Alpine Burrito Co. opens with drive-thru breakfast and lunch in West Vail
Alpine Burrito Co., a new drive-thru eatery in West Vail by Ace Hardware, hopes to provide each of its customers with quality, home-cooked food each time they pull up to the window.
“I love to cook. And I love business,” said owner Morgan Browning. “But also, more than anything, I feel like there’s a big need for things like this in the valley, particularly here in Vail.”
Most people here in the Vail Valley, he’s noticed since moving with his family from Denver in 2017, are busy. Whether they’re on their way to the hill with ambitions of snagging first chair or juggling various life responsibilities, the lack of quick food options, and specifically drive-thru options are seriously limited. The only drive-thru option in Vail is McDonald’s.
The Alpine Burrito location has served food in previous lives. It was a spot for Green Elephant Juicery before that closed, it was a café, and a deposit drive-thru for Millenium Bank. The cash slot is still there, now covered with Alpine Burrito’s website information.
Speaking of websites, Browning also felt that an online ordering option would benefit both tourists and locals alike. A big party, which are hard to service at restaurants these days, could order all their burritos online for pickup the next day, and locals could order online and swing by on their way to or from their next engagement, without having to wait at the window for preparation.
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The menu is simple, and that’s by design. Browning and his team make nearly everything from scratch, including a seasonal sauce to accompany the burritos, in a commercial kitchen at the EagleVail Golf Club. This winter, try the Southwestern BBQ sauce with a build-your-own breakfast or lunch burrito, with options for meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike. And the combinations are nearly endless.
“We want people to have a place where they can go they can get it quick, but also something that’s delicious and unique and better for them than traditional fast food,” Browning said.
Browning had the idea to open up a fast-casual eatery back in July, fresh off a spring of helping his four kids with virtual school and a move from up-valley down to Eagle. His wife owns her own business, and when the family moved to the valley, Browning left a 15-year career in consulting — his job involved frequent two-week business trips overseas — to spend more time with his kids.
“I spent the vast majority of my time taking care of our kids. I was dad for the last three years. It was amazing. I can’t express how grateful I was to have that time,” he said. “But entrepreneurial ideas were always kind of in my blood. This one was on my radar when we moved up here, but it’s also allowing me to continue to be there for my kids.”
A friend of his from Denver, who moved up here independently shortly after the Brownings moved, now serves as his manager. The business has only been open for about two weeks, so it’s an all-hands-on-deck operation. Browning could be cooking one minute and serving customers the next. But so far, it’s been a good ride.
“Just seeing the reaction of people, they have just been really amazing. I actually got fairly emotional the first day. And actually, I’m getting kind of emotional now,” he said. “I think about how you just want to know that people appreciate what you’re putting out there. And so, to have that … I know that people are happy, and that’s good enough for me.”
Alpine Burrito Co. is open from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information or to order online, visit alpineburrito.com.