Traditional Indian cuisine and "Get and Go" comfort food are coming to Wildhorse Marketplace as Resort Ventures West begins to deliver on its goal of pumping up the dining scene in the commercial center on Mount Werner Road.
Harjinder Gill, who says he has opened more than 30 Indian-themed restaurants, many of them on Colorado's Front Range, confirmed he has an agreement to lease a 2,700-square-foot space just west of the Ben & Jerry's store and hopes to open Bombay Grill as soon as June.
Longtime Steamboat Springs chef Ben Stroock also confirmed plans for his new food establishment, The Drunken Onion Get and Go Kitchen, in a smaller spot between Tall Tulips floral shop and Quiznos. He is the former operator of The Main Dish in downtown Steamboat and most recently oversaw deli food at Market on the Mountain.
Both businesses will open this year in previously unoccupied spaces in Wildhorse Marketplace.
"We're very excited about both new tenants," said Kerry Shea, director of sales for Resort Ventures West. "We took a step back and did a full analysis of the marketplace. We've reaffirmed our intent to build Wildhorse as an entertainment restaurant destination."
He pointed out that Wildhorse Stadium Cinema and the opening this spring of the nearby Strings in the Mountains pavilion enhance the commercial center in that regard.
The existing Porches residential development with the coming expansion of the Village at Steamboat by 175 units and the luxury condominiums and homes within walking distance at Wildhorse Meadows all bode well for the center, he said.
He remains intent on finding two more restaurant operators for two larger spaces that remain empty in Wildhorse Marketplace and says two or three parties are in discussions about both spaces.
Wildhorse Marketplace was approved by the city of Steamboat Springs in summer 2003 and opened the Sports Authority (then Gart Sports) sporting goods store in December 2004. The theater opened in July 2006. Despite the traffic created by those anchor tenants, the center has never been full.
Outside the entertainment realm, Millennium Bank President Paul Clavadetscher confirmed his business has a contract on an approved development pad just west of the theater, where Millennium intends to build a freestanding bank. Millennium opened in a large storefront in Wildhorse Marketplace in July 2006.
"We were profitable in our seventh month, and we are over $42 million in assets," Clavadetscher said. "In historical terms, we are three or four years ahead of where a normal bank should be, so we're moving things up a couple of years."
The new bank building would allow Millennium to offer its customers things it cannot now - drive-through banking and safe deposit boxes, for example.
Clavadetscher said Wildhorse Marketplace has proven to be a strong location for his bank.
"We're at the entrance to a major ski area," he said.
Shea said Stroock's proposal to establish a food service business where people can pick up prepared meals and take them home stood out among other proposals for the 1,399-square-foot space.
Stroock said the Drunken Onion (named after his favorite pizza at the Main Dish), will offer limited seating and a small lunch menu (hearty soups and prepared sandwiches). The emphasis will be on dinners - items that can be pulled out of a refrigerator case, nightly specials and customer "catered to go" entrees for families.
Gill opened the Bombay Bistro in Boulder, which is now operated by a nephew. Bombay Grill will feature traditional Northern Indian cuisine including a variety of curries and vegetarian dishes.
There will be a luncheon buffet as well as dinner entrees. The restaurant will offer a bar and outdoor seating.
Shea said Resort Ventures West is intent on its plans for the existing space but that when it comes time to develop the already approved second phase to the east of the completed buildings, the focus is likely to return to developing more retail.
That expansion would entail 22,000 square feet in two buildings.