Breckenridge Mexican restaurant Lucha Colorado Cantina now has a second location: Georgetown.
Owner Chuck Holcomb opened the second restaurant with new business partner and old friend Chris Verikas in the legendary Red Ram Restaurant and Saloon building, open from the late 1940s until 2009. Verikas had been looking to get into the Lucha business, and when Holcomb heard rumors the Red Ram had been closed, he saw it as an opportunity to be a "significant player in a really cool historic town."
"The facility is nothing short of unbelievable," Holcomb said. "I can't think of a more famous historic bar."
John Denver played in the restaurant a number of times, and filmed a few Christmas specials in the bar. He allegedly wrote his name on the ceiling with a cigarette lighter, though Holcomb and Verikas haven't found it yet. Comedienne Roseanne Barr used to work there.
With all of that history, Holcomb suspects some of it may still be there in ghostly form. He has been living above the restaurant, and often hears footsteps when no one is there. He once found both faucets in the bathroom running full-blast, and his two dogs growl at unoccupied space.
"The whole building is haunted," he said. "It's a really cool place, and quite spooky as well."
Holcomb said the new Lucha, open for three weeks, has been very well-received by the town and the Clear Creek community, so far doing "much, much better than we were expecting." He credits the Breckenridge community with the expansion.
"Breckenridge's support of a small business and a small business person has made this possible," he said.
The Summit County location opened in 2007. What started out as a popular late-night stop has also become a family-friendly place for lunch and dinner, Holcomb said. Online reviews from guests are "over the top," he said.
"That's enabled us to gain a reputation, and expansion in Clear Creek County has been very well received because people have heard of us," he said.
And while the Georgetown location is still fresh, Holcomb already has his sights set on more Luchas. He is currently looking into another Summit County location, along with a few possibilities in Denver and Aspen. He hopes someday to have Luchas up and down the I-70 corridor.
"It's been my dream to have this type of company. All I really cared about was the food. If people love the food, then everything else takes care of itself," he said.