Mountain Brew has new owners as business keeps percolating in downtown Steamboat

Lonnie Castelli and his wife, Talitha “TJ” Appenzeller, took over operations of Mountain Brew in Steamboat Springs in June.
John F. Russell

Editors note: This story has been corrected. Castelli and Appenzeller recently purchased RK Pet Ranch.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Stopping by the Mountain Brew for his favorite coffee and a taste of quiche was something Steamboat Springs entrepreneur Lonnie Castelli liked to do every day since making this little mountain town his home. He liked the coffee house so much, when the opportunity came to purchase the downtown business earlier this summer, he stepped up to the counter.

“I love this place, and it’s awesome,” said Castelli, who took over operations of Mountain Brew along with his wife, Talitha “TJ” Appenzeller, in June. “I would just stop in here all the time. I like it, so I asked the owners if they wanted to sell it. It’s a great business, and they have done such a great job.”

Castelli said he approached Al and Tasha Compos with an offer about six months ago but didn’t get an immediate response.

A few months later, the Composes decided to accept Castelli’s offer and sold the business to a Steamboat businessman who runs a remodeling business in town and recently purchased the RK Pet Ranch with his wife in June.

Castelli said longtime customers of Mountain Brew, which has locations in downtown at 427 Oak St. and inside the Bud Werner Memorial Library at 1289 Lincoln Ave., can rest easy. He said he plans to continue to operate both locations, and customers should not expect any major changes.

“They have a great following,” Castelli said of the former owners. “Everybody loves them. We are going to make some minor changes —  maybe some with the food and different types of coffee —  but for the most part, we are going to leave everything the way it is.”

He said people walking through the doors can expect to find a large selection of quiches that will change from day to day. Mountain Brew also offers a full breakfast menu that includes items such as the jumpstart sandwich and breakfast burrito, and a full lunch menu that includes many sandwich choices. Customers will also find a curry chicken wrap, salads and frittatas. For a sweet treat, Mountain Brew offers baked treats including cupcakes, cookies, muffins, crumb bars and scones.

Many of the items on the menu will feature local products from vendors that live in the Yampa Valley, including eggs from Hayden Fresh Farm. Castelli said most of Mountain Brew’s coffee currently comes from Portland, but he is interested in talking to several local coffee roasters to see if his business can feature more products from the Yampa Valley in the future.

Mountain Brew hours
  • 6:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Mountain Brew offers a full breakfast and lunch menu along with many baked treats at the counter including cupcakes, cookies, muffins, crumb bars and scones.

Mountain Brew also offers a full coffee and specialty drink menu and free WiFi.

At some point, Castelli would like to explore the possibility of offering pour-over coffees. However, he is worried about the slower process resulting in longer waits for customers.

One of his biggest goals is to streamline the ordering process to speed up the customer experience. But, he hopes customers understand there will be some wait times because everything is made fresh to order.

Mountain Brew currently offers 11 coffee drink selections that Castelli hopes will appeal to every coffee lover as well as signature drinks he hopes will keep Steamboat residents coming through the doors.

Mountain Brew is open from 6:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

“I love Steamboat,” Castelli said. “The people in Steamboat are awesome, and that’s the other reason we bought it. I don’t ever plan on leaving.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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