By Julie Noyes
Special to the Herald Times
RANGELY | When John and Sandy Payne, owners of Giovanni’s Italian Grill since 2003, first heard the murmurs of the Chevron turnaround, they never dreamed that theirs would be the winning bid to feed almost 9,000 meals to 500 workers for the first three weeks of June. A job of this magnitude could have never happened without the support of Rangely folks. With John at the helm, crunching numbers to figure out just how many lasagnas it takes to feed 500 people, coordinating with Matt Scoggins, the Rangely school district superintendent, and Steve Lucero, head of food services for the school, John and Sandy took a deep breath and dove in. The school district graciously leased the use of their commercial kitchen at Parkview, which had plenty of storage, and provided Chevron school busses to transport employees to and from the plant for lunch twice a day at 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. They prepared food at the school, then served it at a man camp consisting of three trailers.
The crew included some regular employees, like Caleb Noel, Kathy Rose, Anna and Elena Forbes, and Brennan Noyes but the Paynes also welcomed John’s sister, Karen Midcap from Black Hawk, Colo. who could supervise operations when John had to sleep or tend to business at the restaurant. “When she heard that we were bidding for the job, she told me to take it and she’d come and help. I couldn’t have done it without her.” Her husband, Hal, son Will and daughter Kalie also pitched in. Others like Cherise Cardin, Shaden Hendricks, whose dad had come to Rangely to work at the turnaround, and Liz Byers, put in numerous shifts setting up, serving and cleaning up for men and women from all over the country. Curt Kenney chipped in wherever he was needed, cleaning, cooking, delivering food or running errands. Caleb ran to Grand Junction four times to buy massive amounts of soda.
John and Steve worked together to plan the menus but Steve did the bulk of the cooking with help from his wife, Lisa, and Jayda Lewis. They served chicken enchiladas, roast beef, sub sandwiches, fajitas, hamburgers, though the workers seemed to particularly enjoy the vegetables. Chevron decided to surprise their workers with a safety reward, so John and Curt grilled out 380 rib eye steaks for the employees.
“And there were many compliments on John’s food. Some said it was the best they’d ever had at a turnaround!” Sandy beamed.
“It was exhausting to run two things at once, even though I enjoyed the challenge, “ says John. “Sandy and Lacie Kinney were the anchors at the restaurant.” The plant turnaround happened during one of Rangely’s busiest months, during the Dinosaur Hang Gliding Spectacular and the Summer Solstice TANK Events so the demands at the restaurant rarely let up. Their staff—Ashley Skelton, Ashley Stringfellow, Blaine Waters, Brandon Grandt, Dee Kinney, Duke Karshner, Dustin Coleman, Hannah Coleman, James Scoggins, Lacie Kinney, Meghan Krohn, Sam Schroeder and Sherryann Autrey—made sure locals and tourists still got the excellent food and service Rangely has grown accustomed to at Giovanni’s.
“All the workers were genuinely nice and appreciative. That was the most satisfying part,” John said. The Paynes appreciate the impact that this turnaround has made in many of our small businesses and they thank the Chevron employees for choosing to stay, eat and buy locally.
By Julie Noyes