New Sheridan Complex: All in the Family

New Sheridan Complex: All in the Family

At the New Sheridan Hotel complex, enterprise, high-end hospitality meets warm familiarity. For packages & deals, go here. To make a reservation at the Chop House, click here.

Telluride’s New Sheridan Hotel and its ancillary offerings — which range from the high-end Chop House restaurant to The Roof Bar and the more informal Phoenix Bean coffee shop and grill next door — bring all you would expect from a high-end historic mountain town enterprise.

There are the bespoke cocktails, top-notch cuts of meat, historic wainscoting in the hallways and endearing creaks of a historically significant building. Black-and-white portraits of the town in a bygone era line the walls, and the dining room of the Chop House — filled nearly every night of high season with people enjoying languid meals — tinkles in a charming way under the low lights of dinner.

And then, of course, there is the location: smack dab in the heart of town, and in one of southwest Colorado’s most iconic buildings. Constructed in 1895 and meticulously renovated a decade ago, the brick building has been the scene of carousing, indulgent meals and pampered stays for well over 100 years — and all the finest Victorian details remain intact.

But offering a high-end and history-imbued experience isn’t even what really makes the Sheridan stand out from Telluride’s other luxury establishments. For that, look to the staff. That’s where you’ll find a close-knit crew of service industry veterans who have been taking care of Sheridan customers — be it first-timers or old regulars — for decades.

“It’s definitely the ‘Cheers’ mentality here, and I’m serious when I say that,” said Johnny Lombino, who was our server on a recent night out at the Chop House.

Lombino has been at the restaurant for 15 years, staying on for a few nights a week even as his small business, Sol Paddleboards, has taken off.

He’s not an anomaly; returning to the Chop House over the years offers a comforting sight that’s rare in the high-flux world of resort restaurants: familiar faces. Under the calm direction of Ray Farnsworth, who has been overseeing the Sheridan operation for 21 years, there has been remarkable consistency. Employees like bartender Steve Foster and food and beverage manager Nick Kenworthy have also been there for well over a decade, and with that stability comes an adept hospitality. These guys are pros.

Ray Farnsworth is the face of the New Sheridan complex. And familiar faces make places.

“I know it sounds cliché, but we really have a family here,” said Farnsworth, who still handpicks each employee, even as the staff balloons to 130 in the high season.

Not that that loyalty spawned by this consistency has allowed the crew to become complacent. For Farnsworth, it’s all about maintaining the high level of excellence owed to customers for patronizing the establishment. And that means taking care of each person who walks in the door: making sure locals feel appreciated, regulars are recognized and visitors have a memorable experience.

My husband and I encountered all of that on a recent staycation at the Sheridan. With our first daughter due in two months, the overnight jaunt offered a chance for quality time and relaxation before the monumental life shift changes everything.

And the Sheridan turned out to be the ideal destination.

Over a 2 1/2-hour meal at the Chop House, we dined on juicy morsels of king crab legs, sumptuous falling-apart duck over jasmine rice and elk sirloin served with crispy potatoes and a decadent brown sauce, mopping it all up with sourdough Blue Grouse Bread baked in Norwood. We shared plates and stories, the staff stopping in to chat and check in regularly, and time slipped by. It was well past my usual bedtime and we were filled to bursting when we finally crept up to our cozy historic room to sleep. In the morning, we drank coffee in the Parlor Bar downstairs, where other diners perused newspapers and sipped lattes in the plush chairs, before taking a walk in the June sun.

The comfy rooms at the New Sheridan were lovingly restored to their original Victorian splendor.


A party scene at the New Sheridan’s Parlor.

The stay offered a quick but much-needed respite from the hectic pace of everyday life. A walk into the past that was more authentic sophistication than Wild-West movie set. And a chance to pause and appreciate one of Telluride’s oldest establishments.

And you don’t need to go all in with a night’s stay to get that at the Sheridan. There’s something in the mix of understated sophistication running through the Sheridan’s enterprises that makes you slow down, savor life and be present — whether you are sipping one of the bar’s signature flat-liners, dining on the addicting truffle fries on the patio outside, drinking a beer in the well-worn bar or celebrating with family over a multi-course meal at the Chop House.

Sheridan’s roof top bar affords some of the best views in town.

Because while those occasional splurges are great (and you can purchase 50-year-old port and $65-steaks here), you don’t have to empty your wallet. There are also excellent bottles of wine for $35 and $18 burgers, and the menu at the Phoenix Bean offers items like a $9 breakfast burrito and the popular $15 turkey club sandwich.

But again, none of it would be worth a lick if it weren’t backed up by excellent service. And excellent service is only genuinely fostered by a happy and well-functioning staff.

Kenworthy, who started busing tables at the Chop House as a teenager, is now a level 2 sommelier and manager at the restaurant. He grew up in the Chop House, he says. And though he left once or twice for other ventures, he didn’t stay away long.

“It’s a family here,” he said. “That’s always brought me back.”

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.