Longstanding barbecue restaurant Steamboat Smokehouse gets new owners | SteamboatToday.com

Longstanding barbecue restaurant Steamboat Smokehouse gets new owners

— Steamboat Smokehouse will be open Friday, serving brisket, St. Louis-style ribs and pulled pork for the first time in months and under a new set of owners.

To take over an establishment like Steamboat Smokehouse is to invite comparisons, longtime owner Fritz Aurin said Tuesday, but the group of three partners now running the barbecue joint is up to the task.

Hazen Kreis, Taylor Patterson and Kyle Love have purchased the Lincoln Avenue restaurant from Aurin. Between them, there’s a breadth of restaurant and bar experience in Steamboat as well as a mix of barbecue tastes from Tennessee and Missouri, which will be incorporated into Aurin’s signature Texas style.

“Hazen and I have known each other for years,” Aurin said, adding that they’d talked a lot about barbecue when Aurin had been involved in cross-promotional events with Terry Sports, where Kreis worked.

Members of Kreis’ family have owned a longstanding barbecue restaurant in Knoxville, Tenn., and Aurin had friends that knew the place and spoke well of it.

“I’d been looking for a restaurant of my own,” said Kreis, who has worked at various eateries in Steamboat.

Aurin said he’d been worn out for awhile and that it was time for fresh blood in the barbecue game in town.

Kreis jumped at the opportunity and soon was discussing the topic with Patterson, a Steamboat native with experience at multiple restaurants in town.

Love, who has worked for Rex’s Events and Catering since moving to town about three years ago, has joined the partners.

“These guys I think are a perfect fit for this place,” Aurin said. “They know the restaurant business, have barbecue roots and they’re a team.”

Kreis, who will be handling kitchen duties, said he’ll be smoking with hickory and oak and, in keeping with his Southern barbecue roots, will feature pulled pork and some Carolina sauces in addition to the brisket Aurin’s smoker is known for. Love has some contacts in the world of Kansas City barbecue who also might be called on for some pointers.

There’s a lot of kidding going on about one another’s Missouri, Tennessee and Texas roots all going into the place, Aurin said, but they all agree on what makes good barbecue.

The partners’ new Smokehouse will start to expand the menu as the summer goes on with more in store for ski season, including wings (smoked then fried and available dry or with sauce) and lunch service.

“We’re going to rock and roll this weekend,” Love said about opening just in time for Fourth of July crowds downtown.

Aurin, who started Steamboat Smokehouse in November 1991 with partner Dave Nelson in the same location it sits now, will still be around in the near term to help the new partners and offer advice when he can.

“I’m going to be imparting knowledge as long as they want,” he said.

Aurin said he’s got a lot to do on his ranch outside of town and that he’s going to try and enjoy the summer.

When the new partners get around to a having a grand opening, he’s already promised them a visit from Larry the camel, which started hanging out at the Smokehouse after its part in nativity scenes at Christmas Eve services when it was a much younger camel.

“They’ve promised me Larry will always have a seat at the bar on Christmas Eve,” Aurin said.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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