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In the right hands

Hahn's Peak Cafe gets new owners who will carry on with tradition

Autumn Phillips
If you go What: The Rounders When: 8 p.m. tonight What: Buzzcut Sheep When: 8 p.m. Saturday Where: Hahn's Peak Cafe, 61070 County Road 129 Call: 871-1495

When Dana Morton opened Hahn’s Peak Cafe 3 1/2 years ago, her business plan was simple: Run the place for three to five years, and then find the right people to buy it.

When the three-year mark came, Morton quietly started looking for buyers. She ran a cryptic ad in the newspaper advertising the sale, but didn’t mention the restaurant by name. She was looking for a certain kind of buyer, she said. Someone who would run Hahn’s Peak Cafe in the same local, friendly, come-as-you-are tradition she had established.

Just as she hoped it would, news of Morton’s decision to sell the cafe spread among Hahn’s Peak residents. And, just as she hoped it would, the news reached the right ears.

When D.J. and Katie Bessey, a newly married couple in their early 30s, approached Morton about the business, she gladly handed over the keys — with one provision.

If the Besseys bought the Hahn’s Peak Cafe, they also bought Larry McCoy — preacher/bartender and Hahn’s Peak icon.

“He’s the Hahn’s Peak Cafe guru,” Morton said.

As of this month, the Besseys are the new owners of the Hahn’s Peak Cafe, locals and Larry included.

Routt County residents may know Katie Bessey from Mocha Molly’s, where she worked as a baker. She spent a year teaching at Whiteman Primary before transferring to the North Routt Charter School. She and her husband moved to North Routt with her new job and fell in love with the area. D.J. Bessey has worked in restaurant kitchens since he was 16, he said, and the couple always had plans to own a restaurant together.

As owners of the Hahn’s Peak Cafe, the Besseys have plans for the place, which include opening in the mornings to serve Mocha Molly’s coffee and fresh baked goods and adding to the already established dinner menu. But most important, the couple wants to make the place a venue for live music.

They have a house band on Fridays, The Rounders, and a rotating lineup of music on Saturdays. Last week, Midlife Crisis played. On Saturday, Buzzcut Sheep is scheduled to play. They hope to have afternoon concerts on the deck and eventually work toward a summer music festival.

“Dana already started a tradition, and we want to add to it,” Katie Bessey said. “There are long winters out here. We have a lot of local musicians out here and would like to have live music as often as we can.”

They try not to charge a cover, instead putting out a tip jar for the band.

For Steamboat residents traveling to Hahn’s Peak to see music, the 26-mile drive home can be prohibitive.

There is camping available at Steamboat Lake State Park across County Road 129 or at Pearl Lake State Park two miles down the road. Campsites at Steamboat Lake are $12 to $18 and $12 or $14 in Pearl Lake State Park.

Sites are easy to find on weekdays but more difficult to find on the weekends. Reservations for both places can be made by calling 1-800-678-2267.

Otherwise, Hahn’s Peak is surrounded by the Routt National Forest, where campsites are easy to find.


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