In England, they are restaurants and pubs with rooms; in Japan, they’re ryokans; France has its auberges; and Germany and Austria their Gasthäuser. Stateside, the term bed and breakfast just doesn’t always cut it anymore, and in the bite-sized mountain town of Carbondale, Colorado, 30 miles north of Aspen, this newest little hotel and restaurant is a sign of bigger changes.
Late last summer, a group of local friends and industry veterans converted the sprawling, 106-year-old brick Weant home at 689 Main Street — most recently restaurant Six89 — into a forward-looking dinner destination, community bar, two-bedroom guest house, and another town backyard and living room. They named it the Way Home, which nods to its sister spot in Denver and to the pull, 170 miles west, of the Roaring Fork Valley.
The team comes with plenty of credentials: Lacy Hughes runs her popular café Silo nearby, Flip Wise formerly cooked at Boulder’s beloved Oak restaurant, and Kade Gianinetti is also behind Denver’s the Way Back, American Grind, Wendell’s, and Method Roasters. They enlisted frequent collaborators Scout Interiors for design direction. Now the space and its offerings are altogether unique in the region.
On a recent First Friday, the house at the start of Carbondale’s commercial hub was thrumming. Diners were ordering oysters and oxtail poutine, the most addictive four-cheese ravioli, and a Moroccan tomato hanout with chickpeas and tabouli. Each room, open but separate following the old home’s layout, felt like its own distinct dinner party. Black and white photos on the walls, by Denver artist Jack Ludlam, trace the Gianinettis’ 108-year Carbondale history.
“It was always a dream to get back up to Carbondale to do something in this space,” Gianinetti said. “[My family] always wanted to partner with people who were ingrained in the community and who were really connected to where Carbondale was going.” His family, owners of Spring Creeks Ranch, have more plans on the way for the Way Home and their hometown.
Gianinetti describes the project in three phases, the first of which is this renovated restaurant and guest house, along with its patios and backyard fitted for warmer weather movie nights, concert series, festivals, and after-parties. The second is farther afoot at the family’s ranch, where a 5,000-square-foot wedding venue and event space will be completed by summer, followed by 12 guest accommodations onsite a couple years later.
Back in the heart of town, the team is remodeling a duplex to offer additional lodging when the Way Home’s bedrooms fill up. Together, these projects will act as a proving ground for phase three of the operation, a full-on boutique hotel in the community. When the Gianinetti family bought the Weant property in 2017, they had one major goal in mind.
“We really wanted to make sure we kept it open to the community instead of somebody buying it and turning it into high-end condos or something like that,” Gianinetti said. Beyond that, he says they wanted to “activate the space, [...] try really hard to tie-in the legacy of what Carbondale used to be, and create a nice relationship with people moving now to the Valley.”
Upstairs at the Way Home, the two new guest bedrooms are named for topographical landmarks, seen respectively from their opposite-facing windows. To the north is Red Hill with its rust-colored sandstone and hiking trails. To the south is Mount Sopris, looming large at nearly 13,000 feet and snow-covered, a beacon on the drive down from Glenwood. The impressive sight is a point of pride for the Way Home, and one of the first things they’ll point to leading a guest past the host stand, up the wood staircase, into a pine-shaded refuge. For now at least from 689 Main Street in Carbondale the views in all directions are uninterrupted.