Local chef Jason Higens will celebrate the grand opening of his new restaurant on Friday, debuting the dinner menu at the Lazy Bear Restaurant in New Castle beginning at 5 p.m.
The restaurant, located at 285 W. Main St., began serving breakfast and lunch in May but will now expand to include dinner service and a full bar after obtaining a liquor license July 3.
The dinner menu will include a variety of steakhouse entrees, which Higens described as “traditional European cuisine.” Menu items range from filet mignon and jumbo shrimp to calamari and Wiener Schnitzel.
“There was a big need for something a little more upscale in New Castle,” said Higens, a New Castle resident. “We felt there was a niche for us.”
Higens said all food at the Lazy Bear Restaurant is handmade, including fresh pastries and omelets for breakfast and gourmet salads and cheeseburgers for lunch. Every Saturday and Sunday, the restaurant serves breakfast all day.
Prior to opening the Lazy Bear Restaurant, Higens owned the 8th Street Deli in downtown Glenwood Springs, which he acquired in 2004 and transformed into the Haute Plate Bistro four years later.
“8th Street Deli was a little sandwich shop,” Higens explained. “Once I owned it, I had the opportunity to expand it into being an actual restaurant, and we got into catering and specialty foods.”
Higens owned the Haute Plate Bistro through April of this year, at which point a disagreement over the lease prompted him to close the restaurant and convert the business to Haute Plate Catering, which he is operating alongside the Lazy Bear Restaurant.
As a chef, Higens trained under Kurt Wigger, who previously owned the Sopris Restaurant south of Glenwood Springs on Highway 82. After his training, Higens worked as a chef in the restaurant for 10 years and also worked for a while at Stonebridge Inn in Snowmass.
In the future, Higens hopes to expand the Lazy Bear Restaurant to include outdoor seating as well as weekly live music performances.
“Our goal is to become a locals’ favorite for meetings and dining with family and friends,” Higens said.