TELLURIDE – Every so often, a new business opens in Telluride that seems destined to become a local institution.
The Butcher and the Baker fits that bill.
Since opening just before the holiday season, main street’s newest bakery, coffeeshop, lunch spot and gourmet to-go outlet has harvested a loyal local following – so much so that it’s difficult to catch co-owners Cinda Simons and Megan Ossola in a quiet moment.
At 3 p.m. on a Monday, tables in the sunnyside main street restaurant previously occupied by Maggie’s Bakery are completely full. A gaggle of cross-country skiers fill up on Ossola’s vegetable soup and Simons’s fresh baked bread, ladies sip lattes and nibble chocolate croissants and there’s a near-constant stream of customers ordering things like teriyaki pork and slaw wraps and grilled-zucchini and goat-cheese sandwiches.
The front counter affords a clear view of the fully remodeled kitchen, where Baker Simons cuts chunks of butter into a giant mixer, and Butcher Ossola stands over a rumbling pot of tortellinis.
“It’s pretty exciting – there’s been huge local support,” says Simons, guessing that 80 percent of the Butcher and the Baker’s post-holiday business has come from locals, many visiting “day after day.”
And with good reason: The Butcher and the Baker offers fast, wholesome meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, from an ever-changing menu that features many organic ingredients.
“There’s something ‘comfort food’ about what we do,” Ossola says, noting that everything in the refrigerator case (from decadent desserts like orange-infused crème brulee to hearty dinners-to-go like cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped chicken breasts) to the soups and sandwiches on the menu are made from scratch daily.
“We start with the principle of making everything from scratch, with organic ingredients. We want to help keep locals eating organic meats and vegetables, without having to pay a bunch,” Ossola says.
Collectively, Simons and Ossola have been feeding Telluride locals and visitors for over two decades; Ossola operated Langford Catering for ten years, while Simons worked as a pastry chef in a half-dozen local restaurants before opening her own bakery/coffee shop, The Window at Chair 7, seven years ago.
The two friends shared the commercial kitchen at the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club during much of that time. It was during their many hours spent working elbow-to-elbow in that kitchen that the concept of opening a restaurant together was born.
They recall one particularly hectic holiday season, when Simons was in the middle of a pie-baking marathon, Ossola was brining a dozen turkeys, and Patty Denny (owner of Telluride Truffle, who shared the same Chair 7 kitchen for a while) was in the midst of concocting hundreds of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate treats.
Through the holiday cooking frenzy, the three saw the humor in sharing one kitchen during the busiest time of the year. Thus, the nickname “The butcher, the baker and the truffle-maker,” a twist on the childhood nursery rhyme, was born. (Truffle-maker Denny has since also opened her own just-off-main street location in Telluride.)
The new Telluride restaurant evokes memories of small-town main streets of yesteryear, where every community had a locally-owned bakery and butcher shop.
“This place is letting us cook for all of our Telluride friends and family,” Ossola says of The Butcher and the Baker, open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with a special brunch menu Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Butcher and the Baker offers a range of catering services from intimate cocktail parties to large rehearsal dinners and everything in between. Simons’s cakes are also available for special order. In addition, the restaurant is available to rent for private parties. For more information on catering or to book your party with the Butcher and the Baker, call 970/728-2899.