rivers restaurant

Rivers Restaurant in Glenwood Springs will close after 27 years in business. 

For 21 years, Anita Wan has served as general manager of Rivers Restaurant in Glenwood Springs.

Wan and her staff, some of whom had served or cooked at Rivers Restaurant since it opened in 1994, worked their final dinner shift Tuesday night as the restaurant closed permanently.

Earlier Tuesday, Wan expressed her gratitude toward the restaurant’s loyal customers over the years and anticipated the last night would be crazy. 

“Crazy busy,” Wan said with a laugh. “It’ll be business as usual until we close the doors.”

Over the course of the past 27 years, community members from all walks of life had shared some of their more intimate moments with Wan and her roughly 20-person staff, she said, celebrating graduation dinners, wedding receptions and other milestone events at Rivers, the restaurant along the Roaring Fork River. 

“It is a family here and we have all been here for ... a very, very long time and that has a lot to do with the restaurant and a lot to do with the people that we serve here,” Wan said. “We love our customers.” 

The building, located on Grand Avenue near the 27th Street Bridge and along the Roaring Fork River in Glenwood Springs, housed Penelope’s Restaurant prior to Rivers’ opening in 1994.

According to Wan, Rivers Restaurant owners Ben and Desy Herr were trying to sell the building prior to the pandemic and the restaurant’s employees were given ample notice about its forthcoming sale.

“It’s certainly … not a surprise,” Wan said. “Everybody knew this was going to happen, we just didn’t know when.”

She said she was unaware of the identity of the buyer or future plans for the property.

“They really wanted to sell it as a restaurant with staff intact and it just wasn’t happening,” Wan said. 

She commended Rivers Restaurant’s staff, including some employees who were not scheduled to work Tuesday evening but asked to come in so they could bid farewell to their customers.

Asked about a favorite dish from over the years, Wan responded promptly, “Overall, everybody just loves our prime rib.” 

Rivers Restaurant’s website was also updated Tuesday to thank the community for its support. “After 27 years in business, Rivers Restaurant will be permanently closed effective June 2, 2021,” the site read. “We would like to thank all of our long-time customers and employees who have supported us over these many years.”

Matthew Bennett is a reporter for the Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at: matthew@aspendailynews.com