Closed for now, iconic Riviera getting new owner and chef | PostIndependent.com

Closed for now, iconic Riviera getting new owner and chef

Will Grandbois
will@postindependent.com

Don’t let the butcher paper on the windows fool you; Glenwood Springs’ iconic Riviera Supper Club isn’t going away — it’s just changing hands.

“We’re still closing the deal so we don’t have a specific date, but everyone’s trying to get the doors open as quickly as possible,” said prospective owner Jonathan Gorst.

Gorst is well known in the community as the pianist for the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, and will have help from chef Travis Owen, a native who got his food service start washing dishes next door at Peppo Nino.

“Jonathan and I share a deep love for the hospitality industry,” Owen said. “His vision for the future of the new Riviera Supper Club is nothing short of incredible.”

Specifically, Gorst imagines an old-fashioned piano bar in keeping with a restaurant in operation since 1947.

“A supper club back in the 1950s was a place that you would go and expect to be entertained,” he said.

He plans to have free live music Wednesday through Saturday shortly after opening, with cabaret style background during the dinner hour and more focused entertainment later in the evening.

Although he didn’t imagine buying a restaurant when he moved to the area two years ago, it’s a vision that’s been growing for a while. The fact that the opportunity comes at the corner of Seventh and Grand just as the Grand Avenue bridge project begins to ramp up doesn’t seem to faze him.

“I’ve spent a lot of time talking to other establishments that are directly affected by the bridge, and what I’ve heard is that the dinner hour has actually seen a slight increase,” he said. “I think the draw of what we’re doing will bring people in.”

As for the food itself, Owen is working with the former chef to preserve the old favorites while seizing the opportunity to bring some fresh ideas.

“This has been the chance for me to do some new things and spread my wings,” he said.

That means a seasonal menu and some exotic options like ahi spring rolls and tikka masala.

One Riviera staple, Mabel’s Prime Rib, will be disappearing from the menu — at least for now.

“Should there be a demand for it, the prime rib will return as a weekend special or menu item,” Owen assured.

“I believe food is a uniting concept,” he added. “Some of the most poignant moments of my life have occurred around the table. The alchemy that occurs when one creates an experience consisting of ambience, service and food that is so much greater than the sum of its parts is why I do what I do.”

It’s not the first time in recent years that Riviera has changed hands. Henry Zheng and Mike Mercatoris of Zheng Asian Bistro and Grind purchased the restaurant in 2013.

Gorst is proud to continue the institution’s rich history.

“I think it’s great that we get to keep the name and keep that wonderful sign,” he said.

For more information and to check out the new menu, visit fb.me/NewRivieraGlenwood.

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