Hospitality & Tourism  April 22, 2024

Bigsby’s Folly plans larger ‘roaring 20s-inspired’ winery in Superior

SUPERIOR — Bigsby’s Folly Craft Winery & Restaurant’s plans for its Superior expansion are growing. 

The team behind the Superior project, couple Marla Yetka and Chad Yetka, who are also the operators of the original Bigsby’s Folly in Denver’s River North neighborhood, previously received approval to build 5,400 square feet of interior restaurant and events venue space at the corner of Creek View Way and Marshall Road. Now the Yetkas are set to go before the Superior Board of Trustees on Monday evening seeking an amendment to the final development plan that would bump the allowable building size up to 6,200 square feet.

Plans for Bigsby’s Folly’s Superior outpost, which is described in Superior planning documents as being “roaring 20s-inspired,” also call for outdoor patio and roof deck seating areas.

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“Bigsby’s will bring its proven and successful combination of an upscale, family-friendly restaurant, award-winning winery, full bar, and popular private event venue to serve as a community gathering place. Our rooftop deck will have unmatched mountain views for everyone to enjoy,” the operators said in a memo to Superior planners. 

The Yetkas founded Bigsby’s Folly Craft Winery & Restaurant in 2017. “About a year or two after we opened, we knew the concept was viable, and we wanted to reproduce it in other areas,” Marla Yetka told BizWest in a January interview. “But we wanted the second location to be close enough to the first so that we could really be there and have the owner present.”

After an exhaustive search for sites all along the Front Range, the Yetkas found a location in central Superior, where the Downtown Superior development would soon sprout, and “we just kind of fell in love with it,” she said. The “lack of event venues and good wineries and bars” presented an opportunity for Bigsby’s to fill a niche in the community that had plans to build hundreds of homes and thousands of square feet of office space near the Yetkas’ target site at the corner of Coal Creek Drive and Marshall Road.  

The couple was on the verge of signing a lease when the pandemic struck. “Obviously, everything halted,” Yetka said. “We weren’t even sure we were going to make it through with our current business.”

The crew from Bigsby’s Folly — named after the Yetka’s late, beloved golden retriever — and their would-be landlord in Superior “all agreed to get through COVID and see what happens,” Yetka said. 

Fast-forward to late 2021. The Yetkas and the Downtown Superior development team were putting the pandemic in the rearview mirror when the Marshall Fire ripped through eastern Boulder County. 

“Had we been vertical at that point, we would have been gone,” Yetka said. 

The Bigsby’s Folly team regrouped for a few months. In the meantime, Downtown Superior master developer RC Superior LLC, or Ranch Capital, sold the site of the planned Superior winery to Carmel Partners, a multifamily real estate development and investment firm that was not interested in building a food and drink facility and leasing it to the Yetkas.

The couple, who sold their dream home in Denver’s Washington Park neighborhood to launch the RiNo Bigsby’s, decided to buy the land and build a second winery themselves. 

“When we did our first designs around 2019, the cost to do the project was $5.5 million,” Marla Yetka said. Costs have since ballooned, and the project budget was upward of $7.5 million as of early 2024.

While the Yetkas were able to secure some small-business loans with relatively reasonable terms, “it’s just a lot more cost-prohibitive than it would have been two or three years ago.”

Superior town officials have stepped up with tax incentives worth as much $1 million over a period of about a decade. 

“The mayor and the town council (in Superior) have just been bending over backward to welcome us and get the project built there,” Yetka said. “They really want locally owned businesses rather than chains. They want really good-quality tenants.”

The Superior Board of Trustees meets at 6 p.m. Monday to consider a final development plan amendment for Bigsby’s Folly.

Bigsby's Folly winery and restaurant will seek Superior Town Board approval.

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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