New Castle Cafe closes its doors |

New Castle Cafe closes its doors

Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

NEW CASTLE, Colorado ” Native Brett Jolley was a regular customer at the New Castle Cafe in the mornings for years, as was his father, Dick, before him.

“I didn’t go every morning, but most days ” probably four out of seven,” Jolley said. “My dad went every morning. A lot of the old-timers hung out in there drinking coffee.”

Owner Pam Bunn closed the doors of the New Castle Cafe on May 31, after nine years.

“I’m tired,” Bunn said. “I owned it for over nine years and ran it for 10. In 10 years, I haven’t taken any time off. I feel bad because I loved what I was doing and I loved the customers, but I’m just worn out.”

Bunn gets choked up when she thinks about her regular customers ” local residents, ranchers and the old-timers, including her dad, Pete Mattivi, a former longtime mayor and noted citizen of the town. Mattivi, who will turn 103 this year, has now lived at Crossroads Assisted Living at Rifle for the past two years, but could always be seen having breakfast every morning at his daughter’s restaurant.

“From 8 to 8:30 every morning we had the local ranchers and the coffee drinkers. We had a lot of regulars ” and it was generational,” Bunn said. “I could just about look at a (meal) ticket and tell who I was cooking for.”

The New Castle Cafe was started by former mayor and town administrator Steve Rippy, and his wife Becky, in Feb. 1998. The couple had purchased the building in 1997, which was then Schroeder’s General Store and renamed it the New Castle General Store. In 1998, they remodeled the west side of the building and put in the New Castle Cafe. Bunn managed the cafe for the first year.

In Feb. 1999, Bunn bought the cafe portion of the building from the Rippys. She expanded the menu and continued to offer breakfast and lunch.

Three and a half years ago, Bunn started a steakhouse menu, offering prime rib specials on Friday and Saturday nights.

While business was good, finding reliable help was a struggle.

“It’s hard to get people that you can rely on,” she said. “We’ve had some wonderful staff, but we couldn’t get someone as a cook. Our latest cook couldn’t afford to live here ” to buy or to rent. And small businesses can’t afford to pay the high wages they pay upvalley.”

The closing of the New Castle Cafe has disappointed a lot of people. Bunn said she’s gotten a lot of comments, but they haven’t all been “happy ones.” But for the most part, her customers have thanked her.

“They said thanks for all the good fun, thanks for being here and we’re gonna miss you,” she said.

Bunn is now working full-time in the Garfield County Clerk and Recorder’s office in Glenwood Springs ” a job she held 10 years ago. And she remains on the town council in New Castle.

The business and historic building on Main Street have been up for sale for the past year and Bunn hopes someone else will open another cafe.

“I’m hoping that someone will fulfill the need New Castle has for a small town, hometown cafe,” she said. “I’ll sell it, lease it ” whatever. I’d like to see it stay as a cafe. It broke my heart to close it, but it was something I had to do.”

Those interested in purchasing the property should contact Bunn at 984-3677.

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