New Changing of the Guard at Woodland Park’s County Lodge Pub

“Over Ice” Gaining Strong Local Support

Trevor Phipps

As new eateries enter the Teller high country, other staple businesses have changed ownership with operators featuring a new culinary lineup or making modest changes.

That has become a familiar trend in the ever-changing Woodland Park restaurant scene.

When new owners decide to take on a well-known business, sometimes they change things completely, and other times they decide to keep some of the old with the new.

Earlier this year, the Woodland Country Lodge Pub, located inside the hotel in Woodland Park, was another business that changed ownership. Mark Rabaut, the longtime owner of the pub, decided to sell the bar and restaurant business. As a result, he handed the pub reins over to the new owner, Sara Hutchinson.

And instead of keeping things the exact same, Hutchinson has decided to switch up the menu and offer a small selection of new delicious items. After being in business for just a few months, Hutchinson’s new venture entitled “Over Ice” has already struck the heart strings of the locals.

The new owner said when the opportunity arose, she jumped on the chance to purchase the old Country Lodge Pub mainly due to its unique location. “The reason I wanted to take this place over is because it is such a beautiful venue,” Hutchinson said. “And, a lot of our locals are familiar with it. We have exciting plans for the summer with the patio. We plan to have lots of drink specials and tea specials and things like that.”

Hutchinson is  certainly no rookie or newcomer to the restaurant industry. In fact, she once managed a Mexican food restaurant in Grand Junction for several years. After that, she took a break from the culinary industry until she was hired by the owners of Carmen a Tapas, following the COVID outbreak and associated closure. Hutchinson worked there until the business closed in late 2022.

Once Carmen a Tapas shut down, Hutchinson said she felt that it was devastating for the community.

She wanted to open up Over Ice as a place where people who used to enjoy Carmen a Tapas could go with a similar atmosphere.

Currently, the pub and eatery has a small menu and they focus on foods like various soups and sandwiches. “Right now, we have a very small kitchen. It’s not much bigger than a walk-in closet,” the Over Ice owner said. “So, we don’t have an extravagant menu. We have a small menu that we switch up often because it is so small back there. But, we get creative with it. We are always trying different things and asking people what they are interested in us doing.”

She did say though, that this summer when they are able to fire up the grill outside, they plan on expanding the menu. She said that one of their plans is to do a steak special on Friday and Saturday nights.

She also said that their full bar enables them to make any cocktail their customers desire and their specialty and most popular drink has been their blackberry lemonade with jalapeno vodka. This summer, she said she plans to bring in more seasonal wines and specialty martinis. She also wants to expand their beer selection in the near future.

Hutchinson said that she plans to bring live music back to the venue and she is asking for musicians to bring in demos so they can book some shows for the summer season. The eatery did bring music back to the location on St. Patrick’s Day when the local band, Tava Blue, put on a special holiday performance before a festive crowd. Both the show, and the accompanying, special Reuben sandwiches, were a big hit.

“I am very excited about the surge of new restaurants here in Woodland Park, I think it’s exciting for all of us here,” Hutchinson said. “I wish success for all of us. I think Woodland Park is in need of all of us opening.”

Hutchinson said that she wanted to thank the previous owner, Mark Rabaut, for giving her the chance to create a new venue at his hotel. She also wanted to thank her good friend Brittney Giltner, who has taken on the challenge of opening the new eatery with her.

The new venue plans on having the full patio open by Memorial Day Weekend with the outdoor and indoor bars both open. When the weather permits, customers will be able to enjoy the venue’s full patio with indoor and outdoor seating.

Over Ice also plans on continuing to be a place where people can book private events. If anyone is interested in planning an event at the location, they can contact