Bayou says bye-bye to West Glenwood
By Greg Massé
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – After 19 years serving gumbo, spicy shrimp, hurricanes and beer on its sun-drenched deck, the Bayou restaurant is moving downtown.
The Cajun-style eatery, located at 52103 Highway 6 & 24, will remain in its present location for one last summer before moving to 919 Grand Ave. – the home of Gold Ring Pawn – in December.
Long a favorite of summer visitors looking to indulge in some spicy food and luscious libations, the Bayou is known for its giant frog face on the roof and Mardi Gras-style decorations inside. All the beads, pictures, flags, nets and streamers will be taken down this fall and moved.
“We’re taking everything,” Bayou owner Steven Beham said. “If it’s on the walls now, it will be on the walls at the new place.”
The move was prompted when the restaurant’s landlord told Beham he would terminate the restaurant’s lease.
“There was some fear, let me tell you,” he said. “We were five months away from our lease ending and us not having a restaurant.”
But that will no longer be a problem once Beham buys the building that will become the Bayou’s new digs.
According to Sandra Lee, co-owner of Gold Ring Pawn, the sale of 919 Grand Ave. is expected to close by Aug. 1. Her business isn’t closing, but, like the Bayou, it’s relocating.
After her pawn shop’s liquidation sale ends on Tuesday, Lee will bring all remaining items to Gold Ring’s new location at 445 Main St. in Silt.
“We’re going to concentrate on selling rings, jewelry and guitars,” she said.
Changes at the Bayou
Although there will be no deck at the Bayou’s new location, Beham said the total floor space at the Grand Avenue location is 750 square feet bigger than at the West Glenwood location.
And unlike now, there are plans to start serving lunch at the new location.
“It’ll have a similar menu. Lunchtime is a quick-serve meal,” he said. “Maybe we’ll have two or three kinds of gumbo. Our lunch menu will be different from our dinner menu.”
The new space will allow for a larger kitchen, more year-round seating and a space for bands to play.
“We used to do bands here,” Beham said as he gazed outside to his restaurant’s deck.
The plan, he says, is to entice younger women to frequent the new Bayou.
“If you attract the 21- to 27-year-old female age group the men will follow,” he said. “We want to attract a crowd that will later become our dinner crowd.”
Beham said he plans to hire ska, reggae, bluegrass and alternative bands to help rein in that younger crowd.
“I don’t foresee a lot of rock ‘n’ roll. There will be no 50-year-olds playing 40-year-old covers,” he said.
The restaurant will also serve food until closing time.
Another change from the old Bayou will be the availability of beer on tap. He plans to run lines up from the building’s large basement.
The place also will have a small sit-down bar in the back.
The outside of the building will see some drastic changes, as well.
The bright yellow paint job on Gold Ring Pawn will be changed to a more historical and less-bright color.
“We’re going to duplicate as near as possible and functional to 1933,” he said.
At that time, the building was a grocery store.
“We’re trying to work with the city to make downtown look like they want it to,” he said.
He also plans to build a false-front second floor with a false – but historically-sensitive – facade including windows and a fake balcony.
“This will just be a fake frontage,” he said.
City sign codes won’t allow the frog to go on the roof, but Beham insists he’ll find a place for the frog somewhere.
“It will remain in one form or another,” he said. “The frog will live!”
With all these changes, Beham vows that some things will stay just as they are.
“The attitude, atmosphere and affordability will not change,” Beham said.
Some patrons have asked whether he sees a parking problem at the new location. Beham suggests that there’s nothing wrong with getting a little exercise.
“Look at it as, ‘Let’s take a stroll and have a bite to eat,'” he said.
If all goes well, Beham said he hopes the Bayou will give downtown a much-needed shot in the arm and it will force other downtown bars to follow suit.
“It’s the whole reason I’m doing this,” he said. “I love this town. I lived here when we had five live bands going all the time. My biggest hope is that by having live music, other bars will feel the need to do the same to compete with us, which will help all of us.”
Contact Greg Massé: 945-8515, ext. 511
Each year, the Lions Club uses race proceeds from the FireKracker 4K race to provide eye examinations and eye glasses for those in the Roaring Fork Valley who are in need.
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