City to decide on liquor license for downtown Steamboat restaurant

Pictured is the Saffron Indian Cuisine restaurant space on Lincoln Avenue. City council members will vote on issuing the establishment a liquor license at their meeting on Tuesday.
Trevor Ballantyne/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The expected opening of a new downtown restaurant is getting closer with city council members planning to vote on issuing the establishment a liquor license this week.

The owners of Saffron Indian Cuisine applied for a hotel and restaurant liquor license earlier this summer. City hall employees have recommended the application be approved. Council members, who sit on the city’s liquor license authority, will discuss the application and accept public comment on the matter before making their decision at their meeting Tuesday evening.

The council’s approval will be contingent on a final fire prevention approval and city clerk walkthrough, according to a report from the city manager.

If it is approved and issued, the restaurant’s liquor license will ultimately add to the city’s annual sales tax revenue collected from 119 currently active liquor licenses classified across 13 categories.

In 2022, the combined sales tax revenues collected from liquor store and restaurant establishments totaled over $7.1 million, a figure representing about 18% of the city’s roughly $40.3 million total sales tax collection last year.

Saffron Indian Cuisine owners Bir Raut and Sanjaya Dahal announced their plans to open the new restaurant at 425 Lincoln Ave. earlier this summer. Signs posted on its windows suggest its pending opening, but the establishment remains closed and when exactly that will change remains unknown.

Raut, the restaurant’s registered manager, brings 10 years of restaurant experience to Steamboat, and he told The Steamboat Pilot & Today that he hopes to replicate the success he has found in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he has owned and operated Durbar Nepalese and Indian Bistro since 2020.

When it opens, the restaurant will feature a brand new space and a “cool bar” offering Indian cocktails, liquors, and beers like Taj Mahal and King Fisher to compliment a menu that includes traditional Indian dishes with a mix of spicy and sweet options.

 “It’s going to be fine dining cuisine, and better than anywhere else,” Raut told The Pilot in July. “That’s guaranteed.”

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