Aspen restaurateur Jimmy Yeager and business partner Jessica Lischka announced this week that their Bodega space on the Mill Street pedestrian mall will be taken over by pop-up Asian restaurant.
Yeager, the longtime owner of the popular Jimmy’s on Hopkins Avenue, said in a press release that he and Lischka “always knew that the Bodega in its current location had a limited lifespan as the owner of the building has always had plans to redevelop the property.”
Those redevelopment plans will probably become a reality in the spring, the release says.
“Without the summer season, the Bodega is not a sustainable concept to operate during the winter,” Yeager said. “It is too small (half the size of the summer with the patio) and the mixed, fine-dining seafood menu is too expensive to produce.”
They are partnering with chefs David Wang and Kiyong Kim on a new winter eatery called Hao House: Far East Street Food. The menu will include a rotating set of shareable items inspired by Taiwan, Korea and Japan, complemented by globally inspired cocktails, Asian beers, sake and wine.
Yeager said that on a recent trip to Taiwan, he became better acquainted with Wang.
“Upon returning home and, after making the difficult decision that the Bodega was not sustainable for the winter, we spoke to David and formed a partnership for him to lead the kitchen and create a menu of fast-casual Asian street food,” he said.
Wang in the release said he is looking forward to bringing his cooking to Aspen in a more formalized setting versus his popular ramen nights.
“These are flavors that I crave pretty much all the time, and to be able to share this kind of food memory with this place I now call home is something I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time,” he said.
Yeager and his management team decided to move key kitchen staff upstairs to Jimmy’s along with the raw bar and a host of other Bodega favorites that will be incorporated into Jimmy’s. Yeager said he believes the seafood-driven Bodega menu and the Jimmy’s modified steakhouse menu complement each other well. Jimmy’s is planning to launch the revamped menu on Dec. 6.
“Another reason to create the pop-up is that it is possible the building owner will not get his permits, and in that case, we may be able to reopen Bodega for the lucrative summer season,” Yeager said. “But we are really looking forward to working with David and Ki. No matter what, the new concept will be a heck of a lot of fun.”
The menu for Hao House is still in the planning process, but customers can expect to see dishes such as Taiwanese beef noodles, Korean bulgogi and bimbimbap, and Szechuan wontons when it opens on Dec. 10. The selections will change regularly throughout the four-month run. Hao will accept walk-ins only, and the tentative opening hours will be from 4 to 10 p.m. for food, with the bar staying open later.