Rocky Mountain Chuck Wagon to close its doors Friday
Owner Bobby Howard made the tough decision Tuesday night, announcing the closure scheduled for Friday
A little more than a year after opening the Rocky Mountain Chuck Wagon at the Quality Inn and Suites, owner Bobby Howard made the difficult decision to close the restaurant’s doors this week, citing an inability to retain staffing and provide quality service to its customers.
The restaurant’s official Facebook page made the announcement to the community Tuesday night, setting a closure for Friday.
When reached for comment regarding the closure Wednesday, Howard cited staffing issues and a decline in the level of service the restaurant was able to provide.
“Our biggest problem was just keeping employees,” Howard said. “We couldn’t keep and train employees enough to continue to make a good product, it was just far too much needed there. I don’t know if it’s unrelated to unemployment or not, but it was a real struggle for us.”
When the Chuck Wagon opened in February 2020, Howard was aiming for a high-end restaurant specializing in steaks, burgers, chicken and more.
“We want this to be a top restaurant,” Howard said shortly after opening the Chuck Wagon. “It’s a casual dining experience with bar services. But we’re not going to be a bar with food; we’re going to be a restaurant with a bar. We want to serve people good food and give them everything they need to have a positive experience here.”
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, causing health restrictions to make things more difficult for a new restaurant, eventually leading to staffing issues, which ultimately led to the restaurant being unable to provide the quality of service Howard strived for.
“It’s been something I’ve been trying to avoid for a couple of months now, since probably January,” Howard said. “We worked really hard to keep it going, but it’s just…the constant struggles. The last straw was when we had a really slow night and a table had horrible service, and I said I just couldn’t keep putting out a product like that.”
With the decision to close the doors, Howard — who co-owns The Chow Hall — says he will take the lessons learned from the Chuck Wagon experience and apply those to the oven-baked sub shop. The regulars who frequented the Chuck Wagon are the ones Howard feels for the most.
“They’re why I was fighting so hard for the last few months to correct the problem and stay open,” Howard said. “I tried to get other people that would try to take it over, but I couldn’t find anyone to find the effort or time to take it over. It’s a good product, just needed a lot of attention. I’m really sorry, I really loved our regulars; they’re wonderful guests and enjoyed serving them this last year.”
Howard added that Friday will feature 50% off of every item on the menu while supplies last.
Managing Editor Joshua Carney can be reached at 970-875-1790 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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