Willoughby: 508 E. Cooper - longtime location for food and fun

Willoughby: 508 E. Cooper – longtime location for food and fun

508 E. Cooper in 1973 housing the King George Restaurant
Aspen Historic Society, Mary Eshbaugh Hayes Assortment

The constructing that at present homes Brunello Cucinelli at 508 E. Cooper lately made headlines because it acquired approval for a future restaurant in its basement. The constructing has housed an odd assortment of companies, together with quite a few consuming institutions. The next illustrates the purpose.

After I was younger, the constructing housed Grant and Gordier Plumbing and Heating. On the time, my father labored for them. The corporate was rising, so it had a couple of web site. We lived within the Cowenhoven constructing, and behind the constructing, subsequent to our yard, they constructed a constructing to accommodate their supplies and repair their vehicles. The Cooper Constructing was a showroom and enterprise workplace.

At the moment, the land to the east was empty till the development of the bowling alley, however a big area was nonetheless open between the 2 buildings used for parking and storage of septic tanks.

Firms needed to department out to get there, so Grant and Gordier used the workplace constructing’s showroom for the gadgets. They’d little to do with it, however you ordered your washer and so they put in it. Within the late Nineteen Fifties they added a brand new product – televisions – when Aspen first related to KREX in Grand Junction.

Ed Gordier was a member of the Aspen Metropolis Council throughout these years and Dale Grant resided in Basalt. After retiring from the enterprise, he served as Eagle County Commissioner.

The highest ground of the constructing has been rented out as residences for a lot of many years.

On the identical time, Al and Alma Barbier operated a dairy ranch at Woody Creek. In 1958 they opened the Aspen Candy and Snack within the Cowenhoven Constructing, proper subsequent to my home. They bought their ranch eggs within the new retailer, but it surely featured contemporary donuts, candies, ice cream, sodas and malts. Within the winter, espresso and scorching chocolate have been well-liked. I indulged of their ice cream.

They did not promote them, however should you requested you might get contemporary rabbit. On the time, my sister and I had a pet rabbit, so when my mom served Rabbit Babier, “it tastes like rooster,” we declined.

They moved the enterprise to 508 E. Cooper a few yr later and expanded the enterprise to incorporate hamburgers, scorching canines, and fries. It was a counter ordering and catering enterprise, which made it cheaper than Eddies, the White Kitchen, and sit-down bowling eating places.

Within the again room, they introduced the primary pinball machines. This, together with a jukebox, has made it a well-liked hangout for youngsters.

In 1960 the basement was leased for a brand new restaurant, The Steak Pit. Chuck Rolles and Paul Raugust impressed it from their restaurant in Honolulu, that includes steaks, lobster and beef skewers. They referred to as the basement location a “secluded hideaway ambiance.”

A number of years later, Peter Man took over as new proprietor and ran it for 42 years, and it lasted one other eight years beneath new possession and, like many Aspen eating places, modified places a number of time.

The bottom ground has been the situation of a number of different eating places, together with King George’s and the extremely popular Cooper Road Pier. These have been in competitors with the eating places within the basement of the brand new constructing that was constructed subsequent door, such because the Magic Pan which opened in 1970.

The constructing has been reworked and redone a number of instances, disguising the truth that it’s a remnant of the mining period.

Tim Willoughby’s household historical past parallels that of Aspen. He started sharing folklore whereas instructing at Aspen Nation Day Faculty and Colorado Mountain Faculty. Having change into a vacationer in his hometown, he considers it with a historic perspective. Be part of it at [email protected].

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