In more positive developments, the eagerly anticipated Joolz opened Friday to strong weekend crowds who mostly heard by word of mouth that the eclectic restaurant with a Middle Eastern-inspired menu was serving dinner. Owner Julie Hamden said customers responded well to their concept that fuses dishes evoking her Lebanese husband's upbringing (Mixed Nut Dukkah and Lamb Flatbread Pitadilla) with the Northwest influenced fare (Simspon Ranch Elkburger). Look for the restaurant whose appropriate tagline is "where the mezze meets the mesa" to add lunch sometime in the next three weeks.
Next door, crews appear to be putting the finishing touches on 900 Wall, the long-awaited successor to Merenda. While we weren't able to get an official confirmation industry, sources say they expect 900 Wall to open soon after a relatively extensive remodel that put an emphasis on reducing the ambient noise associated with the former tenant.
In other downtown developments, the new bar/club Velvet is set to open before June according to GM Matt Keeton. But don't let the name mislead. This isn't another "Vegas" inspired nightclub in our mountain town. The location, which was formerly occupied by the Speed Shop, is taking shape as more of a ski lodge than a dance club, though Keeton assures that people can dance "anywhere." But what would you expect from a club bankrolled by confirmed snow junkie and Rage Productions honcho Sky Pinnick... - Eric Flowers