Hey, Spike! sees restaurateur Scooter Crawford buy 5th Avenue Grill | SummitDaily.com

Hey, Spike! sees restaurateur Scooter Crawford buy 5th Avenue Grill

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily

Scott "Scooter" Crawford is not new to the Summit County restaurant scene, but he's new to owning one.

Scooter has been in the cooking game since age 12.

"I have been in the restaurant business for 35 years as my parents were chefs," he notes. After a couple of months of transition, Scooter is now running the show as owner of 5th Avenue Grill on Frisco Main Street following the purchase from founder Seth Zelen.

Seth, formerly a co-owner of Farley's at Copper Mountain Resort, opened 5th Avenue in 2010, in then a new "old mining style" building with five condos above, developed by Rob Philippe.

Scooter moved here in 1990, armed with an aeronautics degree from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts.

Over the next decade he worked at Blue River Bistro, Tuscato, El Rio, Barkley's, Golden Annie's, Charity's and Chimayo, learning the F&B biz from experts John and Dede Tuso, Susie Magrino, Bobby Kato, Dan Fallon and Jay Beckerman, among others. Most are still in the dining and drinking establishment business.

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In 2000, he took off for a three-year global jaunt. Of course, food was a big part of the tour.

"Asia was great as I learned to cook a lot of different dishes there," he says.

Returning to the mountains, Scooter made several runs at other establishments before striking a deal with Seth at the 5thAvenue Grill.

"I would have liked to have stayed in the game a few more years, but I felt Scooter was the right guy to carry on and even improve upon the quality product and 'good vibes' that Michelle Foster and I created along with the help of Rob back in 2010," says Seth, writing from Florida.

"For now I am enjoying some much needed R&R on the beach and loving every day of it. Looking forward to spending some quality time skiing the Summit this winter and of course spending some quality time in the mountains this summer, content to be 'on the side lines' for a while. Thanks to all the great folks in Summit County who supported us through the years," he adds.

While Seth enjoys some time off, Scooter is working hard.

"I kept the majority of the staff who have helped me a lot with the transition," he says.

Among those remaining are Dan Kibbie, Johnny Welsh, Kenny Gonzales, Michelle Foster and "amazing kitchen guys: Pete, Matt and Connor."

Under Scooter's ownership the 5th just released a new — and bigger — menu, with updated wine and cocktail menus to follow.

Specialties on the changed menu include bison empanadas, pork belly and pineapple skewers, achiote rubbed quail, and chicken confit.

"It has been a lot of work and a lot of time in the restaurant," the 47-year-old says, "but the hardest part is the time away from the family, who have been very understanding."

The family includes wife Simona, and kids Sammy, 12, and Sophie, 9.

Happy birthday to Mary Wilson of Breckenridge. She and husband Harold motored to Salida for a night at the downtown Palace Hotel and dinner at the nearby Fritz owned by Grant Prill.

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 milesfporteriv@aol.com.