This Woman Is Turning Old Ski Gondolas into Private Dining Rooms

We love this idea snow much!

The way we eat out at restaurants has changed a lot since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This cafe in Germany even experimented with using pool noodles for social distancing.

Not all restaurants have gone to such great lengths, but most have reopened with major changes—like socially distanced tables, mandated masks while not eating and expanded outdoor seating.

It was far easier to handle outdoor seating in the warm months of summer. In most places, though, winter isn’t so kind. Especially not in a place like Colorado! That’s why Dominique Bastien uses her skills to help restaurants stay afloat.

How Did It All Start?

Dominique, owner of the Gondola Shop, had been collecting defunct ski gondolas (almost over 100!) for quite some time in hopes of repurposing them. She had no idea the restrictions of a global pandemic would help get her ideas into motion!

Wendy and Rich Tucciarone, owners of the Mountain Top Brewery in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, realized they needed a way to keep safe outdoor seating available even in the dropping temperatures. When they decided ski gondolas would be the perfect solution, they found Dominique with her fleet of out-of-service gondolas, and the idea was born.

What Is the Gondola Shop?

Dominique and her several employees work to refurbish and upcycle ski gondolas that no longer work. Based out of Fruita, Colorado, the shop works to renovate the gondolas completely with a team of painters, welders, woodworkers and other artisans. The process itself takes up to six weeks, but the outcome is amazing!

Restaurants can buy an as-is gondola for just under $5,000, but a completely upcycled gondola made for dining will cost $15,000 to $20,000. She also rents them out for $500 per month, and we’d love to have one in the backyard.

Where Can You Dine in a Gondola?

Aside from Mountain Top Brewery, she’s been getting requests from restaurants in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, San Francisco, St. Louis and Sun Valley, Idaho.

You can spot some of her gondolas at Rocky River Wine Bar and Market,located in Cleveland. There are also a few rented gondolas located at Pizza Republica in Denver. Hopefully you’ll be able to find a gondola or two at a restaurant near you. Stay safe and happy eating!

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Melany Love
Having always wanted a career in writing, Melany couldn't have found a better place than Taste of Home to begin. When she's not scribbling in her notebook or working at her computer, she can be found experimenting with new recipes or relaxing with a book and her cats.