LittleHouse

The LittleHouse building was designed and built from the ground up specifically for the latest project by local restaurateurs Erich Owen and Ross Martin. (Courtesy photo)

It may be a little house, but big things are happening at 219 West Pacific Ave. Tucked cozily into a residential corner across from the Transfer Warehouse, the little house has earned its capital letters as LittleHouse, a new delicatessen serving up gourmet soups, salads and sandwiches. Created to provide nourishing nosh for both dine-in and take-out, LittleHouse’s menu is versatile, serving up après-perfect appetizers and cocktails alongside grab-and-go items for the no-fuss gourmand, like the butternut squash lasagna or the ahi poke salad.

“We wanted a place in town that was kind of a gourmet grab-and-go eatery, that lended the space for some dine-in as well,” said Ross Martin, LittleHouse co-owner, along with Erich Owen. “You can grab lunch, dinner or après-ski, with some fun cocktails and some fun, interesting food. Or you can come in and pick up some additions to complete a meal at home — soups, stews, mac and cheese, lasagna, roasted chicken — and take those home for dinner without having to dine out.”

LittleHouse opened its doors for business just before Christmas, bringing to life the second collaboration between local restaurateurs and chefs Martin and Owen, also the masterminds behind The National, a fine dining establishment opened in Telluride in 2018. The two had worked as chefs in prestigious restaurants around the country by the time they met in the early 2000s, and their shared philosophy on good food paired well with their love of skiing and mountains.

The two became fast friends, and eventually, business partners. When Owen and Martin began collaborating on The National, they knew they wanted to explore a few different concepts together as restaurateurs.

“There’s no one who sees more eye to eye on food than Erich and I together,” Martin said, noting that the management team at LittleHouse includes longtime industry professionals Will Nolan as executive chef and Mairen Reagan as general manager.

“Our kids are all friends, raised together from high chairs to driving cars,” Martin said. “We’ve all been close-knit friends and family. It was a seamless process to get the team together.”

When it comes to the menu, diners can expect not only organic, gourmet concoctions by Chef Nolan but also an influence from his native New Orleans, with dishes like crawfish etouffee gracing the menu on occasion.

“He’s an incredibly talented individual,” said Martin of Nolan’s skills in the kitchen. “The concept is a menu that will be ever-changing.”

Currently, comfort food staples feature a gourmet twist, including a popular truffle grilled cheese and a fried bologna sandwich with a spicy Asian slaw. Diners may also choose à la carte items from the cold case, as well as rotating à la carte offerings served hot.

“We source from as many local farmers as we can,” said Owen of the team’s food sourcing. “Wherever it's available we buy organic and fresh food. That’s something that’s part of our beliefs.”

As the weather warms, patrons can look forward to the large open-air patio space created by opening the garage door. While the house is indeed little, it was custom built in a previously empty lot for the delicatessen.

“The building is brand new, it just got completed last month,” said Owen. “It was cool to be involved in the architecture and design.”

While the food and design were carefully crafted to create a memorable dining experience, another ingredient is key for the LittleHouse team: warmth.

“We focus on hospitality and a friendly environment,” said Owen. “We want it to be a relaxed and super fun place. Once warmer weather arrives we’ll have a larger open-air space, and we have a wide selection with everything from vegan food to dinner entrees. It’s a great environment in a great location.”