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Fast and healthy dining option opens in Rifle

Jerimie Richardson
Citizen Telegram Contributor
The Whistle Pig Coffee Stop and Cafe is now open for business at 121 E. Third St. Standing out front from left are, Dave Garcia, owner Sam Young, kitchen manager Elissa Nye and Makesha Peterson.
Ryan Hoffman / Citizen Telegram |

It’s no secret that Rifle is lacking when it comes to healthy dining options.

Into that breech comes the Whistle Pig Coffee Stop and Cafe, the breakfast and lunch eatery that opened its doors in the 100 block of East Third Street July 30.

The maxim for the new restaurant, says kitchen manager Elissa Nye, is fast and healthy.

“We wanted to give Rifle more healthier options. No fried foods. We like the counter service, we like that people can order and then either sit down at one of our tables, or go. … We want to listen to the community and feed them the way they want to be fed,” Nye said.

The Whistle Pig, which will also offer catering, is the brain child of owner Samantha Young and Nye, a veteran local restauranteur and longtime Rifle resident.

Both women felt that the best strategy for opening the Whistle Pig was an invite only “soft opening.”

On opening day, butcher paper was still spread across the Whistle Pig’s large bay window, obscuring the view of people passing by, as friends and family members of the Whistle Pig co-conspirators got to be the first to sample the menu of freshly made sandwiches and salads, as well as home made baked goods prepared by Andrea Matthews, who also serves as board president of the local gardening for hunger relief organization, Growing Food Forward.

Young and Nye first crossed paths at the Mermaids Connection Gathering. The Mermaids, Nye said, are a group of women who get together once a month and have a night of food and drink at someone’s house.

Nye sees the Mermaids as a “sorority,” while Young describes the Mermaids as a “support group.”

Among their fellow Mermaids, Young and Nye bonded over their shared love of food. Young had spent all of her working life in hardware retail and was eager for a career change. Nye, had been a partner in the BLT Valley Girls Catering in Basalt, and was looking to reenter the workforce after taking a few years off to focus on raising her two young sons.

Young believes in every item on her menu, but has a particular enthusiasm for the coffee.

“I love our coffees, organic milks, organic espresso,” she said.

Nye’s favorite is the Maxine, the Whistle Pig’s flagship sandwich, a roasted cage free chicken breast sandwich in which the chicken is pulled right off the bone and served with pesto mayo and sun dried tomatoes. The Maxine is the restaurant’s culinary homage to the founder of Rifle, Abram Maxfield.

Customer response during the Whistle Pig’s first weekend in business was very favorable.

“We’ve had great feedback from a lot of people,” Young stated.

Casey Pahls of Silt sat beneath the Whistle Pig’s re-purposed mason jar overhead lighting and gushed that the restaurant’s decor was “super cute, super comfortable,” adding that her avocado and grilled cheese sandwich was “very fresh.”

Young grew up in San Diego and spent some time in Loveland before moving to Rifle, last year. However, Young said she has family that has lived in the Rifle area for a hundred years. Her eyes gleamed as she described the journey toward the Whistle Pig opening.

“It was my birthday weekend, Sept. 28, when we decided,” to open the Whistle Pig, Young said. “I’ve never even worked in a restaurant.”

Now, she owns one.

The Whistle Pig is located at 121 E. Third St., and is open 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.


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