Codi Nelson is no stranger to success. For two years running she has been honored by the Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce. In 2017 her Creekside Café was named most improved business of the year and Nelson received businesswoman of the year honors in 2018.
So when news spread that Nelson has taken on the challenge of revitalizing the Cedaredge Golf Club's ailing restaurant, both the town and its hungry citizens breathed a collective sigh of relief. The facility has been revamped and the town is due to approve occupancy soon and the menu and hours are set and a new exterior sign is up.
So far so good -- now the hard work begins to attract diners and keep them coming.
Nelson is optimistic. Asked what she thinks will be the biggest challenge in her efforts to rekindle patronage for the restaurant at 500 SE Jay Avenue in Cedaredge, she cites the misgivings of some community members.
"I've been told that nobody makes it at the golf course for a variety of reasons," she said. "But I believe that when we make amazing food and provide good customer service and consistent hours, people will support us."
Nelson has purposely chosen not to be a seasonal restaurant that focuses exclusively on golfers. She intends to serve golfers and local residents but she will also
concentrate on providing a satisfying dining experience for the greater Delta County community.
Under the banner of "Creekside Italian Cuisine & Wine Bar," Nelson plans to serve signature submarine and high-end deli sandwiches as well as an Italian menu including great pizza. Her present chef, Jimmy Berardi, will contribute his Italian specialties. And Lisa Carr, a Nevada chef, will return as an occasional guest chef. DeeAnne Young, a current employee of Creekside Café, will manage the golf course restaurant. Cedaredge's Stoney Mesa Winery will provide wine.
Nelson hopes to open for business in April with a grand opening event set for sometime in mid-May. Business hours are projected to be Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. with a unique Sunday brunch from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Nelson has lived in Cedaredge since 1989. She is a 1995 graduate of Cedaredge High School and it was a middle school home economics class that reinforced her interest in the food business. As part of the class, she and her partner entered and won first place in a cooking competition.
Even before her home economics experience, Nelson had a family tradition which emphasized the happiness that comes from serving good food. Her Grandma Huggett was a talented baker and growing up around her was an inspiration. And Nelson's father always encouraged her to pursue the dream of owning her own restaurant.
That particular dream came true in March 2015 when -- after managing at McDonalds and Starvin' Arvins in Delta and then beginning at the Cedaredge Creekside Café as a waitress -- Nelson took on the role of café owner. She is thankful that her father lived to see her realize her goal before he passed away in May 2015.
"My father was my biggest fan," Nelson said. "He knew whenever I start working somewhere that I want to learn everything and make everything better. I guess I'm an overachiever."
And that may be exactly what it will take to reinvigorate the potential of an iconic Cedaredge restaurant.