Biz Buzz, July 22, 2012

Vance Johnson admits to having some trepidation about opening a restaurant in an economy that continues to hobble along like the Denver Broncos’ offense did at times last season.

To him, it’s a bit like the fear he felt in his professional football career, when the former Broncos wide receiver was charged with darting across the middle of the field and wrapping his hands around a John Elway-fired pass, all while trying to avoid a head-rattling collision with a member of the opposing team.

“We don’t want to fail,” Johnson said. “I told my employees that I don’t want to see ‘Epic Failure’ on the front page of the newspaper.”

So fighting off those butterflies like he did in his playing days, Johnson on Friday held a grand opening for Vance’s Epic-Curious, 115 W. Grand Ave., Suite A, making it the second eatery he operates on the Western Slope. He opened VJ’s Outlaw Ribbs in Parachute in 2005.

The Grand Junction restaurant, operating out of the former home of Smashburger and next to Subway, will offer an array of dishes ranging from Cajun cuisine and fish tacos to barbecue and burgers.

“It’s a vacation on a plate,” Johnson said.

His inspiration for the menu came from his travels around the country as a football player, while Epicurious Fine Foods, a Carbondale gourmet market Johnson frequented when he lived in Glenwood Springs, planted the seed for the restaurant’s name.

The “sports restaurant, not a sports bar,” as Johnson refers to it, is decorated predominantly in Broncos-themed memorabilia and photographs.

Vance’s Epic-Curious is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

■ After months of remodeling work, Buffalo Wild Wings is about to land in Grand Junction.

The national restaurant chain will open Aug. 6 at 2412 U.S. Highway 6&50, although it’s expecting a hearty — and hungry — group of people may show up a little before then.

As it does when it opens restaurants, Buffalo Wild Wings will offer free wings for a year to the first 100 people in line, according to Scott Sahling, the company’s region manager for Colorado.

Workers have been busy the last few weeks completing the exterior remodel and putting the finishing touches on the interior.

The restaurant known for boneless, Buffalo and New York-style wings with 14 signature sauces likely will leave an impression in other ways. The Grand Junction location boasts roughly 65 televisions, including a half-dozen projection screens, Sahling said.

“It will have more A/V (audio-video equipment) than Grand Junction has seen in one building,” he said.

Buffalo Wild Wings will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 2 a.m. and Sunday until midnight.

■ After 16 years of selling mattresses inside a small space — and adjacent to the noisy play area — at Mesa Mall, the Sleep Number store has moved to a new and larger — and presumably quieter — location.

The mattress and bedding retailer held a grand opening Saturday at its new store at 2504 U.S. Highway 6&50, Suite 250, next to Starbucks. The 2,900-square-foot showroom is more than four times the size of the 700-square-foot mall store out of which employees operated since 1996.

“We have more floor space, a nicer environment away from the play area,” store manager Alex Treto said. “We have all the products displayed now instead of half.”

In recognition of its grand opening, Sleep Number is offering buy one, get one free on all bedding and discounts on delivery and setup through Aug. 11, Treto said.

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