thing all the way around.”

About seven months after yacht club owner Jan Jouflas closed the eatery for the season, noting it could shut down permanently, the 18-year-old Eagle County landmark re-opened Friday under new management.

Die-hard yacht clubbers need not worry ” food staples like the sheepherder skillet remain on the menu. In fact, the new executive chef, Thomas Newsted, kept most of the classic dishes in tact. He just added a few things like the jumbo lump crab cake ($10) and the Grilled Cuban pork sandwich ($7).

In general, the new managers plan to keep yacht club traditions alive.

“We don’t want to change much ” keep the good stuff going and add to it,” said Shawn McMenamy, one of the partners running the restaurant.

He’s among five Eagle County locals who are leasing the yacht club space. The new managers include Willem Johnson, Christian St. Onge, Dan Gumber, McMenamy and Newsted. If those names sound familiar, that’s probably because the men have a ton of experience working for local restaurants. For instance, Newsted served as executive chef of ZaccaZa! in Avon, and the Game Creek Club in Vail.

In part, the fivesome took over the yacht club because they didn’t want to see a longtime tradition die.

“I’ve been coming to the yacht club now pretty much since I’ve lived in the valley, since 1990, and it’s just got a really good feel,” said Johnson, who has served as a sommelier at Zach’s Cabin and a winemaker for the Churchill Wine Cellars at the 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott. “There’s a lot of good energy here.”

On May 22, the men plan to revive the Friday afternoon club, which includes live music on the deck from 5 to 9 or 10 p.m., Johnson said. Vail band The Laughing Bones will perform, lunch will be for sale until dark, and finger food will be available until close, he said.

McMenamy is in charge of the music at the eatery. He hopes to bring in bands several nights per week. The new managers also plan to start selling to-go sandwiches and snacks from a market adjacent to the restaurant.

In October, Jouflas put the yacht club property up for sale for $2.7 million, noting she wanted to spend more time with family and friends. Jouflas could not be reached for comment.

The new managers plan to keep the yacht club open in the summers and possibly year-round, Newsted said.