GREELEY — Justin Brown enjoys reading the reactions of new customers as they walk into his restaurant. The location, smack in the middle of Greeley at 2118 35th Ave., served a sports bar and a shake and burger joint before Brown, 38, took it over in July 2017. It’s not like those places were greasy diners, but the decor matched what you would expect from a sports bar, including a room with a golf video game and some artificial turf stapled to the floor. Brown didn’t want ostentatious, but he did want to add, as he put it, some “nicety” to his place. He painted, added some mood lighting and put out some white tablecloths. It looks kinda like a downtown Denver restaurant, an admittedly unusual (but not unheard of) concept in Greeley. “We didn’t want to be fancy pants,” Brown said, “but we did want to be casual and fine at the same time.” __________________________ If you go Gourmet Grub 2118 35th Ave., Greeley (970) 573-5374 www.gourmetgrubkitchen.com __________________________ The decor, as it turns out, matches his menu. He named the place Gourmet Grub, and it fits the concept of what Brown calls “elevated” food, not high falutin. Brown, 38, wants to educate you, he said, but he doesn’t want to scare you off, either with the food or the prices. Both, he said, are in the range of even a first-time fine diner. He points to his chicken-fried ribeye as an example. The bacon green beans, baby carrots and roasted jalapeño cream gravy make it feel like a fancy meal. “But in the end, it’s just chicken-fried steak,” Brown said. This is Brown’s first time owning a restaurant after years of working as a line cook at the Brown Palace in Denver and as an executive chef in a steakhouse in Wyoming. He sold for Shamrock Foods, a supplier, in his last job. He made good money at it, so opening Gourmet Grub was a risk, especially with his two kids aged 13 and 10 and a wife, Shannon, who helps manage the place. He was a little excited, therefore, and he admits his first menu was probably a little overreaching for Greeley, a place with a population mostly unfamiliar with fine dining, save for the Chophouse in downtown Greeley. Brown was eager to leave the years of cooking for steakhouses behind him. The current menu, he said, is a compromise, as well as a nod to the saying that chefs aren’t cooking food for themselves: They’re cooking it for their customers. “It didn’t encompass too many familiar foods,” Brown said. “We tried to play with the concept too much.” He believes he found the right balance with his current menu. Last week, for example, he offered a “steak and cake,” a sirloin with a crab cake, and it sold out. He offered rack of lamb as a special recently, and he worried about the price, more than $30, but he sold out of that too. “It was nice […]
LOVELAND — While Northern Colorado home prices are expected to increase in 2019, appreciation rates are likely to be more modest than in recent years. The continued flattening of appreciation across the region was one of the major takeaways from The Group Real Estate’s annual Northern Colorado Real Estate Forecast and Expo. Hundreds of real estate professionals packed a large conference room Wednesday evening at Loveland’s Embassy Suites for the event. “We’ve been on a path of rapidly accelerating appreciation for many years,” Brandon Wells, president of The Group Inc., said. “But what you’re seeing is some of the appreciation has started to stabilize and normalize.” But, he was quick to note, “that does not mean that average sales are declining. It just means the rate of appreciation is slowing.” In some cases, slower appreciation rates are a result of more — and more affordable — new housing stock becoming available. In Fort Collins, the average 2019 sales price for attached and detached homes is forecast to be $443,576, up 5 percent from the average price of $422,454 in 2018. That appreciation rate is down slightly from a recent high of 6 percent in 2017. Loveland’s average price this year is predicted to be $400,217, up 3 percent from 2018. The city posted a recent high appreciation rate of 9 percent in 2017. Average 2019 prices in the Greeley/Evans area are expected to be $319,700, a year-over-year increase of 6 percent. The region posted a 10 percent appreciation rate as recently as 2017. Regionally, the average 2019 sales price is expected to be $410,492, up from the $388,200 average recorded in 2018. The total number of homes sold in Northern Colorado this year is estimated to be 10,650. That’s 75 more homes than were sold in 2018. The Group’s forecast in 2018 was better than 95 percent accurate predicting the number of homes sold and the average sales price across the Northern Colorado region. Jason Peifer, president Group Mortgage LLC, predicted that interest rates will continue to rise in 2019. While that could create some challenges for real estate professionals, he said he does not expect interest rate increases to cripple the industry. Rising interest rates “could provide a significant headwind for the real estate economy,” but strong employment and wage growth could counteract some of those impacts, he said.
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