A few thousand restaurants have probably come and gone in Aurora since The Summit restaurant opened 34 years ago.
Several generations of diners knew it as the Aurora Summit, THE special occasion, steak-and-seafood destination in the area. Gayle Novak was one of those diners and, from 1995 to 2004, she worked there. It’s where she met her husband.
So when Novak bought The Summit, and the property it sits on at 2700 S. Havana St. last week, she said it was more like buying a “home” than a business. Her first day as an owner was July 29.
If the Novak name sounds familiar, think large bowls of free shrimp.
Her husband is Ed Novak of The Broker and other Denver-area eateries that featured copious peel-and-eat crustaceans. He still owns two Egg & I breakfast places.
“When we first started going out we were competitors,” Gayle Novak said, because there was a Broker restaurant in the vicinity at the time. She said that it’s great now having somebody like Ed around who has decades of restaurant savvy, but The Summit is all Gayle’s and she’s got plans.
The venerable steak and seafood fine dining establishment will be tweaked, but Novak insists that the prime beef, the prices and the name will remain the same.
If anything, Novak said, she wants to bring back some of the flavor of the old Aurora Summit.
“I love The Summit. It already has a quality product, it just needs a facelift but we won’t close while we do it,” Novak said, adding that she’s happy to back in business in Aurora. “Aurora’s going to have an economic boom. There are a lot of young families moving in.”
After a few days as the new owner she has “touched every table” and talked to customers. Some things haven’t changed at all.
The filet mignon, the New York strip and the prime rib remain the bestsellers, and diners still crave the au gratin and twice-baked potatoes.
Bear Wings opened recently at 2751 S. Parker Rd. in Aurora. The menu includes subs and Philly steak burgers. ... Sweet Dream is open at 2680 S. Havana St. serving frozen yogurt and scratch-made waffles. ... Yo Craze! is also dishing frozen yogurt in a shop at 18801 E. Hampden Ave. ... The Pudge Bros. franchise at 4034 South Parker Rd. is attracting attention because it is one of the only pizzerias in the state that offers halal pizzas. Halal is an Islamic dietary code similar to the Jewish kosher food rules. In related news, Whole Foods Market is launching the first Ramadan promotion by a national supermarket chain, teaming up with Halal frozen food maker Saffron Road on the Whole Foods website. ... Butchering- and sausage-making demonstrations are on tap when chef Jennifer Jasinski’s Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen in Denver celebrates its first anniversary on Tuesday, Aug. 9. ... The Outback Steakhouse at 6040 South Gun Club Road has closed. ... The City of Aurora is looking for an entrepreneur who wants to open a restaurant in the Aurora Arts District. Details: auroragov.org. ... Five locally-based national restaurant chains made the annual QSR 50 list of the top-grossing quick-service eateries: Chipotle (18th), Quiznos (21st), Boston Market (41st), Qdoba (44th), and Einstein Bros. Bagels (48th).
Satisfy your jones for deep-fried edibles and see who won the competitions for pickles, preserves, jerky and wine at the Adams County Fair through Sunday, Aug. 7 in Brighton and the Boulder County Fair through Saturday, Aug. 6, in Longmont. Then chow down on all-you-can-eat corn on the cob and hear The Guess Who at the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival, Friday, Aug.5 and Saturday, Aug. 6 in, Olathe. ... The City of Aurora Recreation Department offers cooking classes for kids aged 6 to 12 with their parents at the Expo Recreation Center including a pasta-making workshop on Oct. 1. Details: auroragov.org/recreation. ... Plan ahead: The 2nd Annual Rocky Mountain Goat Roast, Aug. 27, Crabtree Brewery, Greeley. Details: tickethorse.com; and Palisade Peach Festival, Aug. 18-21. Information: palisadepeachfest.com
CULINARY TREND UPDATE
Molson Coors is introducing Animee in the UK, a lighter-tasting brew for women, in regular, rose and citrus flavors, because research showed that 79 percent of UK women never or rarely drink beer.... McDonald’s is dropping the McFalafel sandwich from its menus in Israel because it wasn’t selling. ... Sunoco gas stations in western New York are testing a beer-filling station that allows customers to fill up their 64-ounce glass jars (called “growlers”) with local craft beer. ... Food Navigator reports that a team of scientists at Maastricht University in The Netherlands is developing meat products grown from stem cells from cattle. ... According to Journal of the American Dietetic Association, fast food provides children’s greatest source of calories consumed outside the home.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“I’m in favor of liberalizing immigration because of the effect it would have on restaurants. I’d let just about everyone in except the English.” — Calvin Trillin
Send your comments, Aurora restaurant news items, and info on community cookbooks to: jlehndorff@AuroraSentinel.com. Be sure to visit (and like, The Nibbles Facebook page. Tune in to John’s Radio Nibbles show at 8:25 a.m. Thursdays on KGNU, 88.5 FM, 1390 AM, and streaming at KGNU.org.