Outreach: Programs and Services
This year the Aspen Grille is excited to continue our green efforts through our support of local and sustainable producers. One of our new partners, Harvest Farms, is located just north of us, in Wellington. Part of the Denver Rescue Mission, Harvest Farms offers rehabilitation, to those in need, through farming. Many of our daily menu items include the fruits of their labor.
Conceived and designed by students, the Aspen Grille offers real-world experience to students in the Hospitality Management Program within the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department.
The Aspen Grille is operated by students in the Hospitality Management program and is located in the University Club, on the upper level of the Student Center. The Aspen Grille is open to the public for lunch, Tuesday through Friday. Seating is from 11:00 AM to 1:15 PM. Please call and make your reservations, 491-7006, Tuesday through Friday between 10 and 2. And, in collaboration with the LSC Event Planning Office, and, with sufficient notice, we can offer a private luncheon for groups of seven to fourteen in the La Porte conference room. It’s great for search committees.
Despite appearances, this is no ordinary restaurant. For students majoring in Hospitality Management, Aspen Grille is a working classroom where they earn credits rather than paychecks. Four days a week, students work in the kitchen, serve customers, tend bar, and participate in virtually every aspect of the restaurant's operations, including management.
Aspen Grille evolved from a partnership between the Division of Student Affairs and the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Eager to offer a higher-end dining experience on campus, Student Affairs picked up the tab to remodel part of the University Club. Restaurant and resort management students, wishing to practice what they were learning, worked with their professors to decide on the kitchen layout, dining room decor, place settings, menu offerings, pricing, restaurant philosophy, and other details.
"This whole project has been student-driven from the beginning," says Ken Smith, former restaurateur and associate professor and coordinator of the Hospitality Management program.
Students conducted a feasibility study and then determined that the menu would offer simple, innovative cuisine, made primarily from locally and regionally produced foods. Each year, new and exciting foods are developed by students and added to the menu.
The decor carries on the restaurant's "home grown" philosophy. Colorado State graduates Becky Everitt and Bill Cotton provided, respectively, the aspen watercolors and photographs adorning the walls, and small wooden boxes holding sugar packets were made by another local alumnus.