MOUNTAIN VILLAGE – Throughout the 1990s, Telluride chef John Gerona and wife Janice were known for their Pacific Street Deli on Telluride’s west side – a locals’ favorite where their then-young daughter Nina learned to run the cash register.
The Gerona family has now come full circle, as the threesome are again at the helm of what is destined to be another treasured locals’ haunt, The Village Table.
The new Mountain Village restaurant boasts a beautifully eclectic menu, deemed by the owners to be “global soul food” -- blending the myriad of flavors and techniques Gerona has honed in his many decades as a Telluride chef, caterer, and world traveler.
“There is so much food out there in the world, and I have a great love of experimenting with different spices, techniques, and ingredients… to say we do just one style of food here just doesn’t fit,” Gerona says of the Village Table’s generous menu, which offers a large selection of tapas, or small plates, alongside an extensive entrée selection.
Gerona, who originally hails from Spain, leaned heavily on his Spanish upbringing in creating the flavor and feel of his new restaurant, which is located in the Mountain Village core across from the Telluride Conference Center in the Centrum building. And although the restaurant’s tapas menu boasts a distinctively Spanish flair, with such small plate standbys as sliced jamon Serrano, olives and Marcona almonds, a gourmet cheese plate, and more, Gerona’s Italian mother and classic French training has also infused the Village Table’s menu with more worldly tastes. The dinner menu runs the gamut from a hearty paella to a French-inspired seafood pasta dish to a curried braised lamb shank to a traditional grilled filet mignon, while the tapas menu also offers an array of flavor influences like barbequed baby back ribs, salmon napoleon in puff pastry, and crab cakes with a sweet corn remoulade.
“There is a lot of Spanish and Mediterranean influences, but we didn’t want to just focus on Spain – we want to have the option of adding a good Chinese dish as a special, or a Greek moussaka, or an Indian curry… people have a lot of exposure to different foods and flavors, and in Telluride, there is a high expectation of what kind of food is being served,” Gerona says of the evolution of the Village Table menu.
Gerona’s wide range of cooking styles have been honed throughout his many years as a chef and caterer in Telluride, having moved to Telluride in 1987 to take a job as the chef at La Marmotte. He and Janice opened Bread and Roses catering in 1990, and three years later started Pacific Street Deli. Gerona has headed up the backstage catering for the Blues and Brews festival since the festival’s inception 20 years ago, and had recently been looking for a commercial kitchen in which to grow his successful catering business.
The Mountain Village location, which last housed the Bistro Isabel but had been vacant since that restaurant closed in 2007, emerged as not only a place to grow his catering business, but also for the family to explore opening another restaurant. Janice, whose has worked in her real estate office in Mountain Village for the last 14 years, says that there was a dining niche that needed to be filled in Mountain Village; a place that bridged the gap between bar food and fine dining.
The Village Table has done just that, providing a casual and festive atmosphere with its inviting bar and communal-feeling dining room, offering value alongside the eclectic, exceptional dishes Gerona has become known for.
The Village Table is open every day except Tuesdays, serving lunch starting at 11 a.m. and dinner starting at 5 p.m. There are half-price tapas everyday from 4-6 p.m.