New Carbondale restaurant brings family together
Patina Bar and Grille, Carbondale’s newest restaurant, is a family affair.
Jeff and Jessica Hale took over the space next to Sopris Liquor and Wine in July, and brought in their son Hunter to run the kitchen. The restaurant had a soft opening in October, and is now fully embedded in the Carbondale restaurant scene.
“My concept for this was to create a neighborhood spot,” Jessica said. “Someplace where the food was moderately priced, a place where someone could come twice a week for good, honest food.”
Jessica said she wants Patina to fill the friendly, neighborhood food gap left by downtown restaurant Russets, which closed in 2013.
For Hunter, it’s an opportunity to shine by leading his own kitchen, after working in restaurants from Aspen to Arizona.
Opening a business with your parents might not seem like a frictionless proposition, but they’ve found a way to make it work.
“When they first brought it up, I thought ‘this could get hairy.’ But it’s been really good,” Hunter said.
The family found a way to blend Hunter’s diverse chef background, which included sous chef for a Tempe, Ariz., fusion bar that served “pizza, sushi, ramen, bento box and wings,” and the parents’ vision for approachable food.
“The bistro concept gave us some flexibility in what we want to serve,” Jeff said.
For example, Hunter wanted to incorporate Asian flavors into French techniques.
“We butted heads on some stuff, but found good happy mediums,” Hunter said
What draws them all together is a shared vision and love of food. Jessica said she always wanted to own a restaurant, but her career took a different path. For many years, she created dishes and photographed them for magazines.
Hunter also found his passion for cooking at an early age.
“Other kids were watching cartoons on Saturday morning, and I was watching Food Network,” Hunter said.
Right now, the starters on Patina’s menu include fried duck wings, calamari and house-made chips with unique jarred dips. Hunter is proud of his coffee-rub pork chops, but his favorite dish is one that’s been in the family for decades.
“The halibut (dish) has been in our family for years. I remember asking (my mother) if I could have halibut for my birthday,” he said.
Patina’s lunch menu includes sandwiches, fish tacos and salads.
When Jeff and Jessica applied for their liquor license with the town in September, the board of trustees asked if they were concerned about the location.
“Obviously, downtown Carbondale has been where the main restaurants are, but I’m really not to concerned with (our location),” Jessica said. “I’ve seen in the last couple months, as we’ve worked on the place, a ton of traffic is going through there.”
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