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Merry and Metal: It's Christmas Year-round at Aspen Lodge

Merry and Metal: It's Christmas Year-round at Aspen Lodge


 

Thinly sliced steak hits the grill top with a crackle. Two metal spatulas stomp through the meat, churning and turning browned pieces over and over. A generous heap of chopped onions integrates with the dance, sending mouth-watering aromatics through the kitchen window. After a final scoop of diced tomato, sprinkling of Italian parsley, and a splash of seasoned oil are added, the mix is gently laid in a steamed sandwich bun and nestled in a basket next to piping hot French fries.

Hand-delivered by its maker and the owner of Aspen Lodge Bar & Grill, Mesut Cetin, the world-famous Turkish sandwich is a savory delight for the restaurant’s many patrons. “All of [my] items have a little touch of Turkish cuisine or Mediterranean,” Mesut says proudly. An entrepreneurial emigrant from Turkey, Mesut has owned several businesses in Colorado in the past, including restaurants in popular Summit County ski towns. But Mesut was clear that Westminster was the best location for his current business. “It’s a mom-and-pop neighborhood,” he says, and, “a place that makes it very comfortable for everyone.”

Tightly tucked in the inside corner of 8125 West 94th Avenue, Aspen Lodge has offered residents of Westminster American and Mediterranean cuisine for more than thirteen years. But delicious food with worldly flair isn’t the only unique characteristic of Aspen Lodge.

Escaping the searing summer heat, visitors are immediately greeted by a cooling, cozy atmosphere. House lights are dim. This allows several strands of Christmas lights, strung up throughout the log-cabin-style interior, to twinkle. Fully decorated Christmas trees, vintage travel posters, and Nordic skis decorate every corner. There’s a forty-foot bar with eclectic inventory and a live music stage for parties, karaoke, and the occasional appearance from an Iron Maiden tribute band. “It’s a little confusing of a place,” says Mesut, who wears his Aspen Lodge uniform, a black Iron Maiden T-shirt. “Iron Maiden, Christmas year-round, lava lamps, black lights… I’m a seventies guy, this place is reflecting my personality.”

When further questioned about his unique blend of interests that inject Aspen Lodge with undeniable character, Mesut replied with what he claims is his most important unifying theme. “Who wouldn’t enjoy Christmas? Love is in the air. Iron Maiden lyrics have a lot of love in them too.”

Patrons have reported reciprocal love for the restaurant publicly. Aspen Lodge boasts an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 from almost 400 reviewers on Yelp. Comments pour out in paragraphs complimenting the food and jovial hospitality. “Nothing is better than to see their smiling face,” says Mesut as he ties his long hair up before heading back to the kitchen. “I love what I am doing. I’m 62 years old. I see myself, I’m 90 years old and cooking back there.”

As the grill sizzles again and the sharp melody of electric guitar riffs rip past stuffed Christmas elves and garland, one might almost forget the hot desert climate waiting just beyond the exit door.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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