No need to hop on a plane to the coast, the new Mountain Fish House and Oyster Bar is bringing the seafood to you. The brainchild of longtime restaurateurs Brian Nolan and Lily Doran, the new eatery aims to be your seaside getaway in a quaint mountain town.
“I’ve always wanted to have a restaurant in Edwards and was just waiting to find the right spot,” said Nolan, who came to the Vail Valley in 1989 and was a partner at the Coyote Café in Beaver Creek with Jeff Forbes. He then opened several other restaurants in Beaver Creek Village such as Pacific Ranch, The Chophouse, On the Fly and Flying Pig sandwich shops, Blue Moose Pizza, Foxnut Sushi and Mountain Burger in Avon. Nolan also expanded to Lionshead, Steamboat and Copper Mountain throughout the years.
Last fall, Nolan started talking to Lily Doran, another seasoned professional in the restaurant business. Doran has opened restaurants in Chicago, New York City and most recently opened and managed the Drunken Goat in Edwards. Doran also has an extensive wine background and worked at vineyards in Napa Valley and New Zealand.
“Lily is one of the smartest people I know and in addition to that, we were able to work with Kathy Treat and the folks over at the Inn and Riverwalk to come up with a good restaurant concept for the valley,” Nolan said.
“I loved the idea because I’m a pescatarian and thought we needed more seafood in this valley. But more importantly I think both Brian and I were on the same page about wanting it to be a fun, casual place with a great vibe and ambiance,” Doran said.
It’s no doubt that Colorado is a land locked state, but Nolan and Doran traveled to both coasts to meet the purveyors and source the best seafood they could find. In Olympia, Washington, they found oysters from Taylor Shellfish.
“Right now we are serving four oysters and we usually do two from the east coast and two from the west coast. It’s been fun for people to get an assortment and taste the differences,” Doran said.
In Maine, they found Tom and Kevin Flanigan of Seaview Lobster Company in Kittery and Mountain Fish House is serving up live lobsters.
“I love that we are doing live lobsters because nobody else is doing that in our area and people love it,” Doran said. “It’s a fun experience and again, we’re a casual seafood place, so we’re not cracking it for you, you’re doing it yourself.”
The mussels are from a brother-sister team at Bangs Island of Portland, Maine. “They are all about giving back to the environment and they also grow kelp and they just have the most amazing mussels,” Doran said.
Nolan hopes to invite the purveyors to the restaurant someday.
“It’s not quite a chef’s dinner, but rather a time to get to know where your seafood is coming from and hear their stories,” Nolan said.
Other items on the menu include lobster rolls which are served three different ways.
“The Maine lobster roll is the traditional style served cold with mayonnaise, the Connecticut version is served hot with butter, and we created our own style of lobster roll which is called the Colorado and we are serving it cold with Knapp Ranch honey and cumin vinaigrette with some corn salsa on there as well,” Doran said.
Some of Doran’s other favorite items on the menu include house made crab tater tots, the grouper sandwich and the calamari steak strips.
To complement the seafood, Doran leaned on her beverage background to create some fun cocktails.
“I went simple but delicious. People love our City of Lights which is our play on a French 75 with sparkling rose and St. Germain. The Palomino has also been a hit. It’s a play on a Paloma but with bourbon,” Doran said.
The Mountain Fish House and Oyster Bar hosts happy hour every day from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. with specials like $7 glasses of wine, $1.50 oysters, $2 off oyster shooters and the grand opening special which is a glass of bubbles and three oysters for $10. Dinner is served daily from 3:30 until 9 p.m. For more information, go to MountainFishHouse.com.