Summit County businesses are reorganizing, telling their stories, spreading the love through food

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Sam Pines interacts with customers at Dillon Farmers Market on Friday, July 1, 2022. Sam Pines launched his business, Pines’ Nut Butter, in January 2020.
Elaine Collins/Courtesy Photo

Pine Nut Butter

Sam Pines said his company’s motto, Pines Nut Butter, is best summed up by the peace sign that dots the “i” on all of his products. The motto is: “Spread peace, love and nut butter”.

Pines launched her business in January 2020, after many years of enjoying snacking and making jars at home for her loved ones. Now, Pines sells at several farmers’ markets across the state, as well as mom-and-pop shops in Summit County. It hopes to appear on the shelves of Natural Grocers and Whole Foods soon.

But Pines isn’t just an entrepreneur.



Pines moved to Summit County in October 2019 to teach fifth grade. Since working at Breckenridge Elementary School, he has been working on his hobby whenever he has the time.

When the pandemic hit Summit County, Pines said he had time to focus on nut butter.



“I started spending more time with recipes, making them up, and that’s when I realized I could start a business doing that,” he said.

However, Pines’ Nut Butter would not have come this far without the help and love of the Summit County community. Pines makes all of its products at Baker’s Brewery, and the label — the one with the peace sign — was designed by Summit High School student Kylie Breigenzer.

Pines sells everything from plain peanut butter for $6, to almond butter for $10, and its favorite, cashew butter, also for $10. It also makes specialty and seasonal flavors like Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter, Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter and Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter, price of $15.

To show appreciation, Pines is offering a $2 discount to locals and will give $1 off if you bring back a clean glass jar for him to refill.

“The way I spread the love is to give people a healthy, nutritious product, because to take care of others, you have to take care of yourself,” Pines said.

Its products are available online at PinesNutButter.comand it can also be found at farmers markets in Dillon, Vail, Steamboat and Breckenridge.

Jerky climax

Climax Jerky is not a new company, but it is one with a deep-rooted history in Summit County.

Brooke Comai, the owner, founder and president of Climax Jerky, set up a jerky stand on Fremont Pass the very last weekend of May 1999 and made a living out of it.

When Comai’s best friend in the ’90s started selling beef jerky in Kremmling, sourcing from a wholesaler, she told Comai to come check it out.

Comai said she always thought she owned a business, but maybe a restaurant — not a beef jerky stand. Nevertheless, she checked.

“I was just like, you know, what do I have to lose? If it doesn’t work out, I can always go back to waiting or the bar.

A few weeks later, she returned from vacation and told her boss she was quitting her job to open a beef jerky stand on Fremont Pass.

Although it might seem like a random place to set up a beef jerky stand, Comai said she chose the spot intentionally. “It’s a scenic drive, so there’s a ton of people driving just to see Aspen, or Buena Vista, or Leadville, and it’s at the top of the pass, so people are slowing down,” Comai said.

Eventually, Comai was making enough money as a waitress during the winter and a beef jerky vendor during the summer to buy out the beef jerky distributor.

Comai and her family now have a permanent location in Breckenridge, at the corner of Main and Lincoln Streets, and host farmers’ markets and events on weekends. The Fremont Pass location still earns her and her family money.

Climax Jerky started out with just 12 different types of jerky, but they now sell over 20 different types, from alligator to elk to classic beef jerky.

Comai said the most popular jerkies are Smoked Elk, Original Buffalo, Spicy Elk and Honey Glazed Beef. Buffalo and elk both cost around $17 for a 3-ounce bag and traditional beef is $11.30 for a 4-ounce bag.

Bundles, subscriptions and purchases are available at ClimaxJerky.com.

The Fremont site is open Friday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Their Breckenridge location is open seven days a week, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Quandary Tequila Bistro

This company is also a well-known restaurant service in Summit County, but just came out of a two-month hiatus with a different name and a whole new look.

Quandary Tequila Bistro, formerly known as Quandary Grill, opened 22 years ago, so owner Tim Applegate said it was time for an update.

“We needed a refresh,” he said. “As I joke with customers, we needed to replace the beer lines, so in the process, we did everything.”

The bar has been moved and extended 40 feet, with a wall of over 200 tequilas behind it. Applegate said they also rearranged all the furniture, replacing both the tables and chairs inside and the picnic tables that were on the patio.

“We wanted to make everything a little bit better, that was the main concept behind it all,” Applegate said.

To go along with the updated atmosphere, there are more wine, steak, and seafood options on the menu. They now offer bison flank steak with chimichurri for $38 or grilled Atlantic salmon for $32.

As for drinks, there’s always beer on tap, but Applegate said there’s a new, already popular silver margarita.

It’s an $18 clear margarita made with Don Felano, a tequila blanco. They also offer many classic cocktails like an old fashioned or a negroni, but with a twist – they use tequila as the base.

While much of the cooking has remained the same, Applegate said he was very happy to add tacos to the menu. Tacos cost between $4 and $7. All tortillas are made in Denver, and vegetarian, seafood, and steak options are available for lunch and dinner.

The menu can be found at QuandaryTequilaBistro.com.

Quandary Tequila Bistro is located at 505 S. Main Street in Breckenridge. It is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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