| VailDaily.com

Today is National Lobster Day

Today is National Lobster Day and in honor of this delicacy that was once fed to prisoners and servants, we decided to dive into the history of this coveted crustacean.

According to history.com, when European settlers came to North America, the lobsters were so plentiful along the beaches that they would pile up two feet high along the shoreline. Native Americans used lobster for fertilizer in their fields and as fishing bait. The plentitude of lobster allowed it to be served to prisoners, servants, apprentices and children. It was branded the “poor man’s protein.”

Fast forward a few centuries later and lobster is now a pricey treat on the menu. It is still a good source of protein. Nutrition websites reveal that one cup of cooked lobster (about 145 grams) contains 129 calories, 1.25 grams of fat, 0 carbohydrates and 27.55 grams of protein. That’s until you add the drawn butter, of course.

Vail may be 2,000 miles away from the coast of Maine, where many of the lobsters we dine on come from, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have our share of great lobster dishes to choose from. Dimitri Souvorin, long-time chef and part-owner of Montauk in Lionshead, said he loves to work with lobster. “It is so versatile, you can serve it so many ways. We’ve done tempura-fried, steamed, served it in pasta dishes and in our risotto,” said Souvorin, referring to the Lobster Arancini on the appetizer menu.

Souvorin prefers cold water versus warm water lobster and sources much of the lobster for Montauk from Maine and Canada. Souvorin said he loves ordering up special items for customers, too. “If you have a special event like an anniversary or a birthday and you want lobster, I can find you the size you are looking for and put a delicious meal together for you at our restaurant,” Souvorin said.

In the Vail Valley, you won’t just find lobster while dining indoors at a restaurant. It has also become popular street fare at the Vail Farmers Market and Art Show. For 15 years, the Left Bank has been serving up its famous lobster roll. “Years ago we started with 50 or 60 rolls each Sunday and it’s increased every year and now we serve 200 at each market,” said Jean-Michel Chelain, chef-owner of The Left Bank in Vail Village.

Due to COVID-19, the lobster roll was offered for take out this spring and the Left Bank started doing lunch this summer and it’s now a popular item for dining in. “But you can order it to-go and we’ll have it on the bar menu all winter,” Chelain said.

Chelain uses finely chopped, rinsed and pressed ingredients in his lobster salad that he puts on the roll. He also uses house-made potato bread. “The potato puree keeps the bread moist and soft,” Chelain said.

Want to make a lobster dish at home? Tracy Miller of Colorful Cooking is a caterer in town. She is from Maine and loves her lobster. “Being a Maine girl, I don’t substitute lobster for anything. Here is a mini appetizer with lobster that is on the cheap and people love it,” Miller said.

Recipe

2 lobster tails, raw

Fresh tarragon

Frozen Filo Cups

1/3 cup mayo or sour cream  

Directions

You have to use some muscle for this: lay the lobster tail on its back, flatten it out with one hand and using a chef knife slice from top to bottom of the tail. Pry open and remove the meat. Chop the meat into small pieces and cook it in a frying pan with butter over medium heat until pink. Place half cooked lobster and mayo in food processor and blend until smooth. Fill each Filo cup with a little mayo mixture, then a piece of lobster and a sprinkle of fresh tarragon. Makes 16.

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: Altitude Bar and Grill

Name of business: Altitude Bar and Grill

Physical address: Evergreen Lodge 250 S. Frontage Rd. W. Vail, CO 81657

Phone number: 970-306-2619

Email: daver@evergreenvail.com

Website: www.evergreevail.com/dining

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

We are currently offering dining, patio and takeout service.

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

We have adjusted by practicing social distancing, employees face masks, frequent hand washing, sanitizing stations, frequent cleaning of common areas

How can the community support you?

They can support us by dining at our restaurant and ordering takeout.

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

Facebook is the best way to stay up to date

What’s the response been?

The response from locals and hotel guests have been great and we appreciate their support

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

The plans going to forward is to continue social distancing and sanitation as we protect our customers and hotel guests

Open for Business: Terra Bistro

Name of business:  Terra Bistro 

Physical address: 352 E. Meadow Dr. Vail, CO 81657

Phone number: 970-476-6836

Email: www.terrabistrovail.com

Website: terrabistrovail.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

We are offering thoughtfully sourced and prepared dinner for dine-in service and takeout. Our menu highlights produce that represents summer in the mountains of Colorado while maintaining the service and health-driven cuisine that has been quintessential to Terra Bistro for over 25 years. In addition to our normal a la carte menu option, we will be continuously creating and offering three-course takeout meals for two or more throughout the summer, to offer Terra quality dinner in the comfort of your home. 

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

We are offering contactless online ordering (go to the website for link) and family-style menu selections and dinners you can pre-order up to 72 hours in advance. Social distancing tables in the dining room, all staff/guests required to follow local and state protocols. Offering to-go cocktail kits and specials on wine bottles from our cellar. The staff at Terra Bistro has always taken sanitation practices and safe work environments very seriously. In addition to our daily sanitation practices, we have further upped our levels of sanitation standards, from always wearing masks on property to ensuring our takeout orders are put together with as little contact as possible. The customer’s safety and wellness have always been and always will be our number one concern.

How can the community support you?

Make a reservation for dinner or plan a Terra To-Go night out in your own home.

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

Social media and our website will be updated as we expand the menu. Keep an eye out for amazing family-style specials. 

What’s the response been?

We are very happy to be open and are so ecstatic to offer quality food, beverages and service to our Terra Bistro community once again. It has been a slow start, but we want people to know we are here and ready! It may be an interesting new beginning to what the restaurant industry will be like, at least in our near-future. However, we are looking forward to learning and relearning how to make the very best dining experience for our customers, both new and veteran.

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

We will focus on maintaining the highest degree of health and safety for our guests and staff while eagerly seeking to get back to providing the amazing dining experience we’ve been perfecting for the past 26 years.

Open for Business: Left Bank Restaurant

Name of business: Left Bank Restaurant

Physical address: Located in Sitzmark Lodge 183 Gore Creek Vail, CO 81657

Phone number: 970-476-3696

Email: jmc@leftbankvail.com

Website: leftbankvail.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

Left Bank is offering grab-and-go lunch Tuesdays through Saturdays starting at 11:45 a.m. We also have grab-and-go dinner if you want to dine outside or take it home. We are offering dine-in service from 5:30-9 p.m. We have a special of three courses for $49. Reservations are required.

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

Left Bank is offering the takeout option for lunch Tuesdays-Saturdays during the summer, which is a new offering. Our restaurant will continue to offer a safe and healthy social distancing experience for all customers who dine in for dinner based on the Eagle County Department of Public Health and Environment guidelines for restaurants.

How can the community support you?

We are happy to be back open for business as of June 1! Left Bank is delighted to offer grab-and-go lunch. We are also open for dine-in dinner reservations with the proper health and safety protocols in place. You can also support us by purchasing gift cards.

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

Visit our website or call us Tuesdays-Saturdays at 970-476-3696.

What’s the response been?

Prior to advertising, many guests personally reached out to chef-owner Jean-Michel Chelain not only to show support but also to inquire when they would be able to come and dine with us again. Jean-Michel began making his famous lobster rolls and offering them for carryout. The response was so positive, and soon the word spread. We knew that creating a lunch carryout menu would be well received. The wonderful returning staff is enthusiastically ready to start the summer season and see new and returning guests.

We have created a fresh menu for summer with new offerings along with our dearly loved classics. We are excited and optimistic about our new ventures, and we can offer guests marvelous dining options along with exceptional service in a safe and clean environment. 

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

We are taking this time to expand our dining experience. Jean-Michel has created a variety of sandwiches that can be taken with you for lunch. For the month of June, our menu consists of three courses for $49. We are following the dine-in precautions, which means reservations are necessary. We are also looking to open for service along Gore Creek Drive so our guests can enjoy the stunning views Vail has to offer while listening to the creek. Left Bank has always prided itself on its sanitation procedures, and the transition to the new regulations was easy to adopt. Our staff has been trained, and we are committed to creating a safe restaurant for our guests.  

Open for Business: Bol Vail

Name of business: Bol Vail

Physical address: 141 East Meadow Drive Suite 113 Vail, CO 81657

Phone number: 970-476-5300

Email: info@bolvail.com

Website: bolvail.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

Bol is offering dining inside or on our patio and takeout orders. We also have bowling, lawn games and small group events.

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

Employees are required to wear facemasks, we are frequently disinfecting common areas and have multiple hand sanitizing stations. We also have online ordering and payment options.

How can the community support you?

The community can support us by dining with us, bowling, getting takeout orders and purchasing gift cards.

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

To stay up to date on the happenings at Bol go to our website and our Facebook page.

What’s the response been?

The response from our customer has been great! We opened on May 29 and business was good and the feedback from customers has been great on social media.

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

The plans going forward are to continue social distancing and following Eagle County guidelines so we can provide a safe and fun environment for our customers.

Open for Business: Sundae Artisan Ice Cream

Name of business: Sundae Artisan Ice Cream

Physical address: 242 E. Meadow Drive, Vail; 56 Edwards Village Blvd., Edwards; and 723 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs

Phone number: Vail is 970-479-1705, Edwards is 970-766-7522 and Glenwood Springs is 970-456-1355

Emails: ashlyn@sundae.biz and molly@sundae.biz

Website: sundaeicecream.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time?

Sundae in Edwards, Vail and Glenwood Springs are currently offering the full ice cream menu including shakes, cones and sundaes. We also have pints, quarts, ice cream sandwiches and cakes.

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

The staff at Sundae has been working diligently to comply with all government and Centers for Disease Control guidelines. To comply with social distancing, all stores have markers on the floor to help maintain the 6-foot distance between non-household guests. All of our patio tables are stationed 8 feet apart. We are also taking orders and payments over the phone for contact-free pickup. 

How can the community support you?

We feel incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support and generosity that the community has shown us throughout this challenging time. Because of this, both stores have been able to stay open during the stay at home order, and we were able to open our Glenwood Springs location successfully.

Our favorite way the community can support us is to continue to shop at Sundae and spread the word that we are still open for business. Other ways to support us are to purchase gift cards at any location to use at a later date or share feedback on TripAdvisor, Yelp or Google about an experience they had at Sundae.

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

Our social media pages are updated frequently with any changes and special offers. We can be found at Sundae Artisan Ice Cream on Facebook and @sundae.artisan.icecream on Instagram.

What’s the response been?

The community response to our careful decision to remain open throughout the stay-at-home order has been overwhelmingly positive. Our Vail store has been fortunate to stay open due to an amazing handful of generous Vail Valley locals that stopped by almost daily for weeks, keeping smiles on our staff’s faces throughout quiet days. During this time, we have been working as fast as possible to keep up with our cake and pint production, as the demand is far greater than we anticipated.

Throughout the past few months, the Vail Valley community has continued to make Sundae a part of their lives. On this year’s gloomy Easter afternoon, one local couple made it a priority to come by the Vail store and sing “You Are My Sunshine” to the employee working that day. We have had locals make our store a stop during their daily walk with their dog. Families now end their bike rides in front of our shop with ice cream cones in hand. Getting to know more of our community on a personal level during this quiet time has been an amazing silver lining.

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

We are excited for the time we can hand out samples again and not hide our smiles underneath a mask, but the safety of our employees and community is our top priority. Our operations are continuing to evolve with government guidelines. Regardless of what that may look like, Sundae will always be here, scooping toward the same goal: to share joy, one scoop at a time.

Open for Business: The Fitz

Name of business: The Fitz      

Physical address: Manor Vail Lodge 595 Vail Valley Drive Vail, CO 81657

Phone number: 970-476-4959

Email: marketing@manorvail.com     

Website: www.thefitzbar.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

We are offering a limited high-quality menu that includes local ingredients and beverages that are prepared and packaged safely for any customer to take with them on our outdoor patio, Ford Park, or Manor Vail Lodge gardens. Both car parking and bike parking are available on-site.

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

We have streamlined the ordering process by reducing touch points with a digital menu board and packaging items in to-go compostable containers. Guests can simply order by phone or at the bar. We will either deliver the order to their table outside on the patio or package their items so they can take them wherever they go.

How can the community support you?

We welcome the community to come by for lunch or dinner and enjoy our outdoor patio or order takeout.

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

Our website and social media (Instagram and Facebook @theFitzVail)

What’s the response been?

Our staff members are eager and excited to welcome guests and locals back to our establishment to enjoy great food, local beverages and the great outdoors.

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

We are evaluating our operations and procedures on a weekly basis to make our customers and staff members remain safe and healthy. With our large outdoor patio and proximity to Ford Park, we are encouraging guests to dine outside whenever possible instead of dining inside, as space is limited.

Open for Business: Root & Flower

Name of business: Root & Flower

Physical address: 288 Bridge Street Vail, CO 81657

Phone number: 970-470-4189

Email: hello@rootandflowervail.com

Website: www.rootandflowervail.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

We are open Mondays through Thursdays from 4 p.m.-12 a.m. and Fridays through Sundays 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. serving brunch on the weekends. To-go cocktails, wine and food are still available. All of our menus are updated and current on our website.

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

We are still virtual! Our virtual wine tasting classes on Fridays will continue through June. Go to our website to view the classes and book your spot.

How can the community support you?

The community can best support us by coming in to see us, ordering take out or buying gift cards.

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

Instagram and Facebook are the best ways to stay up to date with our offerings.

What’s the response been?

The response to our virtual classes, our takeout offerings and our new food menu has been amazing!

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

Plans going forward are just to stay true to our brand and be creative!

Open for Business: Up the Creek

Name of business: Up the Creek

Physical address: 223 E Gore Creek Dr.

Phone number: 970-476-8141

Email: Info@vailupthecreek.com

Website: www.vailupthecreek.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

We are offering a limited menu that can be found on our website on Thursdays-Mondays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for both dine-in and takeout.

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

Our goal is to make our customers feel safe while enjoying their dining experience. Our staff will be masked and in gloves and sanitizing all high use areas and items after every use. Tables and walkways will be at least six feet apart and if our guests have any requests to make them feel safer we will try our best to always accommodate those requests.

How can the community support you?

We want our guests to feel safe and comfortable dining again. The best way they can support us is to come have a meal, enjoy a cocktail on our beautiful deck and tell their friends about the experience they had at Up The Creek. If dining at our restaurant isn’t an option we are offering all of our menu and drinks to go.

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

Our social media pages, Instagram and Facebook, as well as our website will be the best way to stay up to date on our menu and operating hours.

What’s the response been?

The response from our community has been great. People have been getting to-go food and picnicking on our lawn as well as enjoying our new dine-in option. 

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

As the “new normal ” evolves we are looking for new ways for our guests to enjoy their experience. Whether that entails them dining in, picnicking on our lawn, or something we’ve never tried before such as pairing dining and an activity like yoga and apps. We will continue running our restaurant safely and conscious of keeping our staff and guests in good health.