Eatin’ Out: The story behind Hearth Restaurant and Pub in downtown Windsor
June 16, 2017
Where to go
Hearth Restaurant and Pub is located in the heart of downtown Windsor at 205 1/2 4th St., across from Boardwalk Park and Windsor Lake.
It is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday with brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The bar area and restaurant are open for dinner from 3-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 3-7 p.m. Sunday.
For more information, call (970) 460-0193 or go to http://www.hearthrestaurantandpub.com.
Eatin’ Out is a new monthly series exploring the stories behind local restaurants in Weld County. Any suggestions or tips can be sent to business reporter Katarina Velazquez by calling (970) 392-4412 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In France, some restaurant owners use a model where they own two restaurants within just a few blocks of one another. One of them is usually an extravagant fine-dining restaurant while the other has a simpler, laid-back atmosphere with more affordable prices.
That's the model that inspired Jason Shaeffer when he opened up his second restaurant, Hearth Restaurant and Pub, on Main Street in Windsor. The restaurant sits a little more than 200 feet away from his original restaurant, Chimney Park, which is known for its decorative high-end dishes and white tablecloth experience.
Hearth Restaurant and Pub, 205 1/2 4th St., is the simpler of Shaeffer's two restaurants and has a dressed-up "pizza, beer and pub favorites" focus for the menu. The restaurant is approaching its second anniversary, which will be in September.
Stairs lead to Hearth's doorway on the second floor, where customers enter the bar and restaurant with red brick walls and shiny, wood floors. A massive wood-fired oven is exposed so folks can watch the cheese and marinara sauce being sprinkled on their pizzas or watch their Brussels sprouts roast. Or, they can sit outside on Hearth's award-winning patio and get the perfect view of Boardwalk Park's Windsor Lake and the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the distance.
The most ordered dishes include hollandaise-smothered Brussels sprouts, a Boulder natural roasted chicken breast, a traditional take on fish n' chips and a "Hipster" burger, which features bacon jam and cambozola cheese. A lot of the produce and meat are from local, small farms — something in which Shaeffer takes pride.
Shaeffer opened Hearth about eight years after taking over Chimney Park, 406 Main St. He toyed with the idea of opening a second location for his original restaurant in Fort Collins, but he feared he may lose some of the market that makes the commute to Windsor. Then he remembered the French model.
With owning two different restaurants, Shaeffer is able to cater to two types of markets. He's seen his regular customers in their Sunday bests and after-work beer attire. He also gets to have some fun with the menus, which have different types of dishes to cater to different crowds and occasions.
Shaeffer has over 30 years of experience in the food service industry, which started when he was a dishwasher at 15 years old. He graduated from culinary school at 21 and began his career as an executive chef at 22. He trained under four different recipients of Food and Wine's top American chefs.
Shaeffer's love for cooking began at a young age, where farm-to-table food was quite literal for him growing up. His childhood home in Virginia had three acres of land, so if he wanted fresh eggs, he went to the chicken coop. Or if he wanted fresh produce, his backyard was the source for the freshest. He wanted to provide that experience and tastiness with other people.
"It was ingrained into my brain without me even knowing," Shaeffer said.
Hearth Restaurant and Pub was recently named by OpenTable, an online restaurant-reservation service company, as one of the top 100 best outdoor dining spots in the country. The list of honorees is based on an analysis of over 10 million reviews of more than 25,000 restaurants across the country.
Shaeffer said it was humbling to see Hearth in Windsor listed among other posh restaurants in places such as Laguna Beach, Calif., Miami Beach, Fla., and Scottsdale, Ariz.
He said he owes that to the Windsor crowd and the rapidly growing surrounding communities.
"I know it sounds cliché, but the sky's the limit here in Windsor," Shaeffer said.