New Thai restaurant, established faces in new places in Basalt
The Aspen Times
Some long-established faces are relocating to new places in Basalt while a new Thai restaurant will debut in April.
The Midland Avenue Mall on the west end of the town’s main street is at the center of activity. Hot Mama’s moved out of its home of roughly 15 years in a detached building that’s associated with the Midland Avenue Mall. It relocated to a larger space in the main mall building, according to Shae Singer. She has owned Midland Avenue Mall with her husband, James Bond, since the early 1980s.
Hot Mama’s features handcrafted jewelry, handbags, home decor and fashion accessories. It is open at the new location and known as Hot Mama’s at Bleu Door Boutique. The new space has a storefront on Midland Avenue, adjacent to the Faboo clothing store.
Taking over the old Hot Mama’s site is Mod Thai House, according to Singer. Manny Diaz, a former chef at Jimmy’s in Aspen, is opening the restaurant with his wife, Mod, one of the chefs at Home Team BBQ.
Singer said that after several years of experience in the Aspen-area restaurant scene, Manny and Mod were well prepared to open their own business. They compiled a thick binder on their plan and how to achieve it.
“They had been working on their restaurant plan for seven years,” she said. “This is living their dream that they’ve had for seven years.”
There will be limited seating in the restaurant, but space outside for the warm-weather months. The restaurant plans to serve lunch and dinner with an emphasis on fast service and takeout, Singer said. They also plan to offer a non-Thai food special of the day and a simple children’s menu, Singer said.
A final piece of the puzzle at Midland Avenue Mall is the relocation of Confluence Coffee House from a nearby building into a location behind Bleu Door Boutique, Singer said. Confluence Coffee will gain space so it will expand its menu and offer more to-go foods, Singer said.
Confluence owner Jeremy Kentz bought the coffee house when it was known as Saxy’s Cafe in the brick Little Snell building across from Town Hall. A coffee shop has been a fixture at that spot since Saxy’s opened in 2005.
The coffee shop’s space in the Snell building changed hands last year. It wasn’t immediately known what will take the place of Confluence Coffee House.
Singer said the relocated coffee shop will have access via the front of Midland Avenue Mall building and direct access from the back. There will be a deck available for patrons of the coffee shop as well as the Thai restaurant, she said.
Both Mod Thai House and Confluence Coffee House plan to open in early April, according to Singer.
The deck will be an inviting place with shade structures and comfortable chairs.
“The men can hang out there on a porch swing while their wives are shopping,” Singer said.
Neither Kentz nor Diaz could be reached for comment at their businesses Monday.
Midland Avenue Mall is rounded out with Jul Beauty and Hair Salon. The downtown commercial core has experienced resurgence with new shops, restaurants and offices opening after tough times during the Great Recession. Few vacancies remain. Part of the appeal is Basalt’s historic character and distinctive architecture, Singer said. She feels that sets it off from Willits Town Center in West Basalt, which is anchored by Whole Foods.
“I think Basalt is a very exciting place to be right now,” Singer said. “I’ve always been a huge proponent of Basalt — the heartbeat of the valley, center of the universe.”