Longtime restaurant owner Sharon Stone did her best to fight back tears as she spoke about the people, the food and the good times she’s enjoyed at Sharon’s restaurant over the years. With her rent set to triple, Stone Sharon’s will close after a last business day on Friday, September 16th.
“Tomorrow is going to be really tough,” Stone said from the dining room of the restaurant, which has been located at 2851 Riverside Plaza for more than seven years. “I have to say goodbye to my 34-year career and then host a party tonight.”
The truth is, Stone has been serving her customers good food since she started decorating wedding cakes at the age of 12, then switched to her own catering business when she was 14 in 1996. She also ran the City Cafe in the Centennial Hall for two Years to April 2009 and started serving breakfast from Pisa’s riverside pizza and pasta for a couple of years.
Pisa’s was later sold and eventually closed, and Stone returned to the West Steamboat Springs location, where she began serving breakfast and lunch and running her catering business. During COVID-19, she offered free breakfast to those in need.
“I came to Sharon’s in the ’90s,” said Hugh Alexander, longtime customer. “Every time my parents came to Steamboat, they wanted to eat pancakes with Sharon’s. Since then she has moved a few times but we have always found her. She says she cares about people, she feeds people and is a joy to be around.”
Stone said COVID-19 coupled with the struggle to find staff and inflation has made it difficult to keep doors open in recent years. However, news that the rent for the 1,800-square-foot location would increase from $1,500 to $4,500 was the last straw.
“We did what we could to stay alive,” Stone said. “Ever since COVID hit, every time we’ve figured out how to stay alive, someone has thrown something different at us. It was just one obstacle after another.”
She said that in recent years she has transitioned to a model that has hosted more private parties and rehearsal dinners and has focused on the catering business. Despite the staff shortage, she continued to offer fish sandwiches on Fridays and Saturdays. This Friday’s Fish Fry will be the last at Sharon’s, which will be open from 10am to 2pm, but Stone said she was refusing to give in to disappointment.
“It is what it is,” Stein said. “I think the right thing is going to happen and you have to leave it in the hands of the universe and see where the little ball bounces. I can’t afford the $4,500 a month so maybe it’s time for a change, maybe I need a new location. I don’t know if everything is up in the air at the moment.”
Stone said she was looking for a space that offered a commercial kitchen with a small dining room where she could host events and private breakfasts and meet the needs of her busy catering business. She is considering teaming up with some other local business owners in hopes they can find a kitchen and space where they can share the costs.
“I’m just trying to get through this month and see what happens because … you’re stressing out and you’re stressing out and you’re stressing out about what you’re supposed to be doing,” Stone said. “Then all of a sudden you let it go, you’re having a beer in the sun and the phone rings and something else crazy is going to happen and it’s the perfect solution. I just want to skip all the stress and go straight for a beer in the sun. That is my philosophy.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.