Steamboat native purchases The Shack restaurant | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat native purchases The Shack restaurant

Greg Williams, who grew up in Steamboat Springs, bought The Shack Café in December and he said he’s excited to carry on a tradition that stretches back nearly 50 years. (Photo by John F. Russell)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Shack Café has been serving great food to locals and visitors for more than 50 years, and while Greg Williams might be the new owner, he’s no stranger to Steamboat Springs.

"I've been coming here since I was a kid," said Williams, who grew up in Steamboat Springs and graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 2004. "My high school math teacher used to bring us here, and apparently, she still brings her students here every once in awhile."

Williams bought the business from Jay Baverstock, who purchased the restaurant in 1978. It opened at 740 Lincoln Ave. in 1968.

This historic photograph of the Waffle Shack was taken in the mid-1970s. The restaurant is now known as The Shack CafŽé. (Photo courtesy of Greg Williams)

Williams, who has been in the restaurant industry for years, started looking into buying the restaurant after a family friend told him it was for sale.

"It was all word of mouth," Williams said. "I just kind of started looking into it and then I decided to take it as far as I could go and then finally it was, ‘I'm doing this.’"

Williams took over operations of the Shack in late December, and so far, he says business has been good.

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"I was working at Mambo for the past seven years," Williams said. "I was working closely with Hannah (Hopkins) over there, and she just kind of mentored me into this ownership thing."

Williams said The Shack has been a part of Steamboat since it first opened as the Waffle Shack in 1968. Baverstock remodeled the dining room after he purchased the restaurant and changed the name from the Waffle Shack to The Shack.

Williams said he isn't looking to make any major changes to the restaurant, although he hinted he might add a hot pastrami sandwich to the menu at some point. He understands that The Shack holds a special place in the hearts of many locals, especially his regulars. His goal, he said, is to make sure that The Shack is a part of the Steamboat Springs community for the next 40 or 50 years.

"That was the biggest question I got from the locals, 'What are you going to change?’" Williams said. "I had to reassure everybody that I was not going to change anything and that I'm going to keep The Shack just the way it i,s because it is almost an historical landmark at this point."

Williams said he did a bit of research and thinks that The Shack is the oldest running food establishment in Steamboat. He said he has poked around a bit and the only other restaurant that is close is the Ore House at Pine Grove, which opened in 1971.

The Shack opens for breakfast at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It closes each day at 2 p.m. The diner offers breakfast all day long but also starts serving lunch at 11 a.m.

"It's biscuits and gravy and chicken-fried steak," Williams said. "It’s all the great breakfast foods you would expect in a diner like this. You can come in and sit at the counter and get your food five minutes later. You can hit the slopes 10 minutes after you eat breakfast."

The Shack currently employs nine people and has room for 48 diners inside. In the summer, an additional 24 seats open up on a small patio area in front.

"Customers tell me, 'I've been coming in here for 35 years, every single day and getting the same thing,’" Williams said. "People know what they want, and I'm happy to provide that for them still."

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

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