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From Beach to Peak

BY Amanda Rae | February 8, 2019 | Feature Features

Sister to a beloved St. Barts restaurant, Betula finds an island of its own in the mountains.
Striped bass wrapped in yuca, served with charred endive, sweet potatoes and curry hollandaise

Based on location alone, the two restaurants seem a world apart: Bonito on the sands of St. Barts; Betula flanked by snow-capped Aspen Mountain. Yet Aspen has long been compared to a secluded paradise in the Rockies, long frequented by beachgoers including owners Juan Carlos Perez Febres and chef Laurent Cantineaux. As with most Aspen stories, only under a perfect storm of circumstances did the partners find opportunity here: Hurricane Irma ravaged the Caribbean in September 2017, forcing 9-year-old Bonito closed. During renovations that would require the better part of a year, Perez Febres and Cantineaux returned to Colorado, a state they visit often, and discovered treasure at last: bb’s, which sat dark on the second floor of East Cooper Avenue after a seven-year run.

Betula—named for the genus of silver birch trees as widespread in France as aspens in North America—has planted roots. Architect-turned-restaurateur Perez Febres revamped the 2,800-square-foot space as if designing a West End Victorian cottage for the modern era. The cozy interior smacks of sea breeze: white wainscoting and crown molding; gray and beige tones with touches of cornflower blue; brass lighting over cushy banquette and table seating.

Photography Courtesy Of: