EAT: Grill your own steak at the Minturn Country Club for a fun and interactive evening
Special to the Daily
Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a paid feature in EAT magazine, highlighting restaurants across the valley.
Situated in the historic railroad town of Minturn, the Minturn Country Club is just far enough from Vail to be filled with local flair. Walk into the cozy, dark-paneled dining room and you’ll hear the sizzle of steaks and the low hum of voices, punctuated by laughter and clinking glasses from the huddles of amateur grillmasters standing elbow to elbow around the restaurant’s two large grills.
The country club part of its name is one slice of the quirky fun you’ll find here: selecting and grilling your own meat is part of the experience. Each diner’s prize has been hand-picked from the butcher case and carefully arrayed over the communal flames — USDA prime New York strip, porterhouse T-bone, buffalo ribeye.
These are not the ordinary steaks you buy at the local grocery. After starting with the finest beef, the Minturn Country Club ages the loins for several weeks to ensure tenderness and flavor. Then, when the timing is just right, they are hand-carved into steaks and sent to meet the clean, aromatic, 1,100-degree lava rock fire.
Protein is the main attraction here. Besides steak, diners can order yellowfin tuna, wild caught Alaskan salmon, shrimp and lemon or teriyaki chicken, as well as a variety of cuts of beef, and a rotating selection of sides, drinks and desserts complete the meal. Fill up your plate at the salad bar stocked with favorites, and choose from a well-curated wine list, in which bar manager and overall right-hand man TJ Ricci takes pride.
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“This is one of the only restaurants in the area where your kids can run around like wild, and you can still have a really nice glass of wine,” Ricci said.
As the son of Tom Ricci, who owns the restaurant with Joe Honnessy, TJ has grown up in this place and has watched others do the same.
“Some of our guests go four generations deep,” Ricci said, “and it’s always amazing to see them return again and again.”
TJ’s also the man here who always has an ace up his sleeve. A magic enthusiast, he keeps guests entertained with cards and other magic tricks, and on busy nights, it’s not rare to have tables waiting for him to appear.
Be sure to save some room for the award-winning Minturn Tater, a Russet-sized scoop of cookies and cream ice cream rolled into a log and filled with chocolate sauce that oozes from its center. The whole thing is then rolled in cocoa powder and topped with whipped cream, chocolate, and sliced almonds to resemble a baked potato. A flash of light radiating from the grill, the warmth of the flame, steaks of the highest quality and the snapping sound of TJ shuffling cards: All of these things come together at the Minturn Country Club to make it a place where families and friends return to revel in the comfort of tradition, good food and fun.
Minturn Country Club
Family-friendly steakhouse with local flair
Bone-in ribeye, U.S.D.A. prime N.Y. strip, filet mignon, yellowfin tuna, and more