New restaurant at Catamount to bring popular Chicago eatery’s inventive culinary concept to Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Restaurant owner Phil Armstrong is hoping to hit a hole-in-one with his latest concept — a restaurant called the Periodic Table that is slated to open at the Catamount Ranch & Club in December.
“Eight months ago, they came to us about doing a restaurant out there,” said Armstrong, who owns Destination Hospitality, a restaurant group that includes Table 79 in Steamboat Springs and Aurum Food and Wine, with locations in Steamboat and Breckenridge. “We went back and forth and came up with a situation that works out for both of us.”
Destination Hospitality has been contracted to open the new restaurant, which will be open to the public, and will also continue to serve Catamount Ranch & Club members.
It will be the first time in 15 years that the restaurant has been open to the public.
Armstrong said the food and concept for the new establishment is inspired by Next, a Chicago restaurant made famous by Chef Grant Achatz’s themed tasting menus and inventive presentations. That restaurant completely changes its style, its cuisine and its menu every couple of months, and Armstrong is hoping a similar concept in Steamboat will be popular with locals and visitors.
Armstrong has been around town long enough to know how difficult it can be to get people to venture even five or 10 minutes outside the city limits to support a restaurant.
“I knew that if I want to get people to go out to Catamount, we are going to have to do something that is really compelling,” Armstrong said.
The Periodic Table will feature a seasonally rotating concept that will explore the world of cuisines.
“The concept, and the reason we named it the Periodic Table, is that every single time the restaurant opens, which is every season, it will do a complete deep dive on a place and a time,” Armstrong said. “We want people to come out thinking they are going to get a normal restaurant meal, and then walk away feeling like, ‘Wow, I got this experience. I didn’t expect them to do this, or I didn’t expect them to do that.’
“The message we want to communicate is that it’s going to be more than just a dinner,” Armstrong explained. “We are going to focus on giving people a unique experience.”
Armstrong said the space will be remodeled starting in September and be ready to open Dec. 15. The Periodic Table will be open seasonally, from Dec. 15 to mid-March for the winter season and June 1 through Labor Day for the summer season. The restaurant will serve dinner Wednesday through Sunday, beginning with happy hour at 4:30 p.m. on those days.
Armstrong has hired chef Patrick Ayres as culinary director for Destination Hospitality, and Ayres, who owned Cloverdale Farm and Restaurant, will be the chef at the Periodic Table.
“We are going to try to cook menus that are super authentic to that time and place, and the only chef I could think of that would be talented enough and well versed enough in all those different cuisine was Patrick,” Armstrong said. “So, we are excited to have him on board for this concept.”
Armstrong said the menu, cocktails, plateware and other aspects of service will focus on a particular concept such as Sicily 1906, the Pacific Northwest, a tribute to Julia Child or Old Chicago steakhouse depending on the season. Armstrong said he is not ready to reveal the opening concept yet, but he promises it will be fun.
“We want to do a big opening party for each season to kind of kick off that concept,” Armstrong said. “We scratched our heads for months trying to think of what was the perfect opening concept. I think we have come up with something that everybody is going to really love.”
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