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Brewery tees up food service at Devil's Thumb

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Effective June 1, Needle Rock Brewing Company is assuming food and beverage operations at Devil's Thumb Golf Course.

Black Canyon Golf Course in Montrose has successfully partnered with a local brewery, said Wilma Erven, director of parks, recreation and golf for the City of Delta. She hopes a similar partnership will help increase the use of the facilities at Devil's Thumb.

Sam Kimbriel, owner of the Needle Rock, said his goal is to change the "feel" of the dining experience from a snack bar to a restaurant.

"We're calling it Club Needle Rock," he said, "and it will have a lot of the same menu items we have at the restaurant, plus some on-the-go foods like sandwiches and salads, for golfers who want to get right on the course."

Delta City Council awarded a five-year contract to Needle Rock at a special meeting May 8, giving Kimbriel and his staff just a few weeks to get the right equipment and the right personnel in place.

The restaurant area needs a little TLC, Kimbriel noted. "We felt like if we made the investment we're looking at, we needed a five-year contract."

According to the minutes of the special meeting, Needle Rock will front the cost of the improvements and the city will credit them through rental fees and/or tax credits. Kimbriel said he'll hold off on any renovations until October or November, when things slow down at the golf course.

"We're planning on a lot more events," Kimbriel said. "We really look forward to using the clubhouse as a wedding venue, and for corporate events, fundraisers and family parties."

Needle Rock Brewing has been open less than a year, but he and chef Kenneth Kinser have put together a great team, and Kimbriel said that makes it much easier to put these ventures together.

Kimbriel noted that a third of his restaurant business is coming from either Grand Junction or Montrose, and his hope is to create the same draw for the golf course.

He added, "We'd love to see if we can help the city generate more revenue at the golf course by attracting more golfers and better events. We love Delta, and we want to invest in the people of this area. We've been working awfully hard to provide exceptional food at the Needle Rock Brewing Company, and people have been very kind, very appreciative."

Food and beverage service at the golf course was previously provided by Anthony Chavez of T's Concessions. He was very vocal at the special meeting May 8, threatening to file legal proceedings against the city. He demanded reimbursement of the cost of his liquor license and expenses related to converting cooking equipment to propane. He was asked to submit his concerns in writing.

Chavez later apologized for comments he directed at Wilma Erven, and council member Kevin Carlson apologized privately and in public at the next city council meeting for not backing her up.

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