By Dana Lee Fruend

Dana Lee Fruend
A mural painted by Heidi Leavitt in the new dining hall and speakeasy expansion at the Side Track restaurant.

On May 23, Side Track Restaurant in Caliente will be celebrating its one-year anniversary, and the successful restaurant is opening up a new attached dining hall and speakeasy. The new hall will accommodate large groups and organizations for banquets and parties. Plus, it is great for the much-needed overflow seating.

“We are so excited to share with the public our new Side Car dining hall and speakeasy,” said Side Track co-owner May Love. “It is a 1920-30s themed space. We purchased the building next door to Side Track from Mark Holt. It is 1,500 square feet, all newly remodeled and will offer a non-smoking atmosphere.”

To start out, the speakeasy will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 5 p.m. till late.

“We will serve beer on tap, wine and signature speakeasy cocktails,” Love said. “Our new lead bartender is Amanda Collea from Las Vegas along with Jamie Van Roekel, Dana Lee Fruend (the Caliente Tea Mistress) and myself.”

Love said the business will continue to offer activities and events throughout the year, keeping it fun for our community and tourists.

“With the remodel, we knew from the start that we wanted to add a mural. We had admired the fantastic work of Heidi Leavitt of Alamo and asked her to paint one for us. It reflects brilliantly the Prohibition era. It took approximately 95-plus hours for her to complete it,” Love said, adding that the mural is “breathtaking.”

There are sliding barn doors separating the speakeasy from the dining hall. The owners are also working on the back area for an outdoor gathering space.

Co-owner Jamie Van Roekel said, “We are really happy to have a new environment to work in. We are always updating our menu and have a great selection for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our homemade and hand-rolled pizzas have been a huge hit. People are loving our homemade soups, vegan offerings and specialty beers, which are really popular with the mountain bike community. We are working on speakeasy specials and really believe our community and tourists will love it.”

Van Roekel added, “Saturday night (May 25), as part of our celebration, we will be rocking the block with a live rock ’n roll concert and street dance with the band Three Blind Mice from Las Vegas! During the concert, S&M Margaritas will be here at 7 p.m. with their new Mobile Margaritas trailer, and our neighbors Tall Bike Ed’s will be holding their grand opening at 9 a.m., Saturday, with us, and then hold their Light the Night ride at 8:30 p.m. Come down and join in the celebration.”

The anniversary celebration and soft opening of the Side Car is 5 p.m. Friday, May 24. The ribbon-cutting grand opening is Saturday, 9 a.m., before the parade. The public is invited.