The restaurateur and I are sitting across from each other in the secondary dining room, a space at the front of the restaurant which features an elegant floor-to-ceiling shelf. Decorated with vintage containers that you’d find in any farmhouse kitchen, it contrasts nicely with the contemporary design of Roosters’ interior. The open floor plan, featuring industrial-style lighting, exposed brick walls, and rustic hardwood tables, allows guests an open view into the kitchen, patio space, and Carbondale’s Main Street. Everything is meticulously taken care of: menu, atmosphere, and friendly wait staff.
I still, however, can’t keep my eyes off the shelf, which is supported by a hexagonal patchwork of slats that come together to create numerous cubes filled top to bottom with a varied collection of red wines, not even one aged less than five years. It’s something that, I would like to think, would make even the most discerning sommelier’s mouth water. Overall, it’s quite the entrance to such a casually beautiful restaurant, and I can’t help hoping that he’ll reach over and pop open one of those bottles as he begins to give the rundown on what it’s like to be a restaurant owner in Carbondale.
Mladen Todorovic is the former proprietor of the upvalley breakfast spot Aspen Over Easy, which closed recently due to a change in property ownership. He tells me about the vision he and his partners Kyle Raymond and Pawel Osiak have for Roosters, which opened late this summer. As he explains the preparations that were made, he picks up one of the corn tortilla tacos sitting in front of him and takes a bite. He looks at me and says with profound simplicity, “I don’t want to serve guests food that I wouldn’t want to eat myself.”
Boasting a menu stocked with a variety of sumptuous rotisserie-cooked meats ranging from chicken to prime rib, the restaurant’s offerings prove that Todorovic is a man of his word. Not a red meat eater? Not to worry: Roosters has a creative spread of vegetarian, pescatarian, and even a handful of vegan options. The brunch menu is particularly inclusive of special diets, focusing on smoothies made fresh from whole fruits, delicious pastries, and favorite American breakfast classics with a Roosters spin. There truly is something for everyone.
Even greater than the amount of passion Todorovic has for food is how much he cares about community. He notes that “thriving local businesses” that work together toward a shared goal “are a sign of a strong local economy.” It’s the reason why every dish served at Roosters is prepared with as many fresh, local products as possible, depending on the season and their availability. Nothing is frozen, and all ingredients are delivered three times a week. In other words, Roosters honors the importance of local food and doesn’t cut corners. It serves its guests the highest quality meals, keeps the valley’s economy strong by supporting our local farms, and helps ensure continued cultural vibrancy on Main Street for years to come. This is Todorovic’s vision, investing in Roosters not only for himself, but for Carbondale as a whole.