WHO IS REX?
Rex Brice’s office sits in the center of downtown Steamboat Springs, with a window looking straight at Howelsen Hill. He shares the welcoming space with business partner and wife Bettina, and their two golden retrievers, Sami and Walter. Behind his desk hangs two framed posters stating, Want Better Not More, and Work Hard and Be Nice to People. The entire setting embodies the man who built Steamboat Restaurant Group from nothing, a hardworking family man with a passion for his community. The concept of family runs deep within the company here named Rex’s Family of Restaurants.
Rex grew up in North Carolina with working parents who instilled values he holds strong today. He started his career washing dishes in a restaurant at age 14. Overwhelmed by the struggles of dyslexia, his education was unremarkable, until he found his way to culinary school. “It changed my life and gave me a purpose,” he says. He cooked his way up the ladder as a chef then switched gears to become a business owner, when the need for a balanced life came calling.
Despite currently owning seven local restaurants and employing around 425 people, he stands firm on the need for balance. He and Bettina like to cook dinner together and make a point of sitting around the dining table with daughter Grace, a sophomore in high school. They are unstinting in their support of the community, and relish time spent outdoors making the most of mountain living. The mantra of Want Better, Not More is not taken lightly. The goal is for managers to work a five-day week, which is unheard of in the hospitality industry. Every member of staff has access to a mental wellness fund, and as a team they promote a healthy lifestyle. The idea that his staff is nothing more than a workforce is abhorrent to him. The business is not simply a way to make money. It’s about giving his team a career, with ownership and pride in something local. His core crew have been with the company since it began almost two decades ago.
The pandemic hit him hard mentally and he credits Bettina for steering their ship through the storm. Rex’s Family of Restaurants weathered uncertainty and emerged stronger than ever. Like a family going through hard times, the team stayed loyal, and local diners stayed loyal to a business that if you’ve been here long enough, you’ll know, they’ve got your back