By Lucas Vader
The Cedaredge town board of trustees talked business on the Cedaredge Golf Club restaurant on Feb. 16, as an issue with the place became more prominent in early 2020.
The restaurant, according to the high rate of business turnover, continues to be a hard location to manage. In the course of approximately three years, the location saw three different businesses come through, which is a pattern that has been prevalent for multiple years.
Early in the discussion, the main topic turned to a scenario in which the Town of Cedaredge could take it over and run it as a minimalistic sort of snack bar that serves burgers, chips, coffee, and dessert-type items. Trustee Heidi Weissner in particular said she’d always been a fan of that idea.
“I’ve been an advocate of the town running it for a while,” Weissner said, “and I kind of think we should try and move in that direction.”
In fact, as the last lessee, Creekside Italian Cuisine and Wine Bar, an Italian-style spinoff of Codi Nelson’s Creekside on 65, left before the latest golf season, the vacated restaurant turned into a makeshift snack bar for the year, run by golf course staff.
The town-owned space rents out for $1,250 a month, which includes utilities, but lessees have to lease their own dishwasher and pay their own phone line. According to Weissner, every lessee in recent history has come in and tried to run a full-scale restaurant, which ultimately didn’t wind up being profitable. Most recently, the location held Creekside Italian Cuisine and Wine Bar, an Italian-style spinoff of Codi Nelson’s Creekside on 65, previously Creekside Cafe.
Before that, in recent history, the location also held The Grille and the Wildfire Cafe. Neither of them stayed long at the location that’s determinedly too secluded for a full-scale restaurant business inside a golf course clubhouse.
Furthermore, it’s set in town code that any lessee would have to run the restaurant seven days a week for seven months of the year to go along with golfing hours.
Trustee Richard Udd expressed his disagreement with that stipulation, stating, “I don’t think that golf course restaurant does enough business to have enough staff to be open seven days a week.”
The board overall agreed with this notion, indicating that the stipulation is almost certain to change regardless of what happens next.
“If the town is running it, and we’re not necessarily running a full menu seven days, we’ll still be able to provide beer and wine and whatever’s available,” Town Administrator Greg Brinck said. However, “If someone is leasing the space, we would not be able to use our liquor license to sell alcohol the days that they’re not open.”
The opinion that the food being served should be simpler gained popularity among the board, particularly as complex menus and extensive staffing was determined as the main failure among past lessees.
“That’s the problem you’re going to have with lessees,” Weissner said. “They are going have their menu and what they think they want to do, where we as a town know that it’s a golf course in little Cedaredge, and we need danishes and coffee and sandwiches and Coke and beer and burgers. That’s it.”
“There’s a whole combination of things that made the last one fail,” Trustee Jim Atkinson commented, “and a whole lot of others for previous ones that failed, and nobody seems to have captured what will work, and I think that’s doable, it’s just a matter of does the town want to do it, or do we find some upstanding citizen the way that will actually work in this market?”
The general consensus was to work a simpler business. As this was a work session discussion, however, the board made no formal decision but conceded to talk further on the matter in the near future and most likely try something different with the Cedaredge Golf Club restaurant.