By Laurelle Walsh

Many changes are afoot all over downtown Winthrop this spring, and a trio of businesses on Bridge Street are among those undergoing transformation.

Boulder Creek Deli is doing a total renovation and menu rework; Java Man’s new owner is adding menu items as well as seating; and a new shop called Shotgun Nellies has opened, featuring rustic decor and hand-dipped candles.

Boulder Creek Deli

When Chris and Kerri Butler purchased Boulder Creek Deli in February 2013, they told each other they’d operate it for one year under the original business model, but realized early on that changes were in order.

“We’ve been talking to each other all along about what works and what doesn’t,” said Chris Butler. “We assessed everything.”

The result? A complete interior overhaul, “all the way down to the pipes and wires,” which will improve workspace flow and upgrade around 75 percent of the kitchen equipment, Butler said.

They are also shifting the restaurant’s focus to barbecue.

Chris Butler has been smoking meat for over 10 years, and developed his own dry rub and barbecue sauce in the process. Last year on ’49er Days weekend, Butler slow smoked 40 pounds of meat for pulled pork sandwiches; they sold out in an hour and a half. They repeated it on Memorial Day weekend with the same results. 

“We had people come in and ask, ‘When are you going to make it again?’” Butler recalls.

So, with a clear mandate from their fans, the Butlers are bringing in slow-smoked wood-fired barbecue: brisket, pulled pork and ribs initially and, “at some point,” chicken and sausage.

They will also need extra staff to fill the new summer hours: noon to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

Boulder Creek Deli is currently closed for renovations — they passed an electrical inspection last week — but the goal is to re-open for ’49er Days weekend.

For more information call 996-3990.

Java Man

Karl Berg quietly took over ownership of Java Man on Jan. 1, after lending a hand at the espresso bar and burrito joint for several months following the hospitalization of the restaurant’s former operator Andy Johnson.

“Java Man has been my hangout for the last 20 years,” said Berg, a former sales representative for Food Services of America, who has also been involved in running three other Winthrop restaurants — Riverside Grill, Giovanni’s and Grubstake & Co. — over the last quarter century.

Berg has built new bench seating along Java Man’s front wall and moved the espresso bar, opening up around 80 square feet of additional table space, he said. “I am able to seat 10 more people in that little spot,” Berg said.

He’s also looking into providing outdoor seating on the covered deck and opening up a takeout window.

Berg plans to keep the restaurant’s signature burritos — “that’s what this place was built on” — while tweaking the recipes somewhat and adding some new special combinations.

By ’49er Days weekend, Berg plans to be serving fish tacos, pizza by the slice, and calzones, focusing on “grab and go” foods for the lunchtime crowd.

Java Man is open 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, closing at 3 p.m. on weekends. Contact Karl at 996-2182.

Nilsine Harris makes unique candles at Shotgun Nellies. Photo by Laurelle Walsh

Nilsine Harris makes unique candles at Shotgun Nellies. Photo by Laurelle Walsh

Shotgun Nellies

Next door, and sharing the 94 Bridge St. address, is Shotgun Nellies, Nilsine Harris’s new home decor shop.

Harris began work on Shotgun Nellies six weeks ago with support from her husband and teenage daughter, and opened the doors last Saturday (April 26).

Her focus is Western- and outdoor-themed decor, such as covered-wagon lamps, bird houses decorated as Old-West saloons, weather vanes, and a variety of cowboy boot- and horseshoe-shaped items on display. “I’m devoted to carrying on the Western theme of this town,” Harris said.

Custom antler work made from naturally-shed deer antlers lines the shelves. Made exclusively for Shotgun Nellies by a local craftsman, the antler decor includes lamps, holders for wine bottles and candles, and handmade buttons.

Harris makes a variety of candles in the store, and encourages people to come in and watch her at work. Specialties include crystallized palm-wax candles in lidded jars with unique Methow-themed fragrances such as Rainy Pass, Methow Twilight, Methow Stallion and Kinderella — named for her daughter, a senior at Liberty Bell High School.

She also makes hand-dipped and molded pillar candles with motifs of local wildlife and mountain scenery, each one unique.

“If I can’t have fun with this I don’t know why I’d be doing it,” said Harris, pouring hot wax under the watchful eye of John Wayne. She hopes people will stop by and pose for a picture next to the life-size cutout of the Western film star.

“I’m trying to create a fun place,” she said.

Shotgun Nellies number is 996-8030.