Riviera serves traditional holiday meal
Post Independent Staff
Burnice Buckowich would not have celebrated her 98th birthday at the Riviera Restaurant Monday with prime rib if weren’t for Colleen Stuart.
The restaurant, formerly known as the Riviera Supper Club, in downtown Glenwood Springs was closed earlier this year, but Stuart reopened it on Aug. 11. Now a Christmas tradition will continue.
“I’m doing this because of my mom,” said Stuart. The restaurant reopened with a new, contemporary interior, but the old sign still gracing the top of the building. “My mom had a stroke, and she was such an inspiration. She just never gave up. When I was helping take care of her and I would visit her, I saw how so many people had been forgotten.”
Stuart chose to continue the 18-year tradition of serving the Riviera’s holiday prime rib lunch to Glen Valley Rehabilitation Center residents after a visit from an old friend of the restaurant.
“Mabel (Trembley), the lady who used to do the prime rib here, came to me and asked if we could continue it,” said Stuart, who, with next-door-neighbor Pepponino’s, donated more than 50 dinners comprised of prime rib, mashed potatoes, pureed carrots, chocolate cake and sugar cookies. “We made little candy bags and Christmas pins.”
Riviera executive chef Kyle Sharp, who is new to Glenwood Springs, said he was happy to help continue the Riviera holiday tradition.
“It’s a nice kickoff to the Christmas spirit. The more nice things you do during the season, the better ” it’s contagious,” he said. “There’s so much time we spend doing nonconsequential things. This took so little time.”
Along with Riviera staff, Elam Construction and Big Horn Toyota employees joined in the holiday spirit to assist with the lunch for Glen Valley residents and their families. Diane Doose shared her afternoon with her 81-year-old father, Ivan Bishop.
“I just enjoy being with my dad and making him special,” said Doose, who grew up with former Riviera co-owner Shirley Beres in Telluride, where both women’s fathers worked in the mine. “He won’t come out without me.”
Bishop said he has always enjoyed eating at the Riviera in the 40 years of living in Glenwood Springs.
“We came in here a lot to eat,” said Bishop, who helped build the Ruedi Dam. “It was a real down-to-earth place.”
Buckowich, who came to Glenwood Springs in 1928 from a town north of Abilene, Kansas, said she would sometimes eat at the Riviera when she would come into town.
“I lived way up in the sticks,” said the mother of 7 who worked on a ranch during her life. “Shirley (Beres), she used to live up by where I lived.”
After blowing out the single candle on a slice of cheesecake, Buckowich, who wore a red wool coat with a blue scarf through her lunch, made one wish.
“For all my family to be well,” she said.
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