Returning to her roots, Sisson opens Third Street Grill

Photo by Tamie Meck From left, chef John Sisson, head chef Crystal Rose, owner/partners Xanadu Sisson and Lance Helmer recently opened the Third Street Grill in Paonia.

A peach of an idea to open a restaurant was planted, nurtured and grew into the Third Street Grill.

Located in the former Paonia Laundromat on Third Street next to the Paonia Flower Shop, Grill co-owners Xanadu Sisson and Lance Helmer and their three employees began serving breakfast and lunch on March 4 following a 10-month remodel. "We were planning to open two weeks ago but the water situation got in our way," said Sisson.

"We're cleanliness, good food, and prompt service with a little wait for quality," said Sisson.

Sisson has worked as an assistant surgeon at Aspen Valley Hospital, and sold real estate in the Roaring Fork Valley for 20 years, but grew up in restaurant kitchens. Dad John Sisson, a Delta County native, worked in kitchens for 52 years beginning in the 1960s at the Fireside Inn in Glenwood Springs. He was head chef for some of the top restaurants in Aspen, feeding celebrities, royalty, and at least three U.S. presidents.

Sisson worked alongside her dad, preparing feasts for Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan and his entourage.

John Sisson also co-owned The Diner, which he and a partner ran for 11 years before his retirement in 2016. With Paonia experiencing a growth spurt, Sisson saw an opportunity to move closer to her dad, her extended family, and open a business.

So far, said Xanadu Sisson, "This has been fantastic. It's everything we expected it to be."

Located in the old Paonia Laundromat on Third Street, its table and counter seating, retro decor and menu mimic The Diner. Sisson chose the plump, fuzzy peach for its brand, incorporating into their logo and decor, much of which came from The Diner. "I wanted a brand that encompasses the likings of all people," said Sisson. "I thought, who doesn't like a peach?"

Recipes combine Paonia staples with entrees from around the country -- New Orleans inspired, 1960s recipes from her dad, and quinoa bowls. Their "Tropic" dish honors the local Tropic Ditch, and in the coming months Sisson plans to introduce new recipes representing other American regions.

Head chef Crystal Rose also learned her craft from John Sisson. "We're so blessed to have her on our team," said Sisson.

The Grill also fills a gap in Paonia's breakfast and lunch options after Hightower Cafe's recent closure.

Two other Paonia eateries are opening soon, one in the former Flying Fork space at Third and Main, and another at the former Nelle's Cafe location on Grand Avenue. Sisson said she's excited to see what those restaurants will offer. "We need a place to eat, too," she said.

The Grill is open 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; beginning March it will open at 8 a.m. daily, seven days a week.

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