Craig Urban Renewal Authority approves restaurant funding proposal

September 6, 2023

Ashley Dishman - Craig Press

Former Village Inn Restaurant

The Craig Urban Renewal Authority recently approved a proposal presented by Pete and Ann Seewald for two new restaurants in Craig.

On Aug. 9, CURA commissioners heard a presentation for the proposed conversion of the former Village Inn restaurant. The property at 1103 W. Victory Way is within Urban Renewal Authority Area No. 1. The project presentation from Pete and Ann Seewald centered on the construction of two new restaurants — Ann’s Authentic Thai and Unit 301 Colorado Sports Bar & Grill — that will share the space.

From the time they moved to Craig in July 2021, the Seewalds have hoped to open a restaurant for Ann. They began by opening the Aroi Thai booth at the Warehouse Food Hall.

They quickly developed a local fan base with their specialty Thai dishes. And eventually, they began looking for a space of their own to lease or purchase. Even though it was a larger space than they had initially envisioned, they decided to purchase the vacant Village Inn building and closed on the property in July 2022.

The Seewalds said they hope to introduce “two new and exciting casual restaurant concepts” to the space.

Ann’s Authentic Thai will serve “the tried-and-true dishes Ann grew up with at her family’s restaurant in Bangkok, updated slightly for American palates.” The restaurant will be an extension of Ann’s successful business that started at the Warehouse and currently operates out of the Ann’s Authentic Thai food truck in the building’s parking lot.

The second restaurant to be housed in the space is Unit 301 Colorado Sports Bar & Grill. Created to fill a void in Craig’s traditional sports bar scene, the restaurant “will offer the outdoor-loving residents of Craig, as well as visitors to the ‘Elk Hunting Capitol of the World,’ the opportunity to spend some leisure time in a full-service bar and grill themed to please fans of Colorado’s outdoor sports.”

Service is expected to run from breakfast through late-night offerings, along with weekend brunches. The menu will feature a broad array of classic American dishes, and will incorporate local meats. Also on offer will be game meats and Colorado specialties, and a “bar stocked with plenty of ‘Made in Colorado’ beverages.”

The Seewalds believe the overall vibe of the restaurant, which will feature multiple televisions showing a range of live sports and hunting and fishing shows throughout the day “will give patrons plenty of reason to hang around for another beer.”

Citing Ann’s background and passion for food service, the Seewalds are excited and enthusiastic about their upcoming venture. They are optimistic about Craig’s future as an outdoor recreation destination and hope to “provide Craig with a modern/new feel for full service dining choices.”

Following the Seewalds’ presentation, the CURA commissioners unanimously approved the requested funding in the amount of $1,515,421. In order to start receiving the funds, the Seewalds must meet their projected investment threshold of $3,030,839 in their property and sales tax. Once those thresholds are met, they will begin receiving the approved amount back on an annual basis, divided by the number of years left in the Urban Renewal Authority Plan.

CURA Executive Director Shannon Scott said “the goal of the urban renewal authority areas are to reduce, eliminate and prevent the spread of blight within the designated areas through redevelopment by private enterprise.”

She added that she sees CURA as an effective tool to help incentivize would-be redevelopers by assisting with eligible costs, and in doing so promote economic growth and private investment.