Fine wining and dining at Vin 48 in Avon
Editor’s note: this story originally ran as a paid feature in EAT Magazine, featuring the best restaurants in the Vail Valley. EAT is available on magazine racks and in hotel lobbies for free.
When Collin Baugh, Greg Eynon and Charles Hays rolled the dice, forged out on their own and opened Vin48, we weren’t sure if Avon was ready for it. A wine bar with shared plates, chic-contemporary décor and a stunning bar set into the curved bow of what is locally known as the Boat Building — it was a brazen move. Eleven years later, Vin 48 is such an essential part of the landscape it’s difficult to imagine a world without Vin.
“We’ve been able to balance appealing to our local community and also getting people to come down the hill from Beaver Creek or even over in Vail,” admits Eynon. “But our main focus is to be a neighborhood restaurant, and that’s why it’s worked.”
With a generous and delicious Happy Hour that attracts a standing-room-only crowd early in the evening, and a lively dining room that encourages mixing, matching and the occasional adventurous play, it’s easy to visit a couple times a week without feeling limited or in a rut. Plus, the menu changes monthly with major overhauls four or five times a year.
Mainstays include the smoked salmon atop fried potato cakes, three demure goat tacos with a bright pasado salsa and the mussels with house-made chorizo and sop-worthy wine broth, among others. But new dishes deserve attention too, such as the Koji-dusted scallops with green harissa, and Vail Valley Creamery beef tartare with pine nuts, egg yolk and Champagne ricotta.
“Chef puts a lot of flavor in the dishes,” says Eynon.
He also puts a lot of love in them — and plain old-fashioned effort. Sometimes he sources beef from a ranch six miles down the road, and veggies from several small farms in Eagle County. And every week a whole heritage hog arrives at his kitchen door from Salida, Colorado, to be broken down into prime cuts and ground meat for various specials, smoked sausages and, say, ravioli filling.
“I don’t think we’re fancy, we just cook correctly,” says Chef Hays. “Everything’s made in house, and we don’t overdo the product. Like the Deep Sea Red Crab — just let the red crab shine. When you get good food, you don’t have to manipulate it too much.”
Sustainable seafood is a consideration, too. The seared Hawaiian yellowfin tuna crowning a smoky tomato broth is a stand out. The semolina linguine and baby bok choy are a perfect one-two punch of fitting backdrop and fresh-tender crunch.
And though unheard-of wines have always been part of restaurant’s wine program, they’ve found a renewed focus in looking at wineries that epitomize what Vin48 is: a little corner of a bigger community committed to doing things well, passionately and sustainably.
“People say it’s eclectic, and don’t recognize a lot of the wines,” Eynon says about the list. “I see that as a positive. We are trying to work with producers who are small, who do it like we do it here. We have everything — classic producers and great vintages. But you can also come in and give us a price point, say $50 to $70, and try something different and interesting that you’ve never had before.”
And though Vin48 is the sort of slam-dunk choice for a special occasion, it’s also a spot that remains vibrant and in flux, perfect for a dinner that is here and now.