By Don Benjamin
Always the innovator, Connie Williams, has reopened the restaurant in her AppleShed complex and the cuisine includes authentic treats from south of the border. Located in Cedaredge at 250 S. Grand Mesa Drive (Highway 65), the AppleShed has long featured gifts, apparel, décor and art. In summer 2019, Williams enhanced her retail offerings by welcoming the addition of the Impressionz Art and Gift Gallery, a co-op featuring the work of local artists.
Now, she’s added culinary treats as well.
Soon to be named “El Jirasol”—Spanish for “Sunflower”—the AppleShed’s newly imagined café will showcase the recipes of Chef Patri (P.J.) Barajas. A native of the State of Jalisco in west-central Mexico, Barajas and his family have been working with the Williams Cellars and Orchards for years. Barajas’ father first worked for the orchard and is still employed there. Eventually P.J., along with his mother and brothers, came to live and work in the area.
P.J. Barajas is a 2005 graduate of Cedaredge High School. He began working at Delta County Memorial Hospital as a housekeeper and soon rose, through a series of promotions, to the role of director for the hospital’s unique concierge program. He was passionate about his role in catering to hospital patients and he brings that same enthusiasm to his cooking.
“All my life, I’ve been cooking,” he said. “I’ve always liked food and I’m passionate about food which is inspired by where I come from.”
According to Williams, the new café will continue to offer past specialties including beef brisket, flank steak, chicken and pork loin. Barajas’ authentic cuisine of old Mexico will enhance those offerings. El Jirasol will also offer unique beverages including fancy coffee, Snow Capped hard cider and wines from Williams Cellars. Eventually, when her shop’s liquor license is adjusted, she plans to add margaritas to diners’ choices.
Williams outlines the café hours as: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun., Mon., Tue. and Wed.; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thu., Fri. and Sat. Take-out is also available. For more information, call the AppleShed at 970-856-7007 or visit its website at theappleshed.net.