Steamboat Springs Two new restaurants are getting ready to open in vacant Steamboat Springs commercial spaces that have never contained dining rooms.
Jason Lee, of Canton Chinese Restaurant, is working with a contractor and a designer on his plans for Sambi Cafe downtown on Lincoln Avenue. Closer to the ski area, Gerard Howard II has entered the city planning process to obtain a permit to make exterior modifications to a vacant commercial space at Wildhorse Marketplace for his restaurant, Kyteler’s Irish Pub.
Documents on file at the City Planning Department show that Howard is seeking permission to cut a new dormer into the roof of a large space on the east end of Wildhorse in a building that abuts the traffic roundabout by the steel horse sculpture.
The dormer will allow construction of a covered deck with views of the ski mountain, said architect Rob Nadolmy, of Vertical Arts.
Interim City Planning Director Jonathan Spence said the exterior changes are straightforward and could be approved administratively.
In addition to the new dormer, Howard plans to build a second level on the interior of the building.
Both restaurateurs will undertake the costly tenant finish required to install commercial kitchens in commercial condominiums that have never been occupied.
Lee, through a business entity called Formosa LLC, bought a street-level space in The Victoria from Hoj and Crane LLC, three blocks from his existing restaurant, for $388,500 on July 27. Morton and Ellen Hoj had planned to open The Diplomat restaurant in the space. The couple previously operated the Steamboat Yacht Club in the space where Sweetwater Grill recently opened.
Lee said he has hired three chefs for the new restaurant, including a veteran sushi chef from California and a chef from a Thai restaurant in Denver.
The third will prepare American-style breakfasts and lunches during the day. Sambi Cafe will switch identities in the evenings to serve sushi and Thai food.
Lee added that he is working with Bill Hamil, of Steamboat Meat & Seafood Co., to buy fresh seafood for the restaurant.
Lee also has lured Vicki Schlegel, a 27-year employee of Canton, out of semi-retirement to run both restaurants.
“We have a lot of experience, and I think we’ve assembled a great team,” Schlegel said. “We want to make the food consistent, fresh and affordable just like it is at Canton.”
Lee has engaged Steamboat contractor George Charlock to build the tenant finish and Carolyn Corogin, also of Steamboat, to design the interior.
Lee expressed his gratitude to The Victoria developers Steve and Denise Peterson for the opportunity to open the new restaurant.