Hayden Judy Copeland loves to eat chicken-fried chicken, especially when it is prepared at The Food Mill in Hayden. She and her husband, Ted, eat at The Food Mill twice a week on average, she said.
"First of all, it's convenient," Judy Copeland said. "We like to sit down and be waited on, and we like the variety. I can honestly say I've never had a bad meal there. If I did, I'd tell them."
The Food Mill is one of three restaurants in Hayden that is for sale. The Full Belly Deli and the Dry Creek Pub & Grill also are on the market.
There are only five restaurants in Hayden, including the Hi-way Bar and Poor Boys Eats and Treats. Owners of those restaurants say it is tough running a restaurant in Hayden, and the competition among five restaurants for a population of less than 2,000 is a factor.
Fawna Odom, 13-year owner of the Hi-way Bar, said she thinks it is merely a coincidence that three restaurants are for sale at the same time.
She said the bottom line for any business, including restaurants, is having a good product at a fair price. When Odom bought the Hi-way Bar in 1990, there was only one other restaurant in town -- the Country Kitchen, which is now The Food Mill.
Donna Reedy, owner of Poor Boys Eats and Treats, also said it is difficult to compete for so few people.
Reedy said providing a variety of food or specialty foods is the key to being successful in a small town. "You have to have something that no one else has," Reedy said.
The owners of the Full Belly Deli and Dry Creek Pub & Grill said they are simply ready for something new.
About a month after Lorraine's Country Kitchen closed in 1995, Linda and Bryon Duffy opened The Food Mill. Now, almost nine years later, the couple is ready to retire.
"Fifteen years ago, I could have done this standing on my head," Linda Duffy said. "You reach the point you can't do the things you used to do. Now I'm 62, and I want to relax.
"I think we put out a good plate. We have the best country-fried steak and tenderloin around."
The business is offered for $138,000. The Duffys are including recipes for their home-cooked menu items in the sale.
"My attitude is that they are the only full-service restaurant in Hayden," Bear River Realty owner Jack Giessinger said. "And that opens up a tremendous opportunity for an entrepreneur in the food service industry. It's a golden opportunity for somebody geared in that direction."
Across Walnut Street from the Food Mill at the Fully Belly Deli, patrons line up in the morning for breakfast burritos and at lunch for fresh sandwiches. In the three and a half years since Jerry and Robyn Cina opened the deli, business has steadily gotten better and better, Robyn said.
"We've been successful from the beginning, but we've increased business dramatically over the past few years," Robyn said.
The Full Belly Deli thrives on being the only restaurant to offer fresh food for people on the go. It offers hot and cold sandwiches, pizza, burgers, breakfast items and what they bill as "the best brownies in Routt County."
Initially, the Cinas bought the building and remodeled it as an investment. Robyn said she wanted to start a small restaurant, but she would have sold it if someone had made her an offer.
"There were no choices in Hayden when we opened," Robyn said. "We wanted another choice in Hayden. Now we want to move to something else. We have other business ventures we want to get into. We've got a couple of things working, but we have to sell the deli first."
Robyn said she hopes whoever buys the building will keep it as a deli, or some type of restaurant, because it's an amenity in town. The asking price for the business and building is $225,000. It also has a one-bedroom apartment in back that rents for $450 per month.
The Dry Creek Pub & Grill is a relatively new feature in Hayden, across Jefferson Avenue from the post office on the west side of town.
The building is just two years old, and the business has been open little more than a year. Unlike the other two businesses for sale in Hayden, the sale price for Dry Creek Pub includes a significant amount of land, 3.2 acres. Also, it includes a rental house with two units and a cinderblock garage.
"The place has tremendous opportunities to expand," said Jim Cook, listing agent with Colorado Group Realty.
The asking price for Dry Creek Pub & Grill is $600,000.