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Yampa Valley Kitchen serves up local, farm-fresh food

The owners and staff of the new Yampa Valley Kitchen on Ninth Street in downtown Steamboat Springs stand in front of the restaurant, which opens Saturday. From left are owner Hannah Hopkins, cocktail curator Rena Day, manager Kendra McQuarrie, sous chef Ryan Allen-Parrot, chef Joe Campbell, and owner Jeremy MacGray.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Hannah Hopkins describes the new Yampa Valley Kitchen & Drink Bar as a dream come true for her and for the staff who has been a key part of creating the concept.

“It’s a pretty dreamy place to work,” Hopkins said of the restaurant, which opens Saturday. “We have always dreamed of having a beloved neighborhood restaurant where you can go and feel really good about the ingredients that are used in the food.”

It’s a feeling shared by co-owner Jeremy MacGray and members of the staff including executive chef Joe Campbell, manager Kendra McQuarrie, sous chef Ryan Allen-Parrot, cocktail curator Rena Day and gardener Pat Tormey.

The restaurant will open in the 100-year-old farmhouse at 207 Ninth St. that once was home to Cloverdale and Low County Kitchen. The inside has been completely redone by Jeremy’s wife, Krysta, to create a welcoming environment with a farmhouse feel. The new owners feel like Yampa Valley Kitchen’s concept will reach a broad demographic including families and those looking for quality ingredients produced locally.

The new restaurant will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week offering both breakfast and lunch menus. In the afternoon, Hopkins hopes the setting will offer guests a place to come for a bite to eat and to hang out and enjoy a wide selection of beverages or soft-serve ice cream during happy hour, which runs from 3:30 to 5 p.m. each day.

“I think what’s special about our lunch menu, especially because we go to 5 p.m., is that we have some really amazing entrees,” McQuarri said. “It gives people who like to eat a littler earlier dinner or later lunch an option to come and get happy hour cocktails and a delicious entrée around 4 p.m., which is awesome.”

The restaurant will use organic, sustainable ingredients of the highest quality for its dishes and will rely on local producers and those in Colorado.

“They’re all small farms — small batch, no hormones, no antibiotics,” MacGray said. “We have this reverse pyramid where local is our number one grab. If we can get high-quality local foods, that’s what we’re doing. If we can’t get high-quality local foods, then we go regionally to Colorado.”

The restaurant’s outside gardens feature many of the ingredients used in the dishes found on the menu including tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, edible flowers, thyme, rosemary, fennel, tarragon and kale just to mention a few of the items. It will also offer a pleasant place for guests to eat outside.

“This is not a production garden,” Allen-Parrot said. “We are growing a representative sample of some of the things that we have on the menu. These greens and these plants were selected because they can grow in a 60-day growing climate, which is a challenge.”

Campbell, who is also the executive chef at both Bésame and Mambo, was thrilled to create a menu using the best ingredients.

Breakfast offerings will include a selection of crepes, omelets and Rueben Benedict that uses house-made pastrami and Kimchi. The lunch menu features entrees like a salmon miso bowl and Wagyu steak au poivre. The chef believes the avocado toast and gravlox on rye will be among the choices that will stand out.

Campbell said the restaurant will also offer a vegan hotdog where a carrot is whittled down to look like a hotdog before it is marinated and smoked to give it a hotdog flavor. It will be served with housemade dill kraut, pickled Fresno and mustard seed on a poppy seed bun.

“I’m extremely excited about this menu,” Campbell said. “I feel like American cuisine is generally where I shine the most, and we’ve gotten to absolutely do that with our breakfast and lunch menu. We’ve taken a lot of classics and just put modern twist on them.

“When you’re tasting these dishes, you can taste the difference in the quality of the ingredients,” Campbell explained. “The ingredients shine for themselves.”

Many of the ingredients will come from businesses based in the Yampa Valley including Bee Grateful Farm, Hayden Farm Fresh, Moon Hill Dairy, Mountain Bluebird Farm, Truly Family Farms and Innovative Ag Colorado. The restaurant will also highlight other Colorado producers including 7X Cattle Company of Hotchkiss, Haystack Mountain Cheese of Longmont and Boulder Ice Cream, which will provide the base for Yampa Valley Kitchen’s soft-serve ice cream.

The standards found in the kitchen will also be found at the bar where the ingredients are an important part of Yampa Valley Kitchen’s forward-thinking bar program.

“Hannah actually found these really amazing spirits from London called Seedlip. They are zero-proof spirits, and they all have different flavor profiles,” Day said. “So you still get that feeling of having a drink, even if you don’t want to have one. Of course, there’s also a spirit version, as well, so you can get one with alcohol.”

But at the foundation of everything Yampa Valley Kitchen is doing is a passion for providing really good food.

“Uncompromised food is the motto,” MacGray said. “So that’s going to be everything down to salts, spices and sugars, all the way up to the proteins and ice cream and everything between.”

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

 


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