A new Carbondale restaurant, Patina Bar and Grille, is hitting the food scene with an “approachable but fun” menu inspired by home cooking and captivating taste profiles.
Patina is reinventing the space once occupied by “The Pig” next to Sopris Liquor & Wine along Highway 133 past the roundabout. Owner Jessica Hale purchased the property in July and has been working closely with her son and the restaurant’s head chef, Hunter Hale, to share their dream for the perfect eatery.
“I was looking for a new chapter in my life- something fun to do,” said Jessica Hale. “I’ve always wanted to have a restaurant. Coincidentally my son Hunter just finished his degree in Food Industry Management,” she said.
The younger Hale previously worked at Justice Snow’s and Riviera Supper Club, as well as restaurants in Phoenix, and jumped at the opportunity to make the family venture a success.
“Since I was a little kid I wanted to be in food somehow,” he said. “Coming into high school I thought that would maybe be in the kitchen. But in college it was maybe owning restaurants. And now we do. It’s been really fun and a lot of work. I’m here to put my food on the table and hopefully people like it.”
The pair describe the menu as American Bistro, “approachable but still fun and not your everyday menu.”
Chef Hale pointed to the coffee rubbed pork chop and braised pulled pork sandwich as two of his favorites. The “not BBQ” roast pork sandwich is served with a blue cheese spread, apple chutney, and arugula on ciabatta bread. The chop is served with an apple ginger chutney, rice pilaf, and glazed carrots.
The halibut with tomato and spinach sauce is based on a dinner his mother served only on special occasions (“It would be my birthday and I’d say all I want is a halibut dinner!” said Hunter). The baked halibut is served with garlic mashed potatoes, vegetable medley, and finished with tomato-spinach cream sauce.
Other notable menu items include the warm gnocchi caprese salad (pan seared gnocchi and blistered tomatoes on a bed of arugula with a burratina ball) and the fried duck wings served in a jalapeño blackberry sauce.
“We’re not here to do Aspen food,” said Hunter. “We want to do the food we like. We’re trying to bring good food to the table at a moderate, affordable price. It’s a representation of what we ate as a family, what she would cook for us, and what I’d like to eat.”
Patina Bar and Grille also has an impressive craft cocktail menu boasting “classic, but proper” drinks such as a Bourbon Whiskey Sour and Rittenhouse Black Manhattan. Craft beers and a variety of wines are also available.
Jessica Hale hopes the restaurant will become a hub for the community beyond what a traditional restaurant can offer. Two large drop-down projectors allow for viewing sporting events or hosting moving nights. Separate from the main dining area, a community room offers “a large, unique space in Carbondale for private parties, business luncheons, trivia nights, and tastings.”
“I’m trying to think of things that would be fun for the town of Carbondale, which I think the town needs,” Jessica said.
Patina opened in late September. The evening of Friday, Oct. 11 will be the restaurant’s first happy hour. They invite guests to enjoy $5 wines-by-the-glass, as well as specials on beer and appetizers.
Jessica Hale is excited for the prospect of running a true family business. Her husband Jeff Hale will help with bookkeeping, and daughter Michal is assisting with marketing efforts. And of course, her 22-year-old son and head chef Hunter Hale will be running his first kitchen. “I’m super proud of him, given how young he is. We get along great and we help each other.”