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El Rancho Restaurant to become brewpub

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New owners plan major renovation

By Beth Potter

El Rancho Restaurant has a new owner and a new future — as a brewpub.

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The Vincent family — three Vincent brothers and their spouses — bought the iconic property on Interstate 70 on May 4 for $1.2 million, according to Jefferson County clerk and recorder records.

The group plans a multimillion-dollar renovation, including a complete overhaul inside, and new brewing equipment, said Bob Vincent, who lives in Hiwan Hills with wife Laurie Vincent and their children.

The new owners plan to reopen in October with a nod to the “historic legacy” of the log building with the neon, swoopy “El Rancho” sign. The new look is planned to include more of a “mountain lodge” feel and less of a “cowboy” feel than in the past.

The Vincents have hired Tim Trapp, who has designed more than 300 brewpubs around the country, including Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch restaurants and breweries, to do the remodel project.

“It’s a big undertaking,” Laurie Vincent said.

Game and other mountain entrees will be featured on the dinner menu for about $20, Laurie Vincent said. Sausages and beer bratwurst will be made on site, and unique beers will be produced with a new brewing system with 10 stainless steel tanks, said Bob Vincent.

Bob Vincent’s brother Tom Vincent will be the chef — he’s moving to Evergreen from California with his family. Head brewer Bard Nielsen will make both barrel-aged beer and small-batch beer.

In all, the building has room for more than 500 patrons, said Bob Vincent. A new beer garden area is planned for 2016, he said.

You can find Bob and Laurie Vincent at the property most days. So far, they have spent about half their time talking to people who knock on the front door to find out what’s going on. Tour buses headed to Black Hawk for gambling still pull into the parking lot. The other day, children of the original owners showed up and regaled them with stories of the ‘50s, Bob Vincent said. He recently put a “Fall 2015” sign in the window to indicate when the restaurant will be open again.

The story goes that President Dwight Eisenhower stopped at the restaurant when he went hunting. So when the original owner wanted to get the highway exit named after the restaurant, he was able to get support from Eisenhower, Bob Vincent said. The couple also have two containers full of memorabilia and furnishings.

Both Bob and Laurie have past careers in federal law enforcement. Tom Vincent also is a master butcher with years of catering and restaurant experience.

Construction crews are on site, working to clean up water damage and make other repairs. Underwood Construction is the commercial general contractor for the project. The family is focused on hiring local - with a local construction crew, and plans to hire 35 to 40 people when the place opens.

The Vincents have created a web page — www.elranchobrewing.com — for people interested in updates about the renovation.

Beth Potter can be reached at beth@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1043.