Driving to the Post Office, I noticed the door was open in that old building next to Social Security, so I mailed my letter, turned back on Main Street, parked my car and walked right in. It was like being at the goal line of a vast, brick-enclosed football field stretching downfield 100 yards to the opposite wall, where a view of Simpson’s Rest cast sunbeams through a window, helping to illuminate this immense interior space. At what might approximately be the 50- yard line, a carpenter was noisily pounding wood beams into a platform while his wife stacked pieces of scrap into a neat pile nearby.Surprised at my sudden intrusion, he looked at me, eyebrows raised in silent questioning.“Sorry to bother you, but I thought I’d take a look to see if this would be a good place for the Trinidad Area arts Council to set up an art gallery and classrooms….” “Naw.” That apparently amusing thought evoked a smile. “This is going to be a restaurant, and I’m building a platform for a disc jockey,” came the reply. “Are you the person in charge?” I thought maybe he could explain what kind of a restaurant in little Trinidad could fill that humungous space. I glanced up to see an equally huge second floor above. “Not me, it’s these guys here.” He gestured to the forms of three young men who had silently and mysteriously appeared behind me. “Hi.” I whirled around, somewhat embarrassed by my flagrant curiosity. “My name is Cynthia Ploski. I was just interested in what has been going on here for such a long time. The door was open….” The three men could not have been more polite, and offered to show me around. Yes, it will become a restaurant, but what a restaurant! It will serve food on both floors, provide a banquet hall for weddings, reunions, celebrations and dances, and have a seating capacity of over 400 people. It will be sports-themed, a place for folks to gather in a safe, friendly environment to eat, drink and watch their favorite teams on large-screen TVs scattered throughout the building. It will cater to local residents and local sports and is expected to entice visitors to shuttle from their I-25 hotels to dine in historic downtown Trinidad and enjoy our sights and culture. It is a huge undertaking, and the three men I met - Clayton Marquez, Joey Salazar and Jeremy Zoglemann - believe that when it is completed it will draw people to Trinidad. “If we build it, they will come,” smiled Marquez. It is a Trinidad Field of Dreams. The dreams began when grandpa “Maldo” Bueno bought the building at 231 E. Main Street in the 1960s and established a furniture and antiques store on the ground floor. The building, constructed in 1913-1916, had been divided to create eight apartments on the second floor, known as the Mary Ann Apartments. That name, with the address 231 1/2, can still be seen lettered above one of the front doors, surviving the five-year restoration process. As a young boy, Clayton Marquez played in his grandfather’s furniture store and helped Maldo with odd chores. He absorbed the spirit that made Trinidad a special place and held it, along with great love for his grandfather, in his heart. Perhaps he dreamed that one day it would be his heritage. Clayton carried that dream with him as he went to Denver to earn a living and enjoy a long association with the Avalanche hockey team, hoping to someday bring his wife and little girl back to live in Trinidad. Before his grandfather died, Marquez enlisted the aid of his brother-in-law Joey Salazar, who owns a construction and restoration business in Denver (Elite Restoration) to begin the renewal of that venerable old building. Through Clayton and Joey, and with the auxiliary help of Jeremy, the old man must have enjoyed the satisfaction of having
his grandchildren carry on the Marquez/Salazar family tradition of being part of the commercial lifeblood flow of Trinidad. It has been about five years since that process began, and within six to eight months the brothers-in-law anticipate the venerable old building opening its doors, newly reincarnated as one of the growing number of lovingly restored Victorian buildings drawing widespread attention to old Trinidad. It has been a daunting task, involving patience and tolerance from the building’s good neighbors, since heavy equipment had to be brought in to the crowded block to restore and reinforce the 8,000-square-foot roof and shore up the building’s structure with steel beams and girders. Marquez and Salazar are lavish in expressing their appreciation to the folks at Social Security, Century Savings and Loan, Corradino’s, Quick Lube and Tire and Ju-Jo’s for their tolerance and good will, and thanks to Joe Martinez (Majestic Fencing) for the use of his heavy equipment. One of the reasons the restoration has taken so long is that instead of applying for government grants to finance the restoration as a historic building, they have relied upon obtaining their own financing. Another shout-out goes to the International Bank for its cooperation in helping the family’s dream become reality. Also, thanks goes to Chris Kelly from the City Building department for his help and expertise. Work progressed as financing became available and the three restorers could commute from Denver to oversee the project. In addition to local financing, they have employed local workers to complete the various stages. After all, the dream is for Trinidad, and is being created by Trinidad. All along, their purpose has been to reduce the carbon footprint of heating and electrifying the cavernous, 28,000- square-foot building. To that end, they replaced the large, leaky, single-pane windows with smaller insulating windows that let in natural lighting. The electric lighting will all be L.E.D. and the roof replacement was insulated with R-17 foam, resulting in R-33 to R-55 rating. So what will customers see when they enter the fully restored and revitalized building at 231 E.Main Street? The front door will open into the restaurant seating area, with sports-themed décor and local art. Supporting steel columns and beams will stay exposed free of the drywall, telling the silent story of strength in bringing this old building to new life - the strength of the building’s part in Trinidad’s history, the strength of the bloodlines that continue to flow and bring people back to their hometown, the strength of the people who use hammer and chisel to reinvent it, and the strength of the men who carried on this project despite many obstacles to achieving its transformation. Moving through the restaurant seating area, the visitor will enter the huge banquet room at the back of the ground floor. There, Simpson’s Rest, capped with the TRINIDAD sign and waving American flag, will shine through the windows onto a large dance floor and banquet tables. Midway between the two ground floor rooms, a stairwell will lead to the second story. In the back, above the banquet area will be a state-of-the-art kitchen in which the restaurant’s trademark steaks, salads and barbecues will be prepared. A rear door, leading out over another rooftop behind the kitchen will give unique access to the culinary area. The room facing Main Street upstairs, once the domain of those eight apartments, will have additional seating and bar services. Oh, how easy to imagine, while sitting drinking and nibbling, and conversing, all the life stories that unfolded within those walls! Then to top it all, pardon the pun, will be a rooftop deck accessed by stairs in the center of the second story, which will provide a fabulous view of Trinidad, surrounded by its hills and mountains. The name of this renewed establishment is a secret that all my curiosity failed to worm out of Clayton, Joey and Jeremy. But I am going to stop apologizing for my curiosity. Some may call it being nosy, but curiosity takes me to new places where I find fascinating stories and interesting people. It leads me through open doors, into exciting awareness. Look what happened when I walked through that door. I met three strong and motivated young men who are following their bliss, working on fulfilling a dream to benefit themselves, their families, and all of Trinidad. That’s inspirational! And it gives me hope for the future of this town I love.
THE CHRONICLE NEWS
Thursday APRIL 21, 2011
City approves large venue Main Street restaurant liquor license
The two-story Brix restaurant-bar at 231 E. Main St. is undergoing a complete renovation in preparation for a September opening to fill the large-venue vacuum the city has had in recent years.
The Trinidad venue vacuum for large wedding and birthday receptions, class reunions, business meetings and other special events in the city is scheduled to be filled by September after the Trinidad City Council unanimously approved a new hotel and restaurant liquor license request for " Brix" at Tuesday night's regular meeting. Trinidad natives and business partners Clayton Marquez and Joseph Salazar said they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and the past five years renovating what had been Marquez's old two-story, 22,000 square-foot family business furniture store at 231 E. Main St., adjacent to the Century Savings building. Their renovated building will offer a seating capacity of 439 with 7,500 square feet available on the first level and eventually another 4,100 square feet on the second level as phase II of their project. Renovation work so far has included a new roof, re-framing, exterior stucco work, 36 new windows and four large heating and air conditioning roof units. The Brix will be the Trinidad High School graduates' first venture into the bar-restaurant business. Both have been operating successful metro Denver area businesses since they left Trinidad in the 1990s before deciding they wanted to come backhome to their roots. Marquez and Salazar stressed that Trinidad residents have had no other place to go when they want to schedule special events and receptions for more than 250 people. Trinidad Police Chief Charles Glorioso said he had no objections to the proposed operating plans. Trinidad & Las Animas County Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer-Executive Director Kim Schultz also stressed the great need for such a large venue in Trinidad. She pointed out the city has lost numerous special events in the past for lack of a large venue site outside of Sebastiani Gym, which requires promoters to bring in their own interior fixtures and decorations. "They have made a considerable personal investment to bring this project to fruition and the city really needs a venue of this size for a maxed-out capacity of greater than 120 people," said Schultz. Salazar said the restaurant will offer a full-service menu selection for lunch and dinner with plans to stay open until 11 p.m. for people who want to be served after evening sporting events in thecity. Breakfast service is a possibility on weekends. They plan to model their menu after the Texas Roadhouse national chain of restaurants. The two partners said they have already purchased their surveillance cameras and other security equipment with Marquez stressing the operation will have "zero tolerance for any riff-raff" coming into the restaurant andbar. "We want to maintain a family atmosphere at all times and ensure that nothing gets out of hand." Appropriate dress will be emphasized. He said they were able to secure 120 petition signatures from neighboring business owners in support of the bar-restaurant and heard only one minor objection. The partners said they are also in the process of securing outside parking spaces and plan to lease a nearby parking lot from Mullare-Murphy Funeral Home and a smaller lot from Century Savings for at least a minimum total of 80 spaces. Lots of nearby street parking should also be available, they said. The Brix's scheduled opening target date is Sept. 1 with a large wedding reception already booked for that date. "Our hearts and souls are still in Trinidad," said Marquez. "I want to bring my daughter back here so she can experience growing up in Trinidad like I did.We also want to help revitalize historic downtown Trinidad."
Family’s dream comes together one Brix at a time-
Chronicle newspaper February 1st 2013
Two years ago I walked uninvited through an open door at 231 West Main St. to find Clayton Marquez and Joey Salazar working hard at their dream to give the old family-owned building a new role in the life of Trinidad as a modern restaurant and meeting space. Last week, almost exactly two years later, I returned to find that dream fulfilled. The build- ing that decades ago housed Maldo Bueno’s furniture and antiques store will soon open its doors to the public as the long anticipated Brix Sports Bar and Grill. Two years ago, the vast interior behind those open doors was dim and empty. Five years of work had been taken up with the essential primary task of upgrading the 100-year-old building’s original con- struction to give it new, structurally sound, breath and life. What I see as I enter two years later is an astonish- ing transformation. Gleaming and shining, a 30- foot-long stainless steel pub bar with under-counter LED programmable colored lights stretching away in front of the wall on my right. Behind it, the wall (which has been relieved by means of lots of elbow grease of its many coats of paint) shows off the under- lying bricks that give the restaurant its name. Upon those bricks play a half dozen flat screen high-defi- nition TVs, all tuned to the same high-saturation color basketball game. Hanging down to illumi- nate the bar, old-fashioned Edison style light bulbs descend from their connec- tions among giant metal heating ductworks. Along with the bars and beams supporting and stabilizing the two-story, 22,000-square - foot building, they form a gigantic cats cradle of lines above us. Hidden among those overhead utilities are more programmable LED lights, some of which cast the effect of colored water flowing down the brick walls, plus 18 state of the art sound system speakers controlled from a disc jock- ey’s booth near the stairs to the second floor. The floor of this huge room has been stripped of its layered overburden by heavy-duty concrete grind- ing machines, exposing the beauty of the original stone checkerboard design. The floor stretches far away to a distant wall; but that wall is not the end. It is the begin- ning of a commodious and elegant meeting room with views of Simpson’s Rest occupying the entire west end of the ground floor. Hanging chandelier lighting and a soft color scheme make it a perfect place for wedding recep- tions, graduation parties or training workshops. Yes, it contains a fabulous sound system, a giant pull-down projection screen and gen- erous sized dance floor. Soon there will be in place all the staff and facilities needed to arrange every detail for stress free event planning. No detail has been over- looked, from the super-effi- cient heating and central air conditioning and insu- lated windows, to the huge window that opens like an overhead garage door to the open air of Main Street’s sidewalk, to the chilled lines leading from kegs in the basement to the 12 dif- ferent draft beers on tap at the bar. That way, the beer arrives into your mug at about 32-34 degrees to chill your lips, frost the glass and deliver just the right amount of foam. As Clayton Marquez, and Joey and Jamie Salazar led me around from top to bottom, the vast extent of their vision, hard work and dedication to making this the best it can be reveals itself as a dream evolving through generations of one Trinidad family. It’s a story that embraces those values and attitudes characterized by the “good old days” when hard work and vision spelled success. It began when Clayton and Jamie’s grandfather “Maldo” Bueno bought the World War I era building in 1958. The ground floor fac- ing Main Street became Maldo’s antiques and furni- ture store, while the upstairs held a group of individual suites of rooms known as the ”Mary Ann” apartments. In one of those apart- ments, Clayton Marquez lived as a young boy. After school, the lad often helped his beloved grandfather around the store. He always held a special affec- tion for the old building and dreamed of fixing it up some day. Fast forward to adult- hood: Clayton and Jamie’s family left their roots in Trinidad to make a living in a larger city. In Denver, Clayton married and became the father of a little girl, while enjoying a long association with the Avalanche hockey team. A few years ago, his sister Jamie met and married the visionary owner of Elite Construction and Restoration, Joey Salazar. Clayton had never lost his dream of restoring the old building, and had worked on it himself, a bit at a time, over several years. But when Joey joined the team, he brought clarity and focus to the vision. It was at this point that passion and persever- ance joined up with possi- bility, and the dream began to emerge into reality. It grew bigger and brighter in family gatherings and in family conversations. One can easily imagine the spir- it of Maldo Bueno hovering nearby to guide them towards excellence and sus- tain them over the bumps in the road. Joey and Clayton got to work with their hands and all their hearts. What they could not do themselves, they hired local craftspeo- ple to accomplish under their supervision. Jamie became the chief interior designer, choosing organic colors and textures to enhance and honor the spir- it of that great building itself. These young people are truly perfectionists. To learn what is new and dif- ferent, state of the art, and what works to augment their vision, they visited restaurants, sports bars and public gathering places, tracking down whatever they felt would enhance their restaurant and its future phases as convention and event center. Their long weekly rides back and forth from Denver together proved valuable as sound- ing boards to test and toss around ideas and informa- tion. At home, they watched and recorded the Food Channel for menu ideas. They talked with potential managers, waiters and event planners to gar- ner ideas. At the same time they continued planting seeds for future top-notch staff and employment opportunities to grow among Trinidad residents. And all the while, they worked to raise money to put in the project, avoiding the bureaucratic red tape of government loans. Over eight long years, Maldo Bueno’s grandchildren worked to raise enough money to proceed, a bit at a time. Without that perse- verance, their passion would never have had a life as possibility. It has paid off. Phase 1, the sports bar and grill will open in a few weeks, as soon as the final inspec- tions have been performed. The second floor sports an amazing, state of the art kitchen with top of the line stainless steel appliances that should feel to future chefs like entering the gates of paradise. Menus for appetizers, lunches, dinners and week- end late hour nightclubbing are being finalized. Young, athletic staff wearing white t-shirts lettered with “BRIX Sports Bar and Grill, Trinidad, CO” will shuttle food from second floor kitchen to ground floor tables, just like in classy New York bistros, while background music will ele- vate diners’ spirits and fans enjoy that super chilled draft beer and snack on goodies while watching the games in high definition TV. Phase 2 will open the sec- ond floor to more diners in elegant surroundings, and Phase 3 will include a rooftop deck with a fantas- tic view of Trinidad, nes- tled in the valley below with Simpson’s Rest domi- nating the horizon. And yes, there may yet be a phase 4 from the fertile minds of Clayton, Joey and Jamie — something about a possible game room in the huge basement that once was an auto repair shop. I can hardly wait to be one of the first customers at the Brix Sports Bar and Grill. I heard a hint about a secret family green chile recipe and homemade tor- tilla. When I visited the site two years ago, the name of the restaurant was still under wraps. Now we know it’s BRIX. So how come that name? I was told that Trinidad is known for its brick streets and Trinidad bricks. The team wanted to reflect and benefit Trinidad. Also, Jamie pointed out, the whole interior was made of bricks covered with layers and layers of old paint. They all had to be scrubbed down to their natural state. Thousands and thousands of bricks, and their hands have been on every one of them. Calling the restau- rant BRIX honors their association with those mel- low red bricks that were born in Trinidad beehive kilns. Young Clayton’s Field of Dreams for fixing up the old building has finally come true in the actual story of a multi-generational family’s love, passion, integrity and vision. Looking down from above, Maldo Bueno must be very proud.
Contact Cynthia Berresse Ploski at email@example.com