Work begins on The Commons, Steamboat Springs’ first food hall
Expected to be complete by July, renovation could open door for new small businesses
Renovations at The Commons Food Hall are underway, and co-owner Cam Boyd is ready to watch as the idea of creating a community gathering place in downtown Steamboat Springs takes shape.
“We have started construction, so hopefully, it will be done sometime in July,” said Boyd of the site at 56 Seventh St. “We spent a lot of time planning and bouncing around ideas. We wanted to take our time and to do it right.”
Boyd and his partner Adam Feiges purchased the 7,200-square-foot property in January 2020.
On Seventh Street between Lincoln Avenue and Yampa Street, The Commons Food Hall overlooks Butcherknife Creek and has previously housed Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, The Ghost Ranch Saloon and Backdoor Burger. Currently, the building is home to Clyde’s Pies and the Burlap & Berry Coffee Company.
Boyd said the idea is to provide space for five or six vendors, as well as a comfortable place for patrons to sit down and enjoy food and drinks. Boyd also believes The Commons will provide an opportunity for small business growth in Steamboat.
Food halls often allow businesses to enjoy lower startup costs and reduced operating expenses, and they can create a prime opportunity for restaurateurs and chefs to access the market.
Most vendors will offer a small but high-quality menu with a variety that allows any individual or group to find something they enjoy.
“There are a lot of people that said, ‘I’d love to get a restaurant going, but I just can’t afford the space for a restaurant myself,’” Boyd said. “They have the ability serve great food, and for some of the smaller vendors, that’s all they want to do — cook good food and be able to serve it.”
Boyd said the building is currently undergoing a renovation designed by Doro Architecture and being completed by Garcia Construction. The renovation will add three kitchens, a coffee shop and a bar on the main level.
The ground floor will be home to two additional food vendors, including a wood fired oven. The street-level spaces will have walk-up access and bar seating that developers said will bring new life to the alleyway behind the building.
There will also be a commissary kitchen on the ground floor, allowing for additional prep space.
The renovation also includes a 650-square-foot veranda off the main level over the alley side of the building, as well as updating a balcony off the upper level overlooking Howelsen Hill.
Once finished, there will be more than 200 seats, and the space will provide a comfortable area where people can come to get some work done, have a midday lunch or meet up with friends and family.
“What we discovered was that there isn’t really a community gathering place with large open spaces where you can have a variety of food and drink options throughout the day,” Boyd said. “We wanted a place where anyone can feel welcome to meet for coffee and pastries in the morning, wine and sandwiches for lunch, and eclectic menu items and cocktails for dinner.”
Boyd said the The Commons will have three to four vendors on the main level, along with the bar that will be operated by Justin Keys, owner of The Barley Tap and Tavern.
“It will be one building with multiple individual businesses,” Keys said. “There will be coffee, a bunch of different options for food, Clyde’s Pies — and the Burlap & Berry Coffee Shop are already there — and I’ll be running the bar and the beverage program.”
Keys said The Barley will remain unchanged, and he will be adding this operation inside The Commons as a new adventure.
“It’s going be a different bar (than The Barley),” Keys said. “The bar is going to have its own menu and draft program, but we will also coordinate with every single food vendor to come up with a couple of signature cocktails that go along with their food brand.”
Keys is most excited to work with other small business owners who are pursuing a similar path.
“When they came and asked me if this was something I’d be interested in, I got really excited about doing something with other community members (and) other small business owners all working on the same project,” Keys said. “I’ve always had the idea that a rising tide lifts all boats, and it’s not about trying to take a bigger piece of the pie. It’s about trying to make the pie bigger.”
He said The Commons will embody that spirit.
“We’re all going to succeed in this by working together and working alongside other business owners that are just innovative, good thinkers,” Keys said. “It’s going to be cool.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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