New Sheridan:Ray Farnsworth, General Manager
Ray Farnsworth, General Manager for 16 Years
This piece is excerpted from an article about Ray in Telluride Style Magazine, Summer/Fall, 2012. Our thanks to the magazine.
The New Sheridan is not your typical business and Ray Farnsworth is not your typical general manager. In this, the two were meant for each other.
The building and all of its intricacies – modern infrastructure nestled into an 1895 brick frame. This makes up Ray’s world. The New Sheridan is a place that bursts with stories, legends, and scandal. – from the mining days of 1891 to last Friday night. People have come and gone, stories have circled and died – the Sheridan hotel was destroyed by fire and rebuilt as the New Sheridan.
Serving since 1895
From thirsty miners with gold in their pockets to ski bums garbed in flannel, the building has withstood time and continued its role as the hub of Telluride. “I think that the New Sheridan holds an important place in telluride’s history and acts as its nucleus. The place was always where everything happened. I’m proud to come into work every day and run this place with our team who have also been here for years,” said Ray. “If you think about it, there are a couple dozen people who have had the pleasure of running this place and I’m one of them. I’ve been doing it for sixteen years and I see myself here another sixteen years.”
Ray landed in Telluride after working in hospitality in California. He was initially hired to manage the New Sheridan but seven years later he was asked also to oversee the Chop House Restaurant (many say the best in Telluride) and the Historic New Sheridan bar. As it turned out. It is a role at which he excels. Ray made changes to the restaurant and its style that were able to evolve The Chop House into one of Telluride’s favorite restaurants and the restaurant “scene”, accomplished with the collaboration of Chef Erich Owen.
The success of the Chop House led the owner to invest over eight million dollars to redo the Chop House, the guest rooms and add on the Parlor Café.
The New Sheridan is Ray’s baby; his passion is the surprise and delight of his guests. That passion pays off. With the help of four managers, Ray looks after the four businesses, with a full team of 80.
Restaurant and Bar Michael Johnson is the manager of the New Sheridan Hotel, Dirk Zimmerman manages The Historic New Sheridan Bar and Cory Widau is the Chop House and Parlor night manager as well as its sommelier, while Catherine Seward is the day manager.
Ray says he “couldn’t do it without these great team players”. “We’re a team and in many ways a family. We’re all working together toward one common goal – to be the best and do it right.”
With so many roles to play, it’s no wonder that our GM has found the New Sheridan to be not only his occupation but also his passion. Ray’s two children, Ryan who is 25 and lives in California, and Olivia, age 14, who splits her time between Telluride and California, are two of his greatest accomplishments. Ray finds the mountains and the people of Telluride too special to leave. “It’s a beautiful place with beautiful people. I love the people most of all.”