EAT: Tavern on the Square serves up healthy and comfort favorites
Special to the Daily
Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a paid feature in EAT magazine, highlighting restaurants across the valley.
With its morning breakfast bounty, lively patio scene, and convivial atmosphere, Tavern on the Square is a place where you can dine comfortably from dawn until way after dark. Ski or walk to Vail’s Lionshead Village, and look for the sparkling patio lights to guide you into a choose-your-own-culinary-adventure of sorts, where you can linger over a long lunch with friends, stick around for après-ski cocktail sipping or come in after sundown for a family dinner.
“One of the most exciting things about being at the Tavern in the winter for me is the chance to share in the sheer amount of diversity that we have here in our employees and guests who come to Vail from all over the world,” says Executive Chef Nick Steger. Part of satisfying such a diverse group is having a menu that appeals to a variety of tastes. “This menu was created by our whole team of chefs, and our focus is on delivering a heartfelt meal that everyone will remember,” he adds.
To achieve that aim, the Tavern menu includes healthy, gluten-free and vegan options among more traditional pub fare. The Island Poke Bowl, for example, is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed for the fresh flavor explosion in its vegetable elements — tangy kimchi, nutrient-packed wakame, spicy pickled ginger, smooth cucumber — and for its protein additions that range from ahi tuna to local grass-fed beef. Likewise, the Superfood Salad is a colorful combination of kale, arugula, berries and more. With ancient grains, shaved Brussels sprouts and almonds in the mix for a satisfying crunch, this salad is topped with a lemon-strawberry chia dressing that brings all of its flavors together.
Of course, Tavern on the Square is well known for its hearty classics like Chicken Pot Pie, Beef Bourguignon and Lobster Mac & Cheese. And pub-food aficionados will love discovering fresh takes on the traditional, such as the Colorado Fun-Due Nachos. True to their name, these fun nachos are ambitiously portioned and can be enjoyed as a meal or as a quick shared bite before heading back out on the slopes.
Another choose-your-own-adventure dish, the Korean Noodles, offers a toasty, umami flavor punctuated by bites of baby bok choy, carrots and mushrooms with your choice of protein. And the tried-and-true Wapiti Elk is embellished by a smoked black cherry and sage jus — a fitting complement to the mountain game.
Among dessert options, the S’mores Taco is definitely the one that will wow anyone who’s game to indulge in a few final bites. This seriously amazing concoction tucks marshmallow and graham cracker ice cream into a chocolate-coated waffle shell that’s doused with fudge sauce and salted crumbles. Be forewarned: it’s huge and best for sharing, but it’s so good you’ll want to eat it all on your own.
Tavern on the Square
Starters and shared plates: $13-$34
Flatbreads, salads and sandwiches: $15-$23
Large plates: $27-44
Casual-yet-refined slopeside tavern with a lively patio scene