| VailDaily.com

Locals rally to help save Vail Valley eateries

Save Our Restaurants encourages people to order from a local restaurant at least once a week and share the experience and spread the word on social media.

At times, the year 2020 has brought out the worst in people, but it has also brought out the best in people. Save Our Restaurants is one example of locals doing what they can, where they live, right now to make things better.

Edwards residents Melinda Gladitsch and Beverly Freedman have been thinking about ways to help out local restaurants during the pandemic for quite some time and knew there were several individual efforts taking place in municipalities but no countywide efforts.

“We finally decided to make it happen by approaching key organizations across the county for buy-in, setting up social presences on Facebook and Instagram and launching the campaign,” Gladitsch said. Save Our Restaurants just launched this week.

The goal of Save Our Restaurants is simple: Order out at least once per week and share your experience on social media to spread the word.

Even with the vaccine coming to Colorado and Eagle County and hope on the horizon, there is still a long road ahead. State and county safety mandates are still in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Eagle County restaurants are currently operating at 25% of capacity, or at 50 people or less, whichever is fewer.

“Our restaurants are facing strict dine-in restrictions and a large part of our population may not feel comfortable dining in anyway. But everyone can do their part to help our restaurants survive by ordering out frequently,” Gladitsch said.

Save Our Restaurants reached out to several local organizations including the Vail Valley Partnership, the Vail Chamber & Business Association and Beaver Creek Merchant Association to help get the word out and they promptly backed this grassroots effort.

“I feel like we are a community of action-oriented people. When we see a need and feel passionate about it, we try to take action. Beverly Freedman is an excellent example of that. She pushes for what she believes in,” Gladitsch said about her friend and cofounder of Save Our Restaurants.

Eagle County restaurants do not need to do anything to participate in the program because this effort will be driven by local and visiting diners.

“We look forward to seeing this effort grow and make a difference,” Gladitsch said.

To join the cause simply order out, share your experience on social media and tag the restaurant as well at @saveourrestaurantsvailvalley on Facebook and @save_our_restaurants on Instagram. Bon appétit!

Cheeseburgers in paradise

According to the National Day Calendar website, Sept. 18 is National Cheeseburger Day. In honor of this American staple, we thought we’d share some delicious details on the places that serve up a fantastic cheeseburger up and down the valley.

Restaurant: Craftsman – Edwards

Name: Schmidt Mac

The Goods: Two all-beef patties, Fromage Américain (American cheese), tender belly bacon, griddled onion, shrettuce (shredded lettuce), special sauce, dill pickles on a Hovey & Harrison sesame seed bun.

Word has it that Christopher Schmidt, chef-owner of Craftsman, created this as a staff meal when he worked at Sweet Basil. Made with fresh ingredients like grass feed beef, “freedom” (American) cheese and quality bacon and secret mayo-based sauce has qualified the Schmidt Mac to win the Vail Daily’s Best of the Vail Valley gold medal for best burger last year and the bronze medal in 2018.  

Restaurant: Southside Benderz – Avon

Name: Original Benderz Burgerz

The Goods: Your choice of a single, double or triple one-third pound beef patty served on Benderz’ signature fresh-baked, house-made-every-day bun with 2,000-island dressing, lettuce, tomato and red onion with your choice of American, cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack, provolone or bleu cheese. Other add-ons include mushrooms, jalapeños, grilled onions as well as avocado, bacon and a fried egg.

Stop by Southside Benderz for what Denver’s Westword Magazine calls the best burger on I-70. What makes its burger so great? “It’s the beef! Fresh, never frozen Angus beef is what sets our burgers apart,” said Noah Bender, the namesake behind Southside Benders. “We make our buns at our Northside bakery and people love our atmosphere with the big giant bar and patio,” Bender said. The Benderz burger has earned the Vail Daily’s Best of the Valley bronze medal in 2019 and the silver medal in 2018 and 2017.

Breaking news, there will be even more space to enjoy a Benderz burger. Its sister restaurant, Pavalici’s Pizza, is closed and Benderz Burgers will open an additional location in its original spot where Northside Coffee and Kitchen sits on the north side of 1-70 in October.  

Restaurant: Bully Ranch  – Vail Village

Name: Various

The Goods: Bully Ranch gives you a choice of protein: Redbird chicken, 7X Wagyu Japanese beef, buffalo and even a non-meat option with the Impossible burger.

“We have five distinct styles of burgers that are regionalized, from our South of the Border burger with house-made spicy guacamole to our Bully Bourbon burger with smoked cheddar cheese, Applewood smoked bacon and house-made bourbon demi-glace, cheeseburgers are the ultimate American comfort food,” said Jeffrey Geller of the Bully Ranch at the Sonnenalp Hotel Vail. 

“What I love the most is how wonderful and warming they can be. It brings you back to that place where you had your first cheeseburger,” Geller said. “Come try one along with one of our signature mudslide drinks.”

Restaurant: Vail and Beaver Creek Chophouse – Lionshead and Beaver Creek

Name: Mountain Cheeseburger

The Goods:  a one-half pound patty of the chef’s special grind, choice of eight types of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, brioche bun, fries, pickle and then pick add-ons like bacon, avocado, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms and grilled jalapenos.

“Our chef’s grind is 80% chuck beef and 20% brisket. The brisket is a bit fattier and we fold that in to give the burger that rich flavor,” said Joe Griffith, manager at Beaver Creek Chophouse. “We’ve kept this same burger on the menu for the past several years. We sell them all day and all night.”

Restaurant: Dusty Boot Roadhouse

Name: Various

The Goods: Choose from building your own burger to the classic Boot Burger with crispy fried onions, Applewood bacon, jalapeño jack cheese and house-made guacamole. The Fat Burger takes things to new heights with onion rings piled on top of bleu cheese crumbles, Applewood bacon and barbecue sauce. Need more? Add a fried egg or pork green chili to your burger.

“Everybody loves our burgers. We use Colorado raised hormone-free Angus beef,” said Alina Dabrowski, bartender at Dusty Boot. She also suggested you pair it with a Hazy IPA beer.

Restaurant: Brush Creek Saloon – Eagle

Name: Various

The Goods: With over a dozen burgers to choose from you’ll need to head down to the Brush Creek Saloon a few nights a week to taste them all. Try the Eagle Fire Truck with natural beef, bacon, jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo and pico de gallo.

“The Eagle Fire Truck is our most popular burger on the menu,” said Brush Creek Saloon bartender Devon Sartori. “We use Aspen Ridge beef and it’s served with hand-cut fries, a fried jalapeno on top and it’s about six inches tall.”

Open for Business: Moe’s Original BBQ

Name of business: Moe’s Original BBQ

Physical address: 630 Grand Ave. Eagle, CO 81631

Phone number: 970-337-2277

Website: moesoriginalbbq.com/lo/eagle 

What goods or services are you offering at this time?

We are offering a full menu with standard bar offerings. Dine-in is available at 50% capacity with distancing measures in place, patio seating at 100% capacity with distancing measures in place. Takeout, online ordering and call-in ordering available.

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times?  

Moe’s has always been a quick-service restaurant, with the ability to package every meal to go as easily as dine in. Our concept is essentially built for this, so with the exception of the distancing measures, and the limited dine-in seating, we really only needed to add a step where we package all utensils, drinks and condiments ourselves instead of the customer being able to help themselves. In addition, our new online ordering system has been a huge success and almost everyone is pleased with the process.

How can the community support you?

The community has been incredibly helpful throughout this ordeal and has really been great at adapting to our business model, we can’t thank them enough for their patience, understanding and most importantly their business. Please just keep on swinging by!

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

We post messages and daily sides and specials on Instagram @moesbbqeagle and our hours and contact information can be found on our website or on our Google Page.  

What’s the response been?

The response from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive. Our staff is truly amazing, they have been at it for more than 12 weeks and have been upbeat and positive the entire time. The collaboration between ownership and staff to simply dial in our new process has been amazing.

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves?

Adapt as needed and continue to serve up fresh, delicious food. We think our product is the perfect comfort food during these uncomfortable times. Once we settle into the “new normal” it will feel like nothing has changed, because our food hasn’t and that’s really all that matters!

Open for Business: Bonfire Brewing

Name of business: Bonfire Brewing

Physical address: 127 W. 2nd St. Eagle, CO 81637

Phone number: 970-306-7113

Email: info@bonfirebrewing.com

Website: bonfirebrewing.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time?

Limited capacity but otherwise “normal” operations at the taproom, along with to-go, curbside pickup and home delivery of delicious beer throughout the valley daily. We continue to serve our liquor store, restaurant and grocery partners as well, and we are hosting a food truck occasionally. 

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times?

We now offer a slick online ordering system to make the remote beer buying process simple and easy. Customers can choose contact-free curbside pickup or same-day home delivery if ordered before 4 p.m. Just this week we began serving customers in-person again for the first time since mid-March. We have implemented a variety of measures, including additional outdoor seating, to provide as safe an environment as possible for our community.

How can the community support you?

We’re very grateful that we’re still able to generate some revenue through to-go beer sales and now limited taproom operations. One of the challenges we’re facing is that we have quite a few kegs that may spoil if the pandemic stretches on. If you have a kegerator, consider keeping it stocked with kegs from your local breweries. Growlers and crowlers are also a great way to help us move through the draft beer backlog. In addition, gift card and swag sales, including a custom t-shirt with sales benefiting our staff are available via www.bonfirebrewing.com.    

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

Facebook.com/bonfirebrewing and our website. 

What’s the response been?

Our community has been beyond supportive over the past few months and that includes our staff. Everyone has managed to remain productive in some shape or form, with our most recent efforts focused on improvements to the Second Street side of the taproom to create additional patio space. There are some customers that seem to find a way to support us every single day, some that have made anonymous donations to our team and many that have reached out to simply ask how they can help. Despite the need to stay further apart from one another, our team has become much closer as we’ve had the opportunity to work together on projects we otherwise wouldn’t have time for, and to tackle problems collaboratively. 

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves? Survive, adapt and grow. We’ve proven we can keep going, despite losing 70% of our business and that is motivating for all of us because it means we’ve created something worth saving. We’ll find a way to provide a safe and rewarding experience at the taproom, no matter how many people are allowed to come through the doors. Local breweries will be an important piece of the economic recovery nationwide as they continue to serve as community hubs and sustainable manufacturers that create good jobs.

Open for Business: The Back Bowl

Name of business: The Back Bowl

Physical address: 50 Chambers Ave., Eagle, Colorado

Phone number: 970-328-2695

Email: info@thebackbowl.com

Website: thebackbowl.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time?

Bowling, billiards, arcade and takeout dining.

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times?

We’ve set up protocols for meeting and exceeding Eagle County’s Phase 1 health and safety standards with added precautions for additional sanitizing of balls, shoes and all other high touch surfaces between uses by customers. To maintain social distancing, no more than five bowlers will be allowed on a lane and no more than 10 bowlers every four lanes. For this reason, we will highly encourage reservations to facilitate adhering to these requirements.

How can the community support you?

Come out and enjoy bowling again! Call ahead for details and to reserve your time slot from 4-9 p.m. daily. We also have an expansive takeout menu at the Bowlmor Café, with service from 5-9 p.m. daily.

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

Go to our website, thebackbowl.com, or visit our Facebook page (you can link directly from our website). Or just give us a call.

What’s the response been?

The new Public Order just began April 27, so we have only been open for bowling since then and have limited response time thus far. Messages posted from customers on Facebook are both supportive and critical of reopening for bowling in Phase 1. We realize we will have to work hard to help our customers feel safe when they bowl.

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves?

We have a large venue, so social distancing, with whatever occupancy limitations are imposed by Eagle County Department of Public Health, should not be a problem for both bowling now and for dining in our restaurant/bar when that part of our business will be allowed to reopen in Phase 2 of the Eagle County reopening order.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, area restaurants are here for you: Tricia’s weekend picks 3/27/2020

Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily has been publishing an updated list of open restaurants each day online and in print. If you don’t see your favorite restaurant listed there, call ahead to see if they are open and what their options are and encourage them to get on our list by emailing details to Kaylee Porter at kporter@vaildaily.com.

Currently, restaurants in the Vail Valley are able to be open and doing takeout, delivery or a combination of both during these trying coronavirus times. Some staffers at the Vail Daily had a chance to dine in while eating food someone else had made for them. Here’s a round-up of what they ordered. (Warning: Reading this article may make you hungry!)

Pam Boyd – Vail Daily reporter and editor of the Eagle Valley Enterprise

Which restaurant?

Grand Avenue Grill in Eagle

What did you order?

Asiago Crusted Chicken Club Sandwich and a Castle Peak Burger

Was it takeout or was it delivered to your home?

Takeout, super convenient from their ice cream window.

Was there a good variety of items on the menu?

These two items are my favorite (club sandwich) and my husband’s favorite (burger) and it is our standing order at Grand Avenue Grill. We were thrilled we could get them.

How did it taste? 

Terrific. Like always. The Grand Avenue Grill has had outstanding quality for nearly two decades.

Any other notes about the experience or any comments from the restaurant you’d like to share?

In the middle of these weird days, it was a great break to treat ourselves to our favorite lunch.

Morgan Allman – Digital content manager for Everything Vail Valley

Which restaurant?

Thai Kitchen in Minturn

What did you order?

I went for the classics and ordered pad Thai and Thai tea from Thai Kitchen in Minturn

Was it takeout was or was it delivered to your home?

Takeout- called in my order, and when I went to pick it up there were sanitizing wipes by the door (which I used to wipe down my hands as well as my card before I handed it over). I was greeted at the door and asked for my name.  I was given my receipt, I gave her my card, she ran it and brought me the to-go bag.  She was also wearing a precautionary mask and gloves.

Was there a variety of items on the menu?

The full menu is available for takeout.

How did it taste?

Delicious. I spent a summer backpacking through Southeast Asia and both the pad Thai and Thai tea tasted exactly as I remember.

Any other notes about the experience or any comments from the restaurant you’d like to share? 

The woman who helped me was very nice and my food was ready by the time I got to the restaurant, in about 10 minutes.

Emily Peterson – Vail Daily account manager

Which Restaurant?

Red Canyon Cafe in Eagle

What did you order?

We got delicious iced coffees and breakfast sandwiches along with amazing cinnamon rolls.

Was it takeout was or was it delivered to your home?

You can call in or go in with your order and you can do takeout or pick up your order curbside.

Was there a variety of items on the menu?

Looks like they have their regular breakfast menu featuring bagels, pastries and burritos. They have a wide variety of hot and cold sandwiches, soups and salads for lunch. Coffee and espresso drinks.

How did it taste?

It was awesome! We think they also have the best lunch sandwiches and the best coffee.

Any other notes about the experience or any comments from the restaurant you’d like to share?

Ryan, the owner, is always there taking care of guests with a big smile and this time was no different. It was also obvious that he was taking all the precautions from having hand sanitizer available to guests, wearing gloves, etc.

Tyler Buscemi – Digital content manager for Everything Vail Valley

Which restaurant?

Asian Fusion in Gypsum

What did you order?

We ordered a few of their lunch specials: General Tso’s chicken and kung pao chicken with egg drop soup and crab rangoon

Was it takeout or was it delivered to your home?


Was there a good variety on the menu or were there only a few items available?

The full menu is available

How did it taste? 

This is our favorite Asian restaurant in the Valley. Great service, fast, dependable.

Any other notes about the experience or any comments from the restaurant you’d like to share?

When mentioning a “birthday lunch” for my wife, Brooke she didn’t hesitate to say that she wanted Asian Fusion.

Tricia Swenson, Vail Daily reporter

Which restaurant?

Zino Ristorante in Edwards

What did you order?

I took advantage of Zino’s deal going on that day which was 50% off appetizers. I ordered the melanzane – roasted eggplant parmigiana, mozzarella, marinara and dried basil pesto; cavolini – Brussels sprouts with house-made pancetta and frito misto – crispy calamari, shrimp, catch of the day, shishito peppers and harissa aioli.

Was it takeout was or was it delivered to your home?

I went online and ordered off the menu on their website. I called and gave my credit card information over the phone. The to-go bag and credit card receipt was on a table in the entryway at Zino, so, in its own little room. I waved at Giuseppe through the glass of the door between us. 

Was there a variety of items on the menu?

It looked pretty much like their regular menu with appetizers, soups, salads, pizzas, entrées and even desserts. Don’t forget the deals on bottles of wine, too!

How did it taste?

It was delicious and a nice break from the humble meals we’ve had at home. The frito misto was a treat since I don’t make fried calamari at home. Since I ordered three appetizers I had leftovers for lunch the next day.

Any other notes about the experience or any comments from the restaurant you’d like to share? 

When I called Zino, owner Giuseppe Bosco answered the phone in his enthusiastic Italian accent. It was good to hear his voice and he said he’s so grateful for the community’s outreach and thanks everyone who is supporting them during this trying time.

Eagle’s Color Coffee has a growing base and a glowing reputation

EAGLE — Three years ago, Charlie Gundlach took over the former 7 Hermits Brewing location in Eagle Ranch to chase his dream of offering downvalley residents a truly remarkable coffee-drinking experience.

More than 1,000 days later, his Color Coffee shop has become a bustling hangout with a national reputation.

“It’s been a ton of work, and certainly not everything panned out exactly, but by and large we are very happy about where we are right now,” said Gundlach. “There is a great energy here in Eagle and we are happy to bolster the community.”

Like the community it serves, Color Coffee is poised to grow in the coming months with a new partnership in the works and building national buzz about the business.

Moxie Bread

A truly great cup of coffee deserves an equally delectable pastry compliment. Beginning this summer, those treats will be on the menu at Color Coffee.

Moxie Bread, a renowned bakery based in Louisville, is partnering with Color Coffee.

“We are going to build a bakery (at the Color Coffee shop in Eagle Ranch) and begin offering heirloom wheat baked goods,” Gundlach said. “It took us a while to decide how to approach it, but we are looking to have the bakery up and running by mid-July.”

Gundlach said Moxie specializes in French-style bread. Look for country-style sourdough bread, baguettes, croissants and more at the shop.

“We felt there was a lack of fresh baked goods options downvalley and we wanted to be in control of freshness,” said Gundlach.

National buzz

Three years into operation, Color crews roast almost 1,000 pounds of coffee a week and serve 40 wholesale accounts. Their work has drawn some national attention.

Coffee aficionados nationwide listen to James Harper’s podcast called “Filter Stores,” an episode of which helped them discover Color Coffee.

“James is a great guy, and what he wants to do is share some of the untold stories of the coffee industry,” said Gundlach. “He was a start-up entrepreneur who needed money to travel. Now he has done six to eight podcasts.”

The podcast with a Color Coffee tie delved into the story of a farm in Costa Rica, which has weathered political unrest to grow its unique beans. Filter Stories wanted to offer some of the farm’s product to its listeners and Color Coffee stepped in to help.

“The idea was to have some of the coffee air-dropped, and we roasted it here,” Gundlach said. “It was not cheap to get 60 kilos of coffee shipped from Costa Rica, and we roasted it all in one day. Then we sent coffee to 20 different countries.”

“It was the first podcast of its kind where you could hear the story and taste the story,” Gundlach continued. “Essentially this story captivated James’s listener base to the level where he can fund his travels, and he recently received a notice from Apple UK that they had put his show on their main page of podcasts to listen to.”

Meanwhile back at the ranch

If opening a bakery and helping a national podcast wasn’t enough to keep things fresh at Color Coffee, Gundlach said his shop has also begun working with a new coffee delivery service and signed up to be a specialty retailer for Breville, the Australian manufacturer of quality home brewing coffee machines.

Color Coffee is now a roasting partner for Pearl Coffee Box, a Blue Apron-like service that sends subscribers various coffees each month.

“We are getting our coffee out to a bunch of new drinkers,” Gundlach said.

The Breville retail agreement involves partnering with the company at trade shows and new product launches and providing training to its customers across the region. Color Coffee one of its 10 USA specialty coffee roaster/brand ambassadors working with Breville.

Gundlach noted that previously, Breville home brewing products were only available from certain retailers, including Williams Sonoma, so selling the company’s home espresso machine will be a coup for Color.

“We don’t usually recommend a home espresso machine, because what you get at the café is so much better than what you can make at home,” said Gundlach. “But this product, priced under $1,000, is a game changer for the home espresso enthusiast.”

He added the Ritz Carlton at Vail will be placing Breville machines in its rooms and Color will work with the hotel to supply the coffee and offer brewing profile recommendations.

To learn more about Color Coffee, visit the business website at colorroasters.com or the café at 717 Sylvan Lake Road.

The first annual Rocky Mountain Burger Battle will serve the best beefy creations in the valley

The inaugural Rocky Mountain Burger Battle, set for Thursday, June 20, will feature the valley’s best burgers. The event is a kickoff event for the Vail Craft Beer Classic this weekend – because after all, the second-best pairing to pizza and beer is burgers and beers.

“We’re hoping that this first year gets a lot of exposure and we can show what the event’s about,” said Ryan Slater. “We’d love to see it grow and have everybody be into it so much that we can make it a standalone weekend event.”

Slater, who coordinated the event with Team Player Productions, has been organizing the Denver Burger Battle for 10 years, and thought it would be a great idea to expand the festival into the Rockies after last year’s Vail Craft Beer Classic. He envisioned it as a sister festival to Denver’s burger battle, and has been planning it since.

The Burger Battle will serve as a Thursday night kickoff event to the Vail Craft Beer Classic this weekend.
Steve Peterson | Special to the Daily

He asked around in Vail which restaurants would be the best competitors, and after reaching out to those establishments and gaining traction for the event, he started receiving applications from other places as well. He encouraged contenders to make creations that festival-goers could also order in the restaurant, but the menu will feature new concoctions and current favorites.

Vail Brewing Co. and Bonfire Brewing Co. will be serving a new collab beer – a hazy pale ale – as well as pouring their own suds. VBC is also hosting an after-party, and burger battle wristbands get wearers $1-off beers.

“We’re happy that the first year – trying to convince people is a little tough – but we’re happy with the lineup. We got a good array of what eagle county has to offer,” Slater said.

Slater said a couple hundred people have already purchased tickets to try the valley’s best burgers. Tickets are still available for online purchase, and can also be bought at the door day-of. For entry into the event, which runs from 5:30-8:30 p.m., patrons pay $45 plus fees. There are also several packages available, but those close online on Thursday.

The Double Double package grants admission to the Rocky Mountain Burger Battle and the Denver Burger Battle on Aug. 1 for $125. The VIP Double Deluxe package grants the same as the Double Double, but with VIP entry in Denver. There’s also a Vail Craft Beer Classic package. For $170, the Beer & Burger Weekender Package holders get entry into the burger battle, and two Craft Beer Classic events: Sip at the Summit and VIP Toast of Vail.

Some competitors are serving their version of a classic burger, and others are going with less traditional flavors.
Special to the Daily


Here’s a list of the competitors, and what they’ll be serving, per the Rocky Mountain Burger Battle website:

Backcountry Wings | Minturn
The Backcountry Burger

The Backcountry Burger consists of hand-pressed locally sourced certified Black Angus Colorado beef topped with bacon-onion jam, distinctive Tillamook white cheddar cheese and Back Country’s own sauce. With a finishing touch of sliced pickles and served on a buttery brioche bun, this burger is an experience not to be missed.

White Bison | Vail
White Bison Burger

Hailing from the heart Vail Village, the hearty bison burger from White Bison is topped with delicious caramelized onion, cheddar, and house pickles. All of this comes together with smoked tomato aioli on an English muffin. 

Illegal Burger | Multiple locations, flagship in Denver
Off the Record

The Off the Record burger is served with a legitimate all-natural Never Ever Beef patty, pepper jack cheese, lettuce and tomato topped with Daikon sprouts and our creamy delicious avocado jalapeño aioli all served on a butter toasted brioche bun.

Craftsman | Edwards
Schmidt Mac

The Schmidt Mac is made up of grass-fed Colorado beef from Colorado Meat Co., garnished with Nueske’s bacon, American cheese and shrettuce – short for shredded lettuce. It’s topped off with special sauce, thyme onions, and spicy dill pickles, all on a toasted sesame seed bun.

Hotel Talisa restaurant | Vail
Talisa Grass Fed Beef Burger

The Talisa Grass Fed Beef Burger prides itself on being 100% local grass fed beef raised Eagle, Colorado. Topped with shallot marmalade, onions, pickle chips, sharp cheddar, and lemon aioli, this juicy burger is sure to make your mouth water.

Bully Ranch, Sonnenalp Hotel | Vail
South of the Border Burger

The Bully Ranch South of the Border Burger takes beefy goodness to the next level with seven times the beef, smoked gouda cheese and tasty smoked bacon. Topped with traditional lettuce, onions and tomatoes, it gets a modern twist with addedhomemade guacamole, pickled onions and a little kick of pickled jalapeño.

Bol | Vail
Eaton Ranch Bol Burger

The Eaton Ranch Bol Burger is created with an Eaton Ranch – located in Edwards – beef patty and Haystack Mountain – located in Fort Collins – goat Monterey Jack cheese. It’s topped with poached egg, crispy shoestring potatoes, arugula and served on a house-made English muffin. Tender belly bacon, Tillamook cheddar cheese, L.T.O. and mayo on a brioche bun.

Gypsum buys restaurant at I-70 interchange to spur redevelopment

GYPSUM — The town of Gypsum will soon be the proud owner of a restaurant located at the community’s gateway.

But Gypsum isn’t planning a move into the burger-slinging business. Rather, the real estate contract signed Tuesday to purchase the Gypsum Grill represents the town’s latest effort to redevelop the community’s Interstate 70 interchange area.

According to Gypsum Town Manager Jeremy Rietmann, Gypsum Grill owner Arturo Palacio accepted the town’s offer to purchase his commercial property for $960,000. The restaurant building and parking area cover slightly less than one acre. Palacio had listed the property for sale at $1.195 million.

“This is an investment the town has considered for many years,” said Rietmann. “In order for us to achieve some of the goals of our master plan, we needed to do this.”

Changing needs

Rietmann noted that when Palacio built the Gypsum Grill 29 years ago, Gypsum was a very different community.

“We think Arturo has done a great job up there and has been a long-time local business operator,” said Rietmann.

But back in the 1980s, traffic at the Gypsum I-70 interchange was mainly composed of town residents who were headed upvalley to work. While those folks are still entering I-70 at Gypsum, they have been joined by people traveling to the Eagle County Regional Airport or Costco.

“We see that area of town as the most likely site to be able to generate incremental sales tax growth,” said Rietmann. “Those would be new dollars in the community, not just a shift of spending.”

It isn’t hard to predict likely business options at the site. Interstate interchanges across the nation include fast-food franchises, convenience stores and fuel options.

“I think everything is on the table because it is so early in this process,” said Rietmann. “The long term goal is redevelopment — something that can provide an amenity that appeals to more peop0le and maybe creates a more appealing entrance to the community.”


Rietmann noted that people often remark that Gypsum’s entrance doesn’t do the town justice. In fact, he noted the I-70 entryway actually disguises the great community behind it.

The town has already taken steps to improve its gateway. Several years ago the town purchased the rental cabin site — often called Turgeonville — located between U.S. Highway 6 and Gypsum Creek. As the condition of the cabins worsened, Gypsum made the decision to tear them down and create an open space parcel just south of the Union Pacific railroad overpass. The overpass itself got a makeover last summer with fresh paint and masonry. The town also placed a new variable message sign at the site.

Rietmann added that in 2018 Gypsum worked with the owners of the Wylaco location to do landscaping and build a fence on their southern property line to improve the visual corridor next to the Eagle River.

When Gypsum takes over the Gypsum  Grill site, those beautification efforts will continue. The town also hopes to work with the owner of the adjacent property — the HiWay 6 Store and Shell gas station — on a redevelopment plan.

“The properties could both work together as pieces of a whole that will make sense in the end,” Rietmann said.

In the more immediate future, Gypsum has until its March 8 closing date to figure out what it will do with the Gypsum Grill once it owns the property.

“All options are open. One option that may be worth our while to pursue is to lease the property back to Arturo or find an interim operator,” said Rietmann.”The longer-term goal is to find a good prospect that is interested in purchasing the property and doing something new. I think it is very likely that there will be demolition at some point and it will be an entirely new operation.”



Gypsum’s newest eatery Max & Lily’s Cafe offers comfort food

GYPSUM —Located at one of the community’s highest traffic intersections and painted a cheery shade of yellow, it’s tough to miss Gypsum’s newest eatery — Max & Lily’s Cafe.

Now owners Linda Buckley and Dale Nelson want to build word of mouth enthusiasm to match their visual impact. Just two weeks after opening, they figure that effort is off to a strong start.

Max & Lily’s — located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 6 and Valley Road, catty-corner from Eagle Valley High School — began its breakfast and lunch service on the first day of 2019. Since its Jan. 1 opening, Buckley and Nelson said more and more folks are dropping in to check out the cafe.

“We have had such a positive response from the community. It really feels good,” Nelson said.

Buckley and Nelson describe Max & Lily’s as basic American comfort food. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday. The morning menu features classics such as pancakes, biscuits and gravy, eggs and breakfast sandwiches. At lunchtime, the offerings transition to burgers, sandwiches and salads. There are also some house specialties such as chicken potpie, veggie or meat lasagna and homemade soups and chili.

Along with its dine-in options, Max & Lily’s offers a grab-and-go service and customers can call in or order from the cafe website. While dining room service ends at 4 p.m. daily, working parents can pick up dinner on their way home because the cafe crew is still on site until roughly 6 p.m.

New option

With its breakfast and lunch menus and its pick up options, Max & Lily’s wants to bring a different dining option to town.

“We hope were are adding to what Gypsum has to offer,” Nelson said. “We are trying to be different, not to do what other businesses are doing.”

The duo brings years of food service experience to the new venture. Buckley arrived in the valley back in 1978.

“I have been a personal chef and caterer in the valley for years and years,” Buckley said. Last summer she launched a popular food truck operation — Baked and Loaded — that featured specialty baked potatoes.

Nelson has been a local for more than two decades and since arriving in 1991, he has worked front of house jobs at a number of local restaurants. He is also a skilled fine cabinetry carpenter.

Their respective skills were all called in to play when they took over their cafe space last fall. Buckley had been using the kitchen at the restaurant to support her food truck business so she was already familiar with the space and saw its potential.

“What a little gem. What a hot spot,” Buckley said.

After signing their lease, Buckley and Nelson got to work remodeling the space as community members avidly followed their progress. The remodel turned into a 10-week project. Buckley’s brother Bernie trekked out from Pennsylvania to help and Nelson’s parents also pitched in.

“We were exhausted when we opened. But now that I am cooking, I am in my happy place,” said Buckley.

Early response

After being open for a few weeks, Buckley and Nelson say the community has embraced Max & Lily’s.

“The biscuits and gravy are flying out the door every morning,” Buckley said.

As the cafe settles in, the duo envisions the next step for the space. They aren’t planning to expand into dinner service, but rather want to open the restaurant for special event booking — church groups or book clubs or private parties. Max & Lily’s is in the process of obtaining and beer and wine liquor license so evening gatherings can include adult beverages.

But for now, the duo is dedicated to launching their brand and creating a following.

“It’s getting easier and easier, every day,” Buckley said.

And, getting back to the old real estate mantra of “location, location, location,” it’s hard to miss the fact that the cafe is open for business. The yellow paint just amplifies the visibility.

“It makes the building seem welcoming,” Nelson said. “It also has a bit of a whimsical feel.”

That sense of whimsy is also evident in the cafe name, which celebrates the owner’s canine partners. Max is a 2-year-old heeler mix adopted from the Eagle County Animal Shelter. Lily is a 12-year-old Border Collie-Australian Shepherd mix. Not only is the cafe named after the two dogs, but the business logo designed by local artist Jane Parker features their likenesses.