That old familiar teen-age lament is no longer true. There is definitely a place for kids and young adults to hang out in Steamboat Springs. It's called Toys in the Attic.
Imagine eight pool tables in a smoke-free environment, a state-of-the-art stereo system pumping edgy rock from JBL speakers, a dozen or so arcade games and a Chicago-style hot dog with the works for $3.69. You get the picture.
Except you haven't seen the life-size hot air balloon draped in the ceiling, the faithful reproduction of a 1950s pedal-car fire engine hanging in the corner of the dining room and the neon mountains behind the glass block bar.
Todd and Wanda Brehmer have been working for a solid year to bring a family entertainment style restaurant to Steamboat and at last they've succeeded.
Todd has remained true to his promise and delivered a no-nonsense menu that ranges from Polish sausages ($4.79) to chili cheese fries ($2.49) at fair prices.
"If it's not messy, it's not good," Todd says with conviction.
The Brehmers are working hard to attract a mix of older children out for an afternoon on their own, families and the 18- to 20-year-old set to their new restaurant.
"We really encourage families and we've set a 10 p.m. limit for kids without parents," Wanda Brehmer said.
At 10 p.m., the staff circulates through the game rooms and cards young adults. Those under 18 are asked to head for home, while those in the 18 to 20 age bracket have their hands stamped. That allows the bartender to quickly spot the fact they aren't old enough to drink alcoholic beverages. The Brehmers stress that Toys in the Attic is an entertainment restaurant first, and a bar second. They want adults to be able to enjoy a beer or cocktail while watching their kids plug tokens into electronic games.
Wanda stresses that the under-21 set is very welcome at Toys in the Attic.
"There's no place for those kids to go in town," she said. "It's so sad they are adults."
The Brehmers chose their location carefully to ensure they could remain an affordable spot for local families and youngsters, then wrote a business plan that deliberately ignored the possibility some of their clients might come from out of town.
Wanda said they looked at some spaces to rent that were going for just more than $30 a square foot. When they found their location in Steamboat Crossings at Pine Grove Road and Mid-Valley Drive, they knew the rent between $15 and $20 a square foot could allow them to remain affordable and still turn a profit.
"When we did our business plan we used really conservative numbers because we wanted to make sure this would be a place for locals," Wanda said. "We didn't even count on tourist trade. I think we planned on serving 50 meals a day, which is nothing."
The rent isn't the best part of the location of the Brehmers' new restaurant. Toys is just down the street from one of the busiest stoplights between downtown and the mountain.
Wanda points out that Toys in the Attic is on a short extension of the Yampa Valley Core Trail. The Brehmers hope is that many of their guests will ride their bicycles to Toys in the Attic. The restaurant is just a few steps from a city bus stop and within walking distance of an indoor climbing gym. Not far away are the outdoor maze and miniature golf course at the Chamber visitor center.
Wanda's tastes are evident in the theme of the restaurant, a blend she says of art-deco, retro and industrial.
The industrial motif is evident in the concrete floors (some areas are carpeted in black) and the exposed bright red ductwork. Steel railings and chain link fence on a balcony and the stainless steel restroom doors add to the warehouse feel.
The bar top and bar tables are made from wood recycled from an old bowling alley, and the Brehmers did all the work of cutting and sanding. As beautiful as the tables are, the restaurant booths are even better. They are upholstered in sparkling deep aqua vinyl that just seems to say "Corvette Summer."
Wanda is active in a local group of mixed-media artists and Toys in the Attic is also an art space currently showing the paintings of retired physics professor Paul Biagi.
If the art and decorating details don't provide enough visual stimulation, there are nine televisions scattered around the restaurant, including a 63-incher near the pool tables.
Pool is priced at 75 cents a game, or, for serious billiards players, there are a pair of competition quality Diamond Billiards tables available for $9 an hour. You can admire their lustrous wood finish and leather pockets for free.
The Brehmers are issuing a standing invitation for everyone to come play with their toys. Stay as long as you like.
To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210
or e-mail email@example.com