By Bob Glaze
As you plan your winter vacation for 2019, Vail and Beaver Creek is a great ski destination. I have been to both resorts several times over the years and have enjoyed the skiing, particularly at Beaver Creek. In addition to the winter activities of skiing, snowboarding and ice skating, you will find some great restaurants, shopping and galleries along with excellent hotels and resorts. I was just back at both resorts this past summer and was impressed with all of the new offerings and some of the new modern additions to Vail in particular. I also enjoyed exploring Edwards, a short drive from Beaver Creek and funky Minturn in between. Both have good hotels and restaurants if you want to stay there as an alternative.
Where to Eat
Every time I go to Vail, Beaver Creek and the Vail Valley, there are more and more restaurant options to explore from casual to fine dining. In addition, there are several new distilleries and microbreweries that have recently opened. My top recommendations are as follows:
One of my favorite spots is Sweet Basil which overlooks a stream in the back of the restaurant. It has been there since 1977 and still is one of the best in town! It was voted Colorado’s Most Popular Restaurant by the Zagat survey. Mountain Standard (owned by Sweet Basil) is a rustic tavern, downstairs, with wood fire cooking. I went for dinner and loved the experience. Both are located at 193 Gore Creek Dr.
Pepi’s Restaurant and Bar at the Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer, 231 East Gore Creek Drive, features excellent Austrian dishes and has been an institution since 1964. The Red Lion, opened in 1963 at 304 Bridge St., has live music on certain nights and features steaks, burgers and barbecue.
Vail Brewing Co.: Their brewery is in Eagle Vail but they have a tasting room in Vail. I tried the Bears and the Bees. “This is a simply light and fruity Saison ripe with blueberries and wildflower alpine honey straight out of this valley! What more could a backwoods bear want, let alone a beer lover?” It was really excellent, smooth and not hoppy.
10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company: At 227 Bridge St., I made sure I went to their tasting room after arriving in town. I tried their bourbon and rye whiskey. Both were excellent!! Their distillery is located in Gypsum, CO.
Up the Creek Bar & Grill, at 223 Gore Creek Drive #103, has been a local’s favorite since 1988, with great creekside dining. Also check out Joe’s Famous Deli, an old-school deli offering baked goods, sandwiches, breakfast items and housemade ice cream in a diner-like setting. I stopped in for ice cream after dinner and loved the atmosphere. 288 Bridge St.
Other recommendations from my local friends include the Alpenrose Restaurant and Bakery for lunch in Lionshead, Campo de Fiori for Italian, La Bottega for high end Italian, La Tour for French cuisine, Matsuhisa for wonderful Japanese dishes and sushi, BOL which is an upscale bowling alley also serving food and Los Amigos for Mexican. I thought BOL had a great sleek, contemporary design with colorful bowling alleys. Terra Bistro is also recommended by a Chicago friend as one of the top restaurants.
Beaver Creek has several good dining options as well. My local friends love Grouse Mountain Grill, Hooked for sushi and seafood and the Beaver Creek Chophouse located slopeside.
Rimini Chocolate and Gelato has locations in Avon, Beaver Creek Village and Vail. Stop in for gelato or coffee.
The Golden Eagle Inn Restaurant is also very nice for lunch and dinner at 118 Beaver Creek Plaza. At the entrance to Beaver Creek, Mirabelle is a fine dining restaurant in a rustic setting featuring Belgian cuisine at 55 Village Rd. Splendido Restaurant at The Chateau in Beaver Creek is another fine dining option that gets good reviews for its refined American-European cuisine.
Beano’s Cabin is my favorite on-mountain dining spot in Beaver Creek since I went several years ago. They feature game and rustic Colorado fare. In the winter you can reach it by open-air sleigh ride at night.
Minturn a small town of 1,000 people is located between Vail and Beaver Creek and has some of my favorite restaurants in the valley. The Minturn Country Club is known for its steaks that you cook yourself. This is so fun to do. The Saloon is known for its Mexican Food, quail (which I have had) and other specialties.
Sunrise Minturn is a fun, casual cafe open for breakfast and lunch at 132 Main.
I recently went to Edwards for the first time. Just west of Avon and Beaver Creek, it is well-worth the visit. The Riverwalk at Edwards is a planned community along the river. It has a number of condominium buildings, a hotel, offices along with some excellent shops and galleries. You can also find a large number of restaurants and bars as well. My recommendations include:
Juniper is a wonderful fine dining spot with lovely views of the Eagle River. They feature a a menu of contemporary and seasonal cuisine. I loved my black cod entree with asparagus and a crab crepe. The ambiance and service were excellent. 97 Main St. E101.
On the river with a great eclectic, atmosphere is The Rose. Opened in 2013, this casual spot has a restaurant, cocktail bar and bakery with expanded new space. They have good food and feature a number of starters, soups, salads and entrees. 97 Main Street, Suite W1028.
The Gashouse, at 34185 Hwy 6, is a great spot in a rustic cabin atmosphere that is open for lunch and dinner. They feature hand-cut and aged Colorado beef, seafood and wild game. I went for lunch and loved the design with the old photos, licenses plates and antlers on the walls!! My reuben sandwich was great. It was one of my favorite finds of my trip.
My local friends also love Main St. Grill, at 97 Main St., for great food with a Cajun twist. Gore Range Brewery, at 105 Edwards Village Blvd., is a casual brewpub with a lot of menu choices including giant pretzels, onion rings and nachos as starters, followed by salads, burgers, sandwiches and wood-fired pizzas along with eight handcrafted brews on tap. They also love Zino Ristorante for Italian specialties including pastas and pizzas at 27 Main St. and E-town for draft beer, cocktails, burgers, sandwiches, salads and entrees. 295 Main St. C104.
In nearby Avon, Northside Kitchen and Vin 48 featuring a wine bar and modern mountain cuisine get great reviews.
Where to Stay in the Vail Valley
There are some great places to stay in Vail. On my recent visit I enjoyed staying at the Tivoli Lodge in the heart of the village at 386 Hanson Ranch Rd. With 66 rooms, the lodge has been there for over 50 years. I met the owners, the Lazier family, who live onsite. The rooms are lovely and the service excellent. There is a breakfast buffet offered in the morning. It is a great spot from which to walk and explore Vail. You can valet park your car and not have to drive!
Other great options include the long–time favorite Lodge at Vail, a Rock Resort and the Sonnenalp Resort.
I also like staying in Beaver Creek. The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa is lovely. I have stayed there three times over the years. It is right at the base of the slopes and is a great place to be able to walk everywhere. There are two restaurants including the 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill and the Cafe plus shops within the resort.
The Ritz Carlton at Bachelor Gulch is a beautiful property but somewhat more isolated according to my friends who have stayed there. But is had a rustic design that evokes the great mountain lodges of the American West. It has six restaurants and a spa.
In Edwards, I recently found The Inn at Riverwalk. This is a small, contemporary boutique hotel that was recently remodeled. They have a number of rooms and condos available. I would definitely stay there when I am back in the area again. You can easily walk to the downtown bars, restaurants and shops. 27 Main St.
If you want to stay in Minturn, there is a new hotel option, the boutique Hotel Minturn, located downtown at 167 Williams St. With only four contemporary rooms, and no front desk, you can stay and explore the area. You will get the front door code prior to arrival. It is a block from the best downtown shops and restaurants. You can stay there and walk to breakfast at Sunrise Minturn or have dinner at the Saloon or the Minturn Country Club.
What to do after Skiing
There are many more festivals and cultural offerings in the summer months, but there are still some great winter options. In Beaver Creek, check out the full schedule at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek for concerts, musical theater, dance and other performances.
Lovers of vintage ski posters will love Christopher & Co. Ltd. which is a vintage poster gallery located in Beaver Creek Village across from the Park Hyatt. Nearby, the C. Anthony Gallery has over 5,000 sq. ft. of art in six separate galleries featuring the work of over 30 artists. 61 Avondale Ln.
In Edwards, not to be missed is the Slifer Design store, which has wonderful home furnishings and accessories. The address is Riverwalk at Edwards, 216 Main Street C-100.
Gorsuch Ltd. is my favorite store in Vail which has branches in Keystone, Beaver Creek and Aspen. It carries clothes, ski wear, and has great home accessories. The Gorsuch lifestyle is inspired by two of the most beautiful vistas in the world – the Alps, where they find so much inspiration, and the Rockies. So you really have to like a Tyrolean feel. 262 E. Gore Creek Dr.
Enjoy your trip, be careful on the slopes and let me know if you have other recommendations after you are there!
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