By Lori York DVM
Photo: From left to right: David Paradise, Manager; Brianna Short, Lead Bartender; Danny Alverez, Restaurant & Bar Manager; Brittany Presnell, Bartender; Todd, Head Chef; and Curtis, Kitchen assistant
The Elks Lodge in Cortez at 2100 N. Dolores Rd got a new Manager in July 2022. His name is David Paradise, and his goal is to return the Elks Lodge to its glory days and make it a true community center again. He wants it to become a safe place for people to meet, and a fun restaurant with great food. The restaurant is open to the public, you do not have to be a member of the Elks to enjoy !
David has plenty of useful experience to make the Lodge a success again. David was born and raised in Missouri, and moved to Alaska in his 20's. While in Alaska and working as a rafting guide and a mountain climbing guide, he found time to win the 2007 Iron Chef contest. He eventually moved to the Virgin Islands and ran a successful Private Chef, Catering and Wedding company. So he worked with the Rich and Famous and I had to ask "Did you meet some famous people?" Yes, he did, and he even dropped some names (because I asked that too): Eric Clapton, Bette Midler, Robert Downey, Jr. OK, I have to admit I was impressed.
David and his small but excellent staff are working to create a great dining experience at the Elks. You can go to their website CortezElks.com for the weekly schedule for events and restaurant hours. The winter hours may vary weekly, but they plan on having a consistent schedule by spring.
The Republican Women can vouch for the quality of the food and service. They have had their last 2 lunch meetings at the Elks, and were very happy with everything. The dining area is a lovely room to have a meal and a meeting, and we plan to continue having our meetings there through 2023.
Remember to check the website for their current hours and menu, and visit them soon for a meal!