Barons: A new Grand Junction cafe on Colorado Avenue
Cafe owner Jon Baron has lived in Colorado for 25 years, but there’s still some things he misses about the East Coast. Like the eggplant Parmesan and chicken Parmesan sandwiches — popular foods where he grew up.
You’ll find those sandwiches on the menu, along with a huge selection of both meat and vegetarian sandwiches and wraps, at his new Barons cafe in Grand Junction, located at 539 Colorado Ave.
There’s the Beach burger, a seared wild ahi filet with organic baby greens, tomato, red onion, pickle and mayo on a toasted poppy seed roll. The Wrath of Jon is a hot sub with chopped and sauteed turkey, ham, roast beef, cheddar, jalapenos, tomato, banana peppers, pickles, roasted garlic aioli, artichoke hearts, sriracha and roasted garlic aioli. And for vegetarians, the Love Boat is a sub of hummus, fresh mozzarella, organic greens, tomato, cucumber, red onion, and house tahini dressing. Or there’s the PBJ with organic peanut butter and strawberry or apricot jam grilled with butter on rosemary potato bread.
Baron uses organic eggs in his breakfast sandwiches and in the breading of the eggplant Parmesan. Most of the meats are hormone and antibiotic free and the milk is also organic. During the summer, he plans to use locally grown produce.
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Italian espresso is on the menu, made from Lone Cone coffee beans roasted in Montrose, Colo. His pastries are baked fresh by Beth Branscum, his “wonderful baker” who also teaches baking at the Western Colorado Community College.
Baron, 46, hasn’t changed the decor much from the former Rocky Mountain Pub that used to be in that location, but he and a loyal group of friends and employees did a deep cleaning, polished the wooden beams, and removed thousands of staples from years of posters stuck to the walls in time for a New Year’s Eve opening.
He also removed two pool tables, and left two. The stage remains, where Baron said there will occasionally be live music.
He’s considering knocking out a wall in front of the north-facing building to install an outdoor patio in the summer.
Barons continues to offer a full bar, and now it’s a full restaurant as well — serving food until midnight Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and until 10 p.m. the other week days. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday, and 10 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
During the day Barons delivers food orders to downtown Grand Junction businesses.
The atmosphere at Barons is casual; customers order at the counter and a staff person delivers the meals to the table.
The food is great, said Caole Lowry, who owns Planet Earth & the 4 Directions Gallery across the street.
Griff Chiono, a chef at Bin 707 Foodbar, agrees.
“I’ve had a few sandwiches that were really good,” Chiono said. “I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews — it seems pretty unanimous.
“The Tubby Tuna (salad) is my personal favorite.”
Baron employs seven people — all of whom he’s known for a long time, he said.
“Everyone here — they’re exceptional people,” Baron said. “I am blessed to say the least.”
Business has been good even though the former pub at the site was known as a dive bar (where people lined up in the morning waiting for a drink). Baron said he is working to overcome that reputation and doesn’t allow people to hang out and drink all day — to the chagrin of some former customers of the Rocky Mountain Pub.
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