Craig Caldwell doesn’t like to sit still.
After selling his share in The Original Brooklyn’s 10 years ago and shutting down White Fence Farm in 2018, the 74-year-old Denver native shifted his focus to Evergreen.
“I’m older, so I like to have fun and keep myself busy,” Caldwell said. “I always have something to do.”
Caldwell now owns two restaurants in Evergreen. And he’s about to open a third called Troutdale Tavern, a burger and pizza joint, at 30790 Stagecoach Blvd.
“I know almost everyone in Evergreen because of those two restaurants,” Caldwell said. “But I want to hear about new families and young residents who have recently moved here through this new place.”
For 10 years, the entrepreneur has led the restoration programs for eight public golf courses in the area, including four in Denver, two in Westminster and one in Evergreen, with his brother Kevin and former Brooklyn partner Dave Keefe.
Caldwell and Keefe opened The Original Brooklyn’s at 2644 W. Colfax Ave. near Mile High Stadium in 1983 and a second next to Ball Arena when it opened in 1999. Keefe still owns both.
After taking over the Evergreen Golf Course Restoration Program, Denver City and County Parks contracted Caldwell and its partners to manage Keys on the Green, the golf course’s original clubhouse. , overlooking Evergreen Lake, which has been transformed into an upscale restaurant.
And in 2020, before the pandemic, Caldwell and another business partner, Rob Waterman, opened Parkside Cafe, a breakfast restaurant at 1338 County Road 65.
“There was a real need for a traditional sit-down breakfast place in the community,” Caldwell said. “I always ask people what they want to see.”
Caldwell is kind of a ready-made guy.
Just as he felt the community needed breakfast, the entrepreneur noticed the need for more mid-priced restaurants in town.
In January, he and Waterman signed a lease for the 5,000 square foot space at Troutdale Tavern, which previously housed the Stagecoach Sports Grill. The tavern, which he hopes to open in May, will serve burgers with meat from a local cattle rancher, wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches and salads.
Broker Mark Valente of Sanborn and Co. represented Caldwell and Waterman in the Parkside Cafe deal, and he represented the owner in the Troutdale Tavern deal.
Troutdale Tavern is named after Evergreen’s historic Troutdale In The Pines hotel, located half a mile from the golf course on Upper Bear Creek Road and closed in 1961. Rich and famous guests like Mary Pickford, Gretta Garbo and Clark Gable were on the guest list.
The tavern will showcase the hotel through historic photos and murals.
“The people of Evergreen know the story of Troutdale, and if they don’t, we want to tell that story,” he said.
Last year, Caldwell set her sights on Denver when an opportunity to open a cafe and bar on the ground floor of The Link office building presented itself.
“They call and I answer,” he said.
Caldwell and Waterman opened Vibe Coffee and Wine at 1490 Curtis St. in downtown Denver in June.
Waterman is neighbors with one of The Link’s project managers and after inquiring about the project, he was offered the space. Caldwell had only had one cup of coffee in his life, and Waterman had no previous experience running a cafe. But with the help of their employees, they decided to try their luck.
The Link, a 12-story office building developed last year by California-based SteelWave and Miami-based Rialto Capital Management, has no office tenants yet, but Caldwell said the performance crowd from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts had helped keep things afloat. .
The building’s developers paid for most of the construction of the Vibe space, Waterman said.
Waterman and Caldwell met in the 1990s while running a casino transportation business in the mountains. They also launched Colorado Transportation, which provides transportation for people with disabilities and special needs, in 2017.
Caldwell made national headlines in 2019 after settling a discrimination case he was involved in.
After closing its White Fence Farm location at 1025 E. 9th Ave. on Capitol Hill in 2016, Caldwell found a Muslim father and son, Zuned and Rashad Kahn, owners of Curry N Kebob, an Indian restaurant in Boulder, to sublet the space.
But the landlord, Katina Gatchis, a Greek woman who also owns Capitol Hill Liquors in the same building, refused to allow subtenants because of their ethnicity.
Caldwell took tapes of his landlord and his son saying “No Muslims”. He filed a lawsuit with the Kahns in 2017 and Gatchis was forced to pay the men $675,000 following a settlement in 2019.
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