2018 Navigator Awards: Creekside Café owners Jason and Kelly Landers serve up success
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The underlying philosophy for good service comes down to one thing.
“If the world had more smiles, it would be a better place.”
Those are the words of Kelly Landers, who opened Creekside Café with her husband, Jason, in 2002.
“The thing I tell every new employee is every person walking through the door is a V.I.P.,” Kelly said. “Everyone is just aiming for the same thing, and that’s to have a good day.”
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Kelly and Jason are this year’s recipients of the Navigator Awards Service Excellence Persons of the Year recognition.
“People are really happy when they are here,” longtime server and bartender Dusti Dunham said. “They leave with a really happy feeling. Rarely is there a negative experience here.”
Whether eating a Wafflelaughagus or the Best Ever Granola on the patio along Soda Creek, it is hard not to leave Creekside happy.
Their reviews on TripAdvisor support their reputation.
“Absolutely delicious breakfast!” one guest wrote. “Being from New Mexico, we certainly know green chile, and Creekside did not disappoint.”
Kelly can usually be found at the front of the restaurant, while Jason works in the back.
“Kelly and Jason — that’s why I’ve been here so long,” Dunham said. “I really enjoy working with them.”
The business has a purpose other than serving food and making sure people are happy.
Kelly said she and Jason were both raised in families where philanthropy was important.
“I’m most proud of the way that we’ve been able to become a part of Steamboat Springs and be a part of the community and give back to the community,” Kelly said.
In addition to in-kind donations, the business gives cash to numerous organizations, including the The Chief Theater, Steamboat Springs Arts Council, Community Agriculture Alliance and Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.
In 2014, Jason and Kelly were recognized by the Yampa Valley Community Foundation as Business Philanthropists of the Year.
“Obviously, Kelly and Jason are so warm and loving, but you look at all the staff at Creekside, and I think they have kind have passed that energy on to the staff,” said Sarah Jones, executive director of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, which nominated the Landers for the award.
Operating a sustainable business has been a priority.
Jason works hard to use locally-sourced ingredients, which includes mushrooms from the forest and Yampa Valley beef.
In 2017, Creekside received the Sustainable Local Business Award from the Sustainability Council.
“They were doing zero waste and composting before it was really popular in other restaurants,” Jones said.
The Navigator Awards, which are presented by the Steamboat Pilot & Today and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, are celebrating their 20th year this fall.
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