Hey, Spike! serves up a helping of Summit’s social smorgasbord
April 20, 2018
Starekow — you likely know him — just turned 70 the other day.
Robert "Bobby" Starekow is a longtime Summit County restaurateur who is living the dream.
Continuing ownership in Silverheels Bar and Grill on the corner of Sixth and Main in downtown Frisco, and its neighbor Kemosabe Sushi and Sake, he's been in the food and beverage business locally since moving from his native Minnesota.
He was born in Thief River Falls and got his education at the University of Minnesota and Arizona State University.
"I was always pretty adventurous, so I wound up in Summit at the age of 24," he recalls.
Since then Bobby has had continuing positive business partnerships with John and Dede Tuso, Susie and Bobby Magrino, Bobby and Stephanie Kato, and Chris Miller. His first partners were Jim Shields and Mickey Smith at Snake River Saloon.
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Bobby's developed long-lasting relationships with his staffers — current and past.
Kaileen Higney's tenure as a staffer is the longest; she and Silverheels will mark 30 years in November with special celebrations.
It all started back in 1988, a big year for Bobby: He married fashion designer Marla and they opened Silverheels up in Wildernest, in a former multi-story rustic log lodge with many rooms. It proved to be a popular location with a great southwestern menu.
In 2001 they moved Silverheels to Frisco, expanding and updating the former Smokin' Willy's BBQ and Golden Annie's locations. Kemosabe followed next door in the former card and gift shop owned by Tom and Erin Major.
Life was sailing right along for the Starekows, then including son Alexander, better known as Xander.
Then Marla was diagnosed with cancer, to which she would later succumb in 2010, stunning all in the county.
Bobby continued on with a supportive community and staffers. Xander completed a bachelor's degree in microbiology at Colorado State College in Fort Collins. Now 27, he's applying for a master's program in business at the University of Colorado-Denver.
At the suggestion of Marla's sister, Robin Viteri, a resident of Ensenada, Mexico, a seaside city just over the California border, Bobby took some time off from the restaurant business to think life over.
It turned out to be advantageous.
"I'm still a Frisco business owner and resident while spending much of my time in Ensenada," he said. "The combination of spending time in the Rockies and on the Pacific would make the grumpiest guy wear a smile."
It was in Ensenada, Bobby met Dulce Maria Penalver, a well-educated Mexican native.
Together they founded Colegio Angloamericano de Ensenada, a private elementary school operating under the Mexico Ministry of Education.
"My new love, Dulce, is the owner and director. She has a master's in education and as a pedagogue is responsible for both the curriculum and operations," he explained. "My job is purely as a critic."
"The idea was to start the school as an opportunity to give back something to a life that has given much to me," he added.
With a current enrollment of 75 students, likely to increase to 100 in the near future, the students wear uniforms just like other schools in Mexico.
Taking breaks from the school, Dulce has visited Frisco, and loves the place and people.
"Dulce calls Frisco her 'Fairyland,' and says it reminds her of villages from the fairytale books her granny read to her," said Bobby.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed "Spike," a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former hardrock miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to firstname.lastname@example.org
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