GLENWOOD SPRINGS — One of the more-popular downtown Glenwood dining establishments also takes pride in being one of the most tip-top restaurants in town.
Juicy Lucy’s on Seventh Street reopens today following a four-week closure to do some fixing up, cleaning up and general sprucing up, just in time for the busy holiday season.
“We’re coming up on 15 years next summer, and this is something we have done every year,” said CeCe Zumwinkle, co-owner of Juicy Lucy’s with her husband David.
“After that first year, it became clear that November was one of the quieter months, so it made sense to do it then,” she said.
“We also desperately needed a vacation,” she said of the other motive for taking a little break themselves and giving the staff some vacation time as well.
This year, the annual makeover included the usual top-to-bottom cleaning of the kitchen, plus a new ceiling, a new coat of paint and some routine equipment replacement and maintenance.
“We’ve been in the business long enough to know when things need to be done, and it’s better to stay ahead of it,” said David Zumwinkle.
Prior to coming to the Roaring Fork Valley, the Zumwinkles owned and operated a pair of restaurants in Vermont. David has also worked in several other area restaurants, and knows the importance of maintaining things in proper condition.
“It’s also just important to freshen the place up every now and then,” he said.
That’s especially true of an older, historic building such as the late 1880s structure where Juicy Lucy’s is located, the Zumwinkles said.
Each year, the hardwood floors are refinished and all of the natural woodwork is given a fresh coat of wood oil.
Samuel Gonzalez of Gonzalez Tradition, who restored the historic wooden bar when the restaurant expanded a few years ago, also did a new refinishing this fall.
“He brought it back to what he considers even better than the original condition,” David Zumwinkle said of Gonzalez’ work.
In addition, the booth seat cushions were all redone this time around.
Not all restaurants have the luxury of being able to close for an extended period of time to do the kind of sprucing up Juicy Lucy’s does on a routine basis. But the seasonal nature of the restaurant business in this area makes it easier to do that, the Zumwinkles said.
“Generally, we’re closed at least three weeks to get everything done we need to have done,” David Zumwinkle said. “Every year is a little different, depending on what we want to accomplish.”
Juicy Lucy’s isn’t alone in its attention to detail when it comes to maintaining a good outward appearance for customers, and proper inside working conditions for the staff.
Italian Underground owner Ashton Durrett said he also shuts down completely for three weeks in April every year to do the same kind of top-down cleaning, maintenance and remodeling.
“It’s just a good way to do some of the things like painting and remodeling that you can’t get to otherwise,” Durrett said. “For me, once things are lined up, it’s off to the races, which usually means getting out of the country somewhere.”