Aspen Grille Student-Run Restaurant
Conceived and designed by students, the Aspen Grille offers real-world experience to students in the Hospitality and Event Management Program within the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. The Aspen Grille is excited to continue our green efforts through our support of local and sustainable producers. We partner with Hazel Dell Mushrooms, Tenderbelly Pork, Jumpin Good Goat Dairy, Seattle Fish Company, Horse and Dragon Brewery, Zwei Brewery, Aspen Bakery, and Cafe Richesse. Seattle Fish Co. and Cafe Richesse are both owned by CSU alumni. Learn about the Hospitality and Event Management Program.
The Aspen Grille is no ordinary restaurant. Beyond its modern bistro appearance, The Aspen Grille is a working classroom for students majoring in Hospitality and Event Management. Four days a week, students work in the kitchen, serve customers, tend bar, and participate in virtually every aspect of the restaurant’s operations, including management.
Location and Hours
The Aspen Grille is located in the Lory Student Center and is currently closed for renovations.
Partnership and History
Aspen Grille evolved from a partnership between the Division of Student Affairs and the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Eager to offer a higher-end dining experience on campus, Student Affairs picked up the tab to remodel part of the University Club. Hospitality and event management students, wishing to practice what they were learning, worked with their professors to decide on the kitchen layout, dining room decor, place settings, menu offerings, pricing, restaurant philosophy, and other details. “This whole project has been student-driven from the beginning,” said Ken Smith, former restaurateur and now retired associate professor and coordinator of the Hospitality and Event Management program.
Students conducted a feasibility study and then determined that the menu would offer simple, innovative cuisine, made primarily from locally and regionally produced foods. Each year, new and exciting foods are developed by students and added to the menu. The decor carries on the restaurant’s “home grown” philosophy. Colorado State graduates Becky Everitt and Bill Cotton provided, respectively, the aspen watercolors and photographs adorning the walls, and small wooden boxes holding sugar packets were made by another local alumnus.