Circle R restaurant in Oak Creek marks 1 year of craft menus, beers |

Circle R restaurant in Oak Creek marks 1 year of craft menus, beers

Michael Schrantz

Hookers in Heat plays at Circle R Gastropub in Oak Creek. The restaurant on Sharp Street is celebrating one year in business.

— Lawrence and Paula Jo Jaconetta turn limitations into opportunities.

In the brick building on Sharp Street in Oak Creek that's hosted a number of restaurants throughout the years, Circle R Gastropub has made it through its first year only being open three days per week and without a full liquor license.

And as a result of the lessons they've learned during the restaurant's first year, neither of those things are going to change.

Lawrence has been using the kitchen for his catering and personal chef business since leasing the space in October 2011. By April 2012, renovations on the inside of the building and construction of a stage were complete, and the Circle R opened its full-service dining to residents of South Routt and beyond.

The restaurant's truncated schedule partly is a product of the Jaconettas' busy schedules. In addition to the restaurant and culinary services, Lawrence owns a tattoo shop and Paula Jo has a photography business. The couple also has two young children.

"I think being open three days a week was a huge asset for us," Paula Jo said.

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Instead of viewing the schedule as an impediment, the Jaconettas see it as letting the community build up a craving for Lawrence's special menus that change weekly and sometimes multiple times in a weekend.

Lawrence said that flexibility allows him to craft dishes without being tied to overly expensive or out-of-season ingredients. He describes his food as having "Asian and southwest influences with some high-altitude, country, cowboy fare."

Lawrence said the restaurant serves appetizers that eat like entrees.

"I'm an app guy," he said. "I call them share plates. It's just the way I like to eat."

He avoids genetically modified foods and meat from mass feedlots, purchasing fruits and vegetables locally when they're in season, from area greenhouses when they aren't and sourcing meat from local ranchers.

The Circle R's beer and wine license, which is less expensive than one that allows spirits, also is treated as an opportunity.

"I’ve become a big beer connoisseur," Paula Jo said.

The bar focuses on craft beers from across the country and features about 55 at a time.

"I'm pretty proud of my beer list," she said, adding that the wine list also has grown and improved.

The food and beer will be on full display Saturday during a beer dinner with Crazy Mountain Brewery. Five courses will be paired with five tastings from the Edwards-based brewery for $45. There are seatings at 6 and 8 p.m.

In addition to drinks and food, the Circle R also hosts live music, and its stage recently was expanded.

"We have quite a bit of talent and music coming out of the woodwork," Paula Jo said.

Talent also lines the walls with art from Paula Jo and another Oak Creek resident.

Circle R will close April 7 for mud season and reopen May 9. During the summer, the Jaconettas’ taco stand in Oak Creek, Lupita's, also will reopen.

"Food is just a good medium for me to work with," Lawrence said.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email