Eateries close at Yampa Valley Regional Airport

YVRA manager hopes to offer hot food within 2 weeks


— The two establishments that offer hot food at Yampa Valley Regional Airport were closed Thursday, just as planes began arriving with the Fly Steam­boat program.

Hot Dog’n Paradise and HDN Paradise Bar & Grill were shut because of contract issues with the operator, YVRA Manager Dave Ruppel said. The hot dog spot is within the secure area of the Hayden airport, and the larger bar and grill is upstairs, outside security.

“We ended up having to let our restaurant concessionaire go,” Ruppel said. “At this point we’re inventorying.”

Trini Riley ran both restaurants. She had not yet responded to a phone call seeking comment Thursday afternoon, and Ruppel said he couldn’t elaborate on the specifics.

“We didn’t really have much choice,” Ruppel said. “Once somebody’s in default on their contract, we can’t allow them to stick around.”

He said the restaurants couldn’t immediately reopen because Riley owns all the materials used in their operation. Rup­pel said he was working on a plan to get concessions going in the secure area within a couple of weeks. That’s when the airport is expected to get really busy, he said.

“It’s mostly the outbound passengers who are looking for something to eat, so that number is much larger after Christmas than before,” Ruppel said.

The airport has a gift shop with candy and snacks within the secured area that remains open.

“As soon as we get things wrapped up with the current concessionaire, we’ll look to get something, probably a smaller operation, but something in there,” Ruppel said.

There probably won’t be a need to request a proposal for a new concessionaire in the immediate future, he said. YVRA is undergoing Phase 3 of its construction project, which will include creation of a first-floor restaurant outside security.

The county will own that restaurant and its equipment, so YVRA will look to hire an operator to run that restaurant and the smaller restaurant within security, Ruppel said.

“We probably won’t go into that process any earlier than we had intended to,” he said. “We’ll work something out to fill in in between here so we make sure passengers have food between now and the end of the season.”

Ruppel said he expects to put out a request for proposals for restaurant operation in February so the businesses could be running by the 2011-12 ski season in November.

Beyond the restaurant closures, Ruppel said the airport’s ski season had started smoothly.

“Things are running great. We had an opportunity to get really well prepared for this season; we felt really good about that in terms of equipment and facilities.”


mark bond 6 years, 4 months ago

You would think if the "contract issue" were significant enough to cause all the inconvenience to travelers during the busiest time of the entire year and loss of employment for many employees right before Christmas, the operator, ms. Riley, would have some warning or idea. I suspect this was merely a difference of personalities and this should never justify this kind of disruption. I certainly hope someone reviews Mr. Ruppel's decision before it is finalized. Not only will extreme inconvenience result, but it is likely to expose the airport to liabilities or at a minimum substantial legal expenses.


youseff 6 years, 4 months ago

As I sit here waiting for my delayed flight (3 hours now), I have to really question the timing of this decision. There are a lot of people here who are hungry, tired and more than upset at the fact that an airport has nothing for them to eat. One can only eat so much trail mix and those little wrapped marshmallow balls from the vending machine.

Great timing guys - let's try and plan this a bit better next time. Makes the drive to Denver seem like a nice option right now.....


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