A Touch of France

At the new PARC Aspen restaurant, local flavor meets modern French farmhouse chic.
Warm and inviting dining at PARC Aspen. Photo courtesy of Nik House Media

By Linda Hayes

The opening of PARC Aspen last December came with a multitude of challenges. As if anticipation on the part of the many fans of the location’s former occupant, the beloved L’Hostaria, was not daunting enough, the space was in dire need of repair. “Everything from heating and cooling systems needed to be upgraded,” notes Ryan Doremus of local Thunderbowl Architects, who was brought in to assist. “We also had to start from scratch for what’s now a near Michelin-star caliber kitchen.”

Vision for the PARC Aspen’s modern French farmhouse interior came from local owners Maryanne and Harley Sefton. “We wanted to bring a fresh breath of air into the space,” says Maryanne, “lighten things up, improve the flow and make it more conducive to both large and intimate dining experiences.”

To that end, the couple hired San Diego-based residential designer Joan O’Haver, who knew their aesthetic well. Coordinating with structural changes, including a newly elevated wood-beamed ceiling that opened up the main dining space, O’Haver specified banquette and freestanding table seating; the former, upholstered in durable gray-blue faux leather, the latter surrounded by modern club chairs.

Accessible to the main dining room but closed off as needed, a private dining area, The 620 Room, seats 12 at a rustic white oak-topped table and features a glassed-in 1,000-bottle wine wall curated by wine and beverage director Greg Van Wagner. The room now hosts popular winemaker dinners as well as private events and chef’s tasting experiences.

Seasonally curated dishes such as Colorado striped bass, organic salmon, duck breast, and a chef-curated vegetarian plate bring festive touches to local flavor. Rounding out the PARC Aspen experience, and upholding the former L’Hostaria’s reputation for conviviality, the Modern Locals bar area features a 20-foot-long quartz-topped bar backed by a mirrored liquor display wall. It’s busy every night. In keeping with the local concept are custom works by Colorado artists: a hand-carved sign by Lauren Poppie at the front entrance, and murals of mountainscapes and vineyards by Michael Kinsley and Dean Bowlby throughout the bar, and main and private dining rooms. parcaspen.com