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After almost 10 years, Russets closing its doors

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By Will Grandbois

Sopris Sun Correspondent

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The rumors have been confirmed.

Sunday, Jan. 5, will be the last day of business at Russets restaurant. After just shy of 10 years of operation, including the recession’s rough years, owners Sue and Claude Van Horton are hanging up their hats.

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The decision is, according to Sue, purely economic. Although billed as a “neighborhood restaurant and bar,” the establishment has a reputation for fine dining that has been both a blessing and a curse. When the eatery opened in February 2004, times were good and people had income to spare. When things got tough, Sue surmises, people didn’t think of Russets as a place to just grab an appetizer and glass of wine.

Since word began to get out that they’re closing their doors, they’ve been packed almost every night. Folks are eager to get one last taste of their favorite dishes. In particular, the wild mushroom soup and lobster bisque have been in great demand.

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“The other night we ran out for the first time ever,” Sue said. “We’ve been going through five gallons of each soup a night.”

So far, they’ve been able to accommodate walk-ins, but as the week goes on, patrons hoping to get a last taste of Russets’ food would be well advised to reserve in advance.

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As for what’s next, the space has been listed for sale since late summer, with no buyers. “There’s going to be a huge void. But I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve always said we had the best customers and we’ve been blessed with the best staff,” Sue said.

The Van Hortons have been through this before. Prior to opening Russets, they operated Chefy’s restaurant in Basalt for 15 years. Claude has been cooking in the Roaring Fork Valley for 42 years, getting his start at the Golden Horn in Aspen.

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Asked whether another venture might be on the horizon, Sue told The Sun, “We’re not thinking that far ahead. I just want to go skiing.”

Russets is located at 225 Main St. The phone number is 963-3036.

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