Cloverdale restaurant in Steamboat to close its doors
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Disappointment could be heard in owner Patrick Ayres’ voice Wednesday as he talked about closing the doors of his downtown business, Cloverdale Farm and Restaurant.
“In the end, it was just a concept that Steamboat may not have been ready for,” Ayres said. “It was an ambitious concept that we had and an ambitious menu style.”
The restaurant opened in July 2017 offering a locally-based, farm-to-restaurant, fine-dining experience. The restaurant offered a three-course menu and the full-chef’s tasting experience that consisted of 10 to 14 courses. Ayres tried to offer two seatings each night in the 32-seat dinning room.
“It was always the challenge getting people through the door,” Ayres said. “We had probably more business from tourists and people that heard about us from Denver, Vail or Aspen, and even out of the state, that would come to Steamboat just to eat here.”
The restaurant was reviewed in The New York Times and the Denver Post. But in the end, that recognition and support from out-of-town guests was not enough to make things work at Ninth and Oak streets.
“Getting the locals was a little bit harder, which we kind of knew going into it,” Ayres said. “We hoped that it would be a little better received than it was. In the end that was it — we just were not busy enough. We were kind of tracking upwards but just not fast enough.”
Ayres announced the closing of Cloverdale on the restaurant’s Facebook page late Tuesday afternoon.
“It is with great sadness that today, we announce our closing. Sadness is one of the emotions but there are so many,” Ayres wrote in the post. “Disappointment, frustration, humility, confusion, and embarrassment to name a few. Our amazing, amazing staff (read: family) did everything in their power to make this work and gave their best since day one. I absolutely couldn’t be more proud of every single one of them.”
Cloverdale’s final day will be Saturday, Oct. 6.
“This team will keep our heads high and continue to deliver our standards until the last plate leaves our hand. I am broken-hearted but so, so proud,” Ayres’ post ends.
Despite the closing of Cloverdale, Ayres is still a big believer in the locally-grown, farm-to-restaurant concept.
“I didn’t do this because it is trendy; I did it because it was important,” Ayres said. “It’s the way restaurants have to go for, kind of, the world to survive. I wasn’t doing it to jump on the bandwagon. It is something that I fully believe in.”
Ayres said owning Cloverdale has been a learning experience, and he will take those lessons with him.
“Whether or not I have my own farm doesn’t really matter,” Ayres said. “It was huge here, it was important and made our foods that much better. But if I don’t have the opportunity again, it will still be the driving philosophy. I will continue working with other farmers and ranchers no matter where I am.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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