15 Jun Meet Food & Beverage Manager Anita Wan
A familiar face around Glenwood Springs, Anita Wan is food and beverage manager at Iron Mountain Hot Springs where she serves up smiles along with delicious food and drinks at the Sopris Café.
You may do a double take when you see Anita Wan working the counter and crowd at the Sopris Café at Iron Mountain Hot Springs. That’s because for 20 years as general manager, it was Anita’s friendly face that welcomed guests to dine and drink at River’s Restaurant, a longtime Glenwood Springs gathering place which shuttered in 2021. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Anita is a trained chef and has been immersed in the foodie world for most of her life.
“Since River’s closed a lot of people have wondered where I ended up,” she said. “Most people think I retired. I didn’t; I just moved to my new home here at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.”
On the food menu, when Anita left River’s she brought one her favorite recipes along to Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Renamed the ‘Smoked Trout Spread,’ the delicious appetizer is enjoying a revival at the Sopris Café. Other mouthwatering items include Mexican shrimp cocktail served with tortilla chips, flatbread pizzas and healthy options like charcuterie trays and quinoa salads.
Compared to working at River’s, an establishment that featured a huge menu including steak, seafood and wild game, the Sopris Café is much less stressful, though no less exciting.
“We are in the process of building our new expansion which on completion will include another 10 pools and a second café,” Anita explained. “To start we’ll feature many of the same items as in the Sopris Café and grow the menu from there.”
The expansion will cater to an over-21 crowd. With that in mind, she plans to focus on creating an extensive cocktail menu as well as adding more snacks that appeal to adult tastes.
While there are big changes ahead for Iron Mountain Hot Springs, some things in the restaurant biz don’t change.
“One of the biggest challenges we have is staffing, but that’s the case everywhere in this valley,” Anita said. More recent challenges have included supply chain shortages. “Some things baffle me as to why we can’t get them. I haven’t been able to get crackers for months! I’ve been buying out the crackers from City Market, the same is true for frozen bananas,” she laughed.
Figuring out work arounds and addressing issues as they arise is all just part of the job for Anita. “My main goal is to keep people smiling by getting people their food and drinks so they can get back in the pools as fast as possible.”
According to Anita, guests this summer are enjoying the café’s icy-cold drinks, especially the frozen piña coladas and strawberry daiquiris, as well as a concoction called “Miami Vice” which is a combo of both with a float of blue curaçao. “It’s vacation time and these kinds of drinks just invite people to relax.”
When Anita’s not running the kitchen, overseeing staff and interacting with customers, she likes to garden and, you guessed it—cook. “I grow my own veggies. In the fall, I like to pickle and make jams. I love food and sharing it with others,” she said. “It is one of my greatest joys in life.”
On your next visit see what Anita’s got cooking at the Sopris Café. Learn more and make plans to soak and relax at Iron Mountain Hot Springs today!
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