Changing Food and Drink Scene!

Popular Local Restaurants and Hangouts Featuring New Owners/Operators

Trevor Phipps

With all of the new businesses coming into Teller County, the area has experienced a new scene for foodies in the high country.

Now, the region sports a lot more eateries in the region and  a wider variety of choices than past years.

The recent changes in the food scene have also brought about a change of hands with long standing food and drink hubs. Previous owners want to step aside as new entrepreneurs purchase the businesses to follow their dreams of owning a restaurant.

During the last city council meeting, there were two items on the agenda dealing with transferring current liquor licenses of popular hubs, with new owners ready to take the helm of these businesses. The famous Swiss Chalet and the Woodland Country Lodge both were on the list of businesses recently changing hands.

The Pub at Woodland Country Lodge Under New Management

The council in their most recent meeting approved, without hesitation, the transfer of a hotel and restaurant liquor license to Sara Hutchison of Over Ice LLC. The previous owners sold the restaurant and pub business to Hutchison, and she will now serve as the owner/operator with a two year lease.

Hutchison spoke at the most recent council meeting and told panel members and WP Zoom followers that she was looking forward to taking over the unique venue at the Country Lodge. “I think it is absolutely beautiful and I want to get in there and give locals a nice place to go,” Hutchison said. “After the closing of Carmen: A Tapas  Grill & Bar, a lot of customers from there need another nice place to go. I love specialty ice teas and lemonades and I plan on having all of that set up on the outside bar area this summer.”

Hutchison said that she is currently working on the new menu for the pub, but due to the small kitchen at the location, the options will be limited. She said that for now they are going to be focusing on serving items, such as appetizers, soups and breads during the winter, and then she will add to the menu when they can grill outside during the summer.

Mountainara Italian Cuisine Owners Buy the Swiss Chalet

The Woodland Park City Council also approved the transfer of the hotel and restaurant liquor license from the Swiss Chalet to Roberto Calcagno. Calcagno and his wife are the current owners of the newly opened Mountainara Italian Cuisine, located in the Gold Hill South Shopping Center.

Calcagno said that he jumped on the opportunity to become the owner of one of Woodland Park’s oldest and most famous eateries. “We are very excited to have taken over an icon in Woodland Park,” Calcagno said. “I still cannot believe it to be honest. The Swiss Chalet was the first restaurant I visited five years ago when I first moved to Colorado. It has always been a very particular family owned business and the previous owners wanted to continue that legacy.”

Calcagno said that he is currently working on some remodeling work on the building and he plans to reopen at the end of the month. He said that they are going to make some small changes but not anything major.

“The menu is still going to have a couple items from the old management,” the new Swiss Chalet owner said. “But I am going to extend it even more for the fine dining setting bringing food from everywhere in Europe.”

Other New Restaurant Takeovers

The Crystola Roadhouse was another local eatery that changed ownership at the start of 2023. Since the new owners have taken over the long-standing establishment, rumors have circulated that they are going to make a few changes including a new food menu and possibly the addition of line dancing lessons to add to their entertainment lineup. Visit their new website at

The Circle H Smokehouse was once a popular eatery in Woodland Park, but shortly after the pandemic the business’ previous owners decided to call it quits and list the business and building for sale. The old Smokehouse has sat empty for several years, but in the last few months local residents were excited to see the for sale signs down and construction activity taking place on the property.

In the last few weeks, social media pages in the area started getting flooded with posts from the new business owners saying that they are currently renovating the old building and planning to open a new restaurant at the site soon.