Pour one out

Pour one out

Another Main Ave. institution has shut its doors – Olde Tymer’s Café.

Opened in 1981, Olde Tymer’s was run for years by the Roessler family. During the pandemic, however, Olde Tymer’s ran into financial trouble. It was ultimately sold in 2021 to local chef Mark Cavalli, who started working at the restaurant during the pandemic.

Cavalli said a number of reasons went into the decision to close the long-standing corner burger joint.

For starters, the building itself (which he doesn’t own) was run down and required hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations. In addition, over the past 10 years, Cavalli said Olde Tymer’s had acquired a bad reputation that was difficult to overcome. And, he said a lot of people who were attached to the nostalgia of Olde Tymers’ heyday wouldn’t actually come in to support it.

On top of that, Olde Tymer’s, like most restaurants these days, had to deal with the rising costs of food, which in turn required higher menu prices. Rent, he said, is not cheap in downtown Durango. And, it was difficult to hire and retain qualified staff.

“It got to the point where after this last year, I felt like it was time to let it go,” he said.

Olde Tymer’s last day serving up food was Aug. 5. Since then, Cavalli has been selling all the memorabilia, which includes some rare Snowdown throwbacks, while clearing out the space. Cavalli said it’s likely he will open a new bistro in downtown Durango in the coming months, but it won’t be under the Olde Tymer’s banner.

As for the former Olde Tymer’s location, the site of the historic S.G. Wall Drug Store, Cavalli said the property owners would like for a new restaurant to open there. (Cavalli owns the Olde Tymer’s name, and someone would need to purchase it from him.)

In the meantime, pour one out for another Durango mainstay calling it quits, following the Palace, Red Snapper, Irish Embassy, and CJ’s Diner. And long live Olde Tymers’ classic slogan, “We Cheat Tourists and Drunks.”

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