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Mediterranean street food concept going in on Yampa Street

Danny Rains, of HLCC Construction Company, uses a saw to cut through the remains of a wall in a space that will house Collin and Noella Kelley's new Mediterranean food concept next door to their original restaurant, Carl's Tavern, on Yampa Street. The new eatery will feature flavors from all around the rim of the Mediterranean Sea with a fast-casual dining atmosphere. The Kelleys plan to open the yet-to-be-named restaurant in mid-June.

— Collin and Noella Kelley are planning to open their newest dining venture right next door to their original restaurant, Carl's Tavern, but the concepts couldn't be farther apart.

The yet-to-be-named Yampa Street eatery will focus on street food from around the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in a fast, casual setting. A mid-June opening is being targeted.

Collin Kelley said Monday that Noella, who is Lebanese, enjoyed large family feasts growing up and that the concept incorporates that feel and some of those tastes.

Spanish, Moroccan, Italian, Greek, Israeli and Lebanese cuisines all will factor into the new venture’s menu.

"When you look at the Mediterranean, so many inspirations are pulled from neighboring countries," Kelley said.

The restaurant will feature a pizza oven from Naples and two large, vertical rotisseries for shawarma, which is a Middle Eastern meat preparation. Kelley said he’ll source local beef and lamb from young people who participate in 4-H and getting pork from Yampa Valley Farms. The Spanish influences will include seafood dishes and hand-ground sausages.

There also will be traditional Greek offerings and plenty of salads, but the menu always will be in flux.

There won't be a printed menu at all, Kelley said.

Wall-mounted TV screens will display what's available that day, he said, and that will change depending on seasonality, availability and what's popular.

The restaurant will offer a number of vegetarian and gluten-free options, a niche Kelley said has been underserved.

"It's really a playground," Kelley said about the menu and the ability for he and the chefs to experiment.

There won't be any servers in the new eatery, with patrons ordering at a counter and a runner delivering food. There will be a bar with a couple of drafts and Old World, boutique wines. In place of typical soft drinks, all-natural cane sodas will be offered.

The space for the new restaurant was formed out of two separate units that housed Shag-a-licious and Ciao Gelato, which moved around the corner, and will have a large patio area.

Overhead doors were installed to let in the "nice summer weather," Kelley said.

Because of the success of Carl's Tavern, Kelley said, the hope is to direct people who don't have a reservation at Carl’s or who are concerned about the wait to the new eatery just steps away.

"With everything going on on Yampa Street, this really filled a niche," Kelley said.

Amid the sushi, steakhouses and other dining concepts filling in the street's restaurant revival, the Kelleys' new eatery will offer another option for the area that's the focus of renewed interest and lodging tax dollars.

"I just love what's going on with Yampa Street," Collin Kelley said, including the Mainstreet Farmers Market moving toward the river and the summer pedestrian, bike and river traffic.

The restaurant owners on Yampa Street have good relationships, according to Kelley, and have recognized that symbiotic relationships can help them create a dining and nightlife hub.

A rising tide lifts all boats, he said.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz