Park Street Grill and Bar satisfies Rangely dining niche

RANGELY I Though it’s in the same space as what used to be Betty’s Café, Rangely’s newest restaurant, the Park Street Grill and Bar, has a different feel behind its food, executive chef Jesper Jonsson says.
“We’re more of a bistro than a café,” Jonsson says. “I would say that everything we do here is homemade and pretty well thought through health-wise.”
Jonsson, who grew up in Denmark and went to culinary school in France, worked as an executive chef in Europe and New York City before settling in northwest Colorado. Initially a chef for investor Henry Kravis at Westlands Ranch, Jonsson later opened his own restaurant, The Bistro, in Meeker.
“My philosophy behind what I do is still the same,” Jonsson says. “Everything is made in-house, everything is the finest produce we can possibly get, and we treat everything well.”
That means that the bacon blue cheeseburger, made with certified Angus beef, comes with a homemade bun and pickles that taste like they’ve come from the garden to the canning jar to your plate. And although the restaurant offers a variety of sandwiches for the customer who just wants a bite to eat, Jonsson says that the grill is also about people enjoying the experience of eating out.
“We have people come in who say, ‘We’re not in a hurry, we want to have a dining experience,’” Jonsson says. “Being European and training in France, that’s my ultimate goal: to have people not just eating but coming in to dine.”
Providing that experience to customers is an ongoing process, Park Street Grill house manager Marie Holland says. The first day the restaurant opened for business, its point of sale system failed, which meant that newly-trained employees had to process everything manually.
“We were not prepared, but we did it,” Holland said. “At first, it was panic. Then we just did what we had to do.”
Other aspects of the restaurant are “evolving, turning into what Rangely needs,” Holland says. Among those are ongoing training of staff and balancing specialty menu items with local requests.
“We’re in the midst of an oilfield town…so we have a lot more call for meat and potatoes,” Holland says. “We haven’t had a chicken fried steak on the menu, so we’re going to add that.”
For those willing to take their time and try something out of the ordinary, the grill offers cedar-planked smoked salmon, seafood appetizers, and high-end steaks with homemade sauces. Desserts ranging from chocolate chip cheesecake to vanilla fruit crepes are made from scratch in the restaurant’s kitchen.
“Our business is linked to the (Blue Mountain Inn and Suites), so we are probably the most exposed eating establishment here to outsiders,” Jonsson said. “People are adventurous in their eating habits, and as soon as they’re exposed to something different, that’s what they will choose. And when they do that, they’re very excited at what we have to offer.”