Raising the bar on Telluride bars: "There" here

Raising the bar on Telluride bars: "There" here

 Telluride Inside…. and Out was on our way home from a booksigning at the Wilkinson Public Library, Bob Rubadeau's latest novel, ("Gatsby's Last Resort," a murder mystery set in Telluride), when we remembered that Jeff Badger, owner of Siam, had let slip that the "soft" opening of his new bar on Pacific Street was Tuesday night. It was Tuesday night. Why not check out the scene just down the road a piece?

This is not, I promise you, the grapefruit martini speaking. Which followed the glass of a crisp sauvignon blanc. Just before the shitaki sticky buns. The shrimp lettuce wraps. And the asparagus hand wraps. Nope, none of the lubricants or the taste treats or the good vibrations from the crowd had any influence whatsoever on what I am about to uncork. I mean, reveal.

Gertrude Stein eat dirt. There is a "There" there. And "There" is here in Telluride.

The bread crumbs lead back to Jeff Badger's home state.

While sailing in Maine in the summer of 2004, Badger met his wife Surang. By November, she had moved to Telluride with a suitcase full of Thai ingredients. In December 2005, the couple opened the first Siam in Ridgway, which is sort of like opening in Boston first if your play is Broadway bound. When Las Montagnes vacated their space on Pacific Avenue for a Main Street address, the Badgers jumped on it. That was June 2006.

Originally Siam was all about authentic but very traditional Thai cuisine. After the first year, the place flexed some muscle and started to develop original fusion dishes: chicken cordon bleu (Niko Siam), tekka maki roll (Siam's crispy tekka maki) and Molly's lobster (Atlantic lobster with Molly's grandma's hollandaise recipe converted to Thailandaise by adding lime, coconut milk and sherry to the sauce) are a few examples on a long list. Next, a supremely confident Siam went further out a limb, creating its very own contemporary Asian dishes and sauces: soy paper wraps and mango miso.

Dorothy, this is not Thailand anymore.

Siam was on a roll. That was the good news. The bad news was the long lines at its door, with waits for up to two hours , with no place for the crowds to sit. (Four seats and the tiny service bar obviously could not accommodate the overflow.)

"There" became the answer.

"There" evolved out of Jeff Badger's regular trips to New York to check out the great restaurants. One of his favorite stops was Nobu 57, the successful offspring of the original Nobu on downtown Hudson Street. At Nobu 57, the handsome young bar manager, Andrew Tyler, a former model/entrepreneur, would tempt Badger with a seemingly endless succession of custom cocktails, which Badger, a teetotaler, refused, preferring the bottle of Fiji water Tyler would set before him as the parade of small food began to arrive.

The two friends got the ALL-CAPS MESSAGE loud and clear: raise the bar on bars in Telluride by creating a place that would draw on their complementary strengths: Asian tapas and custom drinks.



"There" was designed as the before and after Siam. Siam's crowds can now visit the hip little bar, a Western spin on a Prohibition speakeasy, for cocktails and appetizers, before heading across the street for dinner – or not. The menu at "There" has more than enough to satisfy and many bites are just $4.

Steamed Buns
Pork Tenderloin
Shiitake Mushrooms
Crispy Duck Breast

Sashimi Tostados
Hamachi (Yellow Tail)
Yellow Fin Tuna
King Crab

Soy Paper Wraps
Asian Jerk Salmon
Curried Chicken and Beef
Shrimp Tempura
Fried Green Curry
King Crab Leg
Soft Shell Crab
Crispy Tofu

S.E. Asian Lettuce Wraps
Curried Chicken and Beef Sliders
Date and Cheese

Very Special Fresh Ramen Soup
Duck Breast
King Crab Leg
Pork Tenderloin

Cereal Milk Soft Serve
Warm Cookies

"There's" hours of operation? Open seven days/week, 3 p.m. for apres ski – close.

We're "There." You?

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