Chef Norman Schommers prepares a barbecue pork sandwich at the Sweetwater Grill restaurant on Wednesday.

Photo by Scott Franz

Chef Norman Schommers prepares a barbecue pork sandwich at the Sweetwater Grill restaurant on Wednesday.

Sweetwater Grill opens in Steamboat

Yampa Street restaurant is at site of former Steamboat Yacht Club

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Sweetwater Grill is at 811 Yampa St.

Visit www.sweetwatersteamboat.com or call 970-879-9500 for information.

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The main dining room at the newly opened Sweetwater Grill features views of the Yampa River. The restaurant can accommodate 250 diners.

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Kim Haggarty opened the Sweetwater Grill on Yampa Street on July 12. The new restaurant features an outdoor patio along the Yampa River.

— The newly opened Sweetwater Grill on Yampa Street hasn’t escaped its history. Coolers marked with the names of Steamboat Yacht Club cooks still reside in the kitchen, and wooden beams from the former restaurant are still in place. As they admire the new upstairs lounge area and rooftop patio, Sweetwater Grill employees aren’t in a hurry to forget what the renovated space used to be.

“It’s such an honor to get to work here,” said service manager Gerry Verdoner, who was sitting at a table Wednesday on the restaurant’s new rooftop patio that overlooks the Yampa River. “We get to write a new page in the building’s history.”

The Sweetwater Grill opened Monday and can accommodate 250 diners. The restaurant has a private dining area for parties, an indoor main dining room and outdoor patio seating along the river. Owner Kim Haggarty said one of her goals is to make sure everything about the restaurant stays local.

“We’re trying to use as many local ingredients in our menu as we can,” she said. “We use Colorado beef and have a wide variety of Colorado beers.”

The dinner menu features items such as Colorado trout crusted in blue cornmeal with a cranberry tartar sauce, and braised ribs, which Haggarty said are the staff favorite.

“Nothing comes from a can,” she said.

Haggarty also envisions the Sweetwater Grill as a place for local musicians to thrive. Local folk rock singer Todd Musselman played for outdoor diners Wednesday and is one of the first singers Haggarty has lined up to perform.

“Sundays will be jazz night,” she said. “Wednesdays will be acoustic rock, and Fridays and Saturdays will feature duets and trios.”

Haggarty and her employees say the restaurant owes much of its initial success to the other businesses on Yampa Street.

“There are a lot of exciting places on the river,” Verdoner said.

Haggarty said that despite all of the renovations and the bustle the new restaurant brings, she enjoys the reactions from the former Yacht Club diners the most.

“They’re always blown away,” she said.

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