EAT: Mix old classics and new favorites at Los Amigos
Special to the Daily
Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a paid feature in EAT magazine, highlighting restaurants across the valley.
There are institutions in Vail…and then there’s Los Amigos. Since 1973, Los Amigos has been serving up traditional Mexican-American cuisine from its slope-side spot. On the deck, skiers and snowboarders gather to toast the day with margaritas and chow down on chimichangas. But as Vail has grown and evolved, so too must Los Amigos. Drew Riley took the reins as owner-operator in November 2018 and started making changes at the venerable joint. But for those who are afraid of change, there’s no need to fear — after all, Riley grew up in Los Amigos; his dad, Ron Riley, bought the restaurant in 1985.
“I know what Los Amigos should be. I want to update it and bring some modern-ness to it, but I want to keep that same feel,” he said.
Peruse the menu and you’ll find a refreshing blend of the classic dishes that you know co-existing peaceably with the new additions — namely, street tacos.
“I feel like street tacos are sort of the modern age of Mexican food, whereas Los Amigos has been the classic Mexican-American cuisine for years and years and years and years,” Riley said.
Smaller in stature but big in flavor, these tacos let you order based on your appetite. Need a nibble? Order one or two. Want to fuel up before hitting the slopes again? Order a few more. With 10 different options ranging from the classic Los Amigos grilled fish tacos (which have not been tampered with, Riley promises) to the new al pastor, lamb barbacoa and lobster options, there are enough combinations to keep your stomach and taste buds satisfied.
But Riley also adheres to the “if it ain’t broke” axiom: The classics are still available, from the Enchilada Especial Del Azul (layers of blue corn tortillas filled with shredded chicken and smothered with Los Amigos’ green sauce and Monterey jack cheese, topped with sour cream and an egg) to the nachos, chimichanga, burritos and fajitas. Chef Todd Purse and Chef Alfredo Ramos are still helming the kitchen, creating homemade salsas and maintaining the high standards of cuisine.
There are still 10 different options for thirst-quenching Margarita goodness on the menu, but Riley says guests can now add CBD to their marg, doubling the restorative properties of the concoctions.
Things are changing, but not too much.
“I always want Los Amigos to be the après ski place,” Riley says. “And that’s what I’m looking to continue. I mean, everybody remembers a time being on the deck and hearing a huge roar, looking up and you see someone just sliding face-down on Pepi’s Face. I mean you can’t beat that. And that’s what I want to continue to have and deliver.”
Though menu items and décor may change, the heart of Los Amigos will continue its steady beat in Vail Village.
À la carte street tacos start at $4
Apps and entrees: $4.50 – 18.95
Energetic bar and taqueria in the heart of Vail Village
Street tacos and Enchilada Especial Del Azul