We had the good fortune of connecting with Linda Lovegreen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Linda, what do you attribute your success to?
I believe the single most important factor to the Success of Climb elevated eater is consistent quality! We strive to deliver high quality food and customer service in a quality environment . Our guests keep coming back and spread the word to others about us because they can depend on the quality we offer, which equals success! On the personal side, I believe I am successful because I am determined! Once I have determined that an idea is worth pursuing I do not waver, I do not stop, I keep pushing toward the goal/s.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have spent most of my professional life in sales but have always had a passion for cooking and entertaining. Once I decided to pursue opening a restaurant and becoming its chef, I took classes at our local community college, read many books on restaurant management and began working nights and weekends in restaurants. As a 40ish year old women, I was not taken seriously among all the young bucks in the kitchens!! I literally had to push my way up to grill cook as I was continually left to be complacent at the cold stations and I knew I needed that grill experience!. If I ever mentioned that I was going to open a restaurant, to anyone, I was always met with the eye roll or a “don’t do it!”. It was difficult, at times, to keep my confidence alive. For me, the more I could learn through reading, researching, working on my business plan and physically cooking (testing potential recipes) the more confident I became. From the beginning I’ve felt like this was a “calling”, it was what I was meant to be doing.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Lake City is such a special, beautiful place; I mean, we are the most remote county in the lower 48! First, I would make sure to secure 3 nights reservations at Climb elevated eatery, as it can be hard to get in and secure a fly fishing guide from one of our local providers.
The first day, we want to take it easy, drink lots of water and allow time to adjust to the altitude as we are at 8670′. A perfect day to enjoy the various shops downtown. We will stop at Packers for lunch and sit on their huge patio to enjoy the amazing blue Skys Colorado is known for. A bit more shopping after lunch followed by a visit to Sweeties Wildlife Art Zoo before heading to an early dinner at Climb elevated eatery.
Day two, we’ll pick-up the pace and get a guide to take us Fly Fishing. But first, we have to swing through Cillin for coffee and breakfast! The guides are so talented and knowledgeable about the best places to fish and are super helpful. A most peaceful day on the river can’t be beat! We’ll pick-up a pizza from Silver Slice Pizza to enjoy back at the house after our day of fishing.
Day three we will rent ATV’s and “do the loop”. We’ll stop at our local Bakery for a little treat and Chillin for coffee before we head out. This is an amazing drive that goes over engineer and cinnamon passes. We won’t want to miss the photo opportunity at American Basin where we’ll stop for our picnic lunch. Our ride will take 4-5 hours. On our way back into town we’ll stop at the Lake City Brewing Company and enjoy a local craft beer and a flight of their deviled eggs. Then we’ll head to Climb for a late dinner.
Day Four, we are going to stop at Begging for Bagels for breakfast and then head out for a sightseeing tour. We will drive around Lake San Christobal, then head south, stopping at all of the points of interest, we’ll swing into Windy Point Overlook, Continental Divide and on to the stunning North Clear Creek Waterfall! On our way back to Lake City we’ll veer off to Dear Lakes in the hopes of seeing a moose or two and then back to Lake City for a great lunch at Southern Vittles, you must try their fried shrimp! Then to get our legs stretched we’ll go for a light hike on Henson Creek Trail and head over to catch the movie at our local theatre! After the movie we’ll head over for a drink or two at the local bar, Restless Spirits.
Day 5 we wake-up early, pack all the necessities and head to the Uncompadre trail head and climb a 14er!!! We’ll take it slow and steady; it is such an awesome feeling when you’ve accomplished this! A must do in Lake City! We’ll go have dinner at the Lake City Cafe before we fall into bed.
Day 6, We are going to go for an awesome hike! There are so many to choose from…depending on the time of year we’ll pick between Independence and Devils Creek Trails. We’ll get cleaned-up and go for our final celebratory dinner at Climb elevated eatery!
Day 7, we go to the Sportsman for a great breakfast before you head home.
Top 3 things everyone must do if they visit Lake City:
1. Climb Uncompadre or some other 14eer
2. Do The Loop
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I could never have gotten to where I am without the support of my husband, Jerry Johnson. He has always been my biggest supporter and encourager in anything I’ve wanted do; but to fully support my idea to open a restaurant and be the chef, when I had never done either before, is truly amazing. I thank God for putting Jerry in my life; there would not be a Climb elevated eatery without him! My mentor and Uncle, Don Hays was incredibly important in ensuring the success of Climb elevated eatery! As a successful restauranteur, he pushed me to plan and answer the hard questions that set us up for success. I am so thankful for him.
I also have a great friend, Lisa, who always had faith in me. She was my cheerleader; always saying, “if anyone can do, it is you!” Her support confirmed my abilities and made me push through.
And last but not least, the guiding force of God who continually opened doors for me through the entire process and continues to do so to this day.