Little Annie's scheduled to close permanently next month
One of the oldest bars and restaurants in downtown Aspen is closing. This time for good, its owner says. Carolyn Sackariason has the details.
Little Annies Eating House opened in 1972. And on April 17, it will close permanently. That’s according to owner Rohn Fleming. He took the over the fledgling business a few years ago and has tried to keep it going. But the economics have made it too difficult. He made the final decision on Friday.
“You know, we were all kind of hopeful," he said. "We were all trying to figure out a way to make it work and we kind of ran out of options, basically. I would like to thank everybody for standing behind us all this time. It’s very hard for me. What bothers me is my employees, I love them all. They are like my family and the people who have been coming here for 40 years, or whatever the hell it is.”
The future of Little Annie’s has been threatened numerous times in the past few years. But Fleming and his landlords, Andy and Nikos Hecht, always reached agreement at the 11th hour to keep the watering hole afloat. Often that meant reduced — or free rent.
And in 2013, the Hechts saved the eatery from shuttering after its former owner failed to pay state and city sales taxes, which led to the restaurant and its property being seized. The Hechts spent $40,000 buying everything back from the state in order for Annie’s to open again.
Andy Hecht says while it’s an end of era, he is looking to the future.
“I think it is a great institution in this town and has spanned my life here," he said. "We both sort of arrived at the same time here, or close. It has to change so that change will hopefully give us another 30 years or 40 years. We’ll do our best. For sure.”
The Hyman Avenue space is approved for a remodel. When it does reopen as a restaurant, it must remain affordable per an agreement with the landlords and the city of Aspen.