Apres at The Fitz at Vail Mountain | VailDaily.com

Apres at The Fitz at Vail Mountain

Kim Fuller
Special to the Weekly

Editor's note: This article was previously published as a paid feature in EAT, a compendium of restaurant snapshots featuring the best in Vail Valley dining. Look for it on newsstands everywhere.

It's apres hour on Vail Mountain and the last run of the day when you begin to salivate over thoughts of a cold beer or a craft cocktail. Ski town toward Vail Village and keep right, making your way over toward the Golden Peak mountain helm. Just across the street is The Fitz, located inside the Manor Vail Lodge. It's a fun and welcoming destination for all, from casual diners to dedicated gourmands.

Executive Chef Ken Butler has continued to evolve the menu, catering to pub-food cravings as well as appetites that crave intricately designed dishes. Across the board, quality ingredients are a focus for Butler, just as he values preparing them in the most revered style.

"We keep it simple," he says, "often including just four or five ingredients to allow the food to speak for itself."

Color and Flavor

This winter's offerings highlight color and flavor, from the vibrant and nourishing superfood kale salad with blueberry acai vinaigrette, broccolini, red cabbage, toasted pumpkin seeds and strawberries, to the forest-inspired elk entrée that showcases deep red medallions of meat over a bed of earthy mushroom risotto.

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Once you settle in, ask passionate and talented bartender Zach Milner to craft you anything on the list. Warm your core next to the fire with a glass of red or a Prosecco Refashioned, made with peach bitters, muddled cherry, blackberry and orange, topped playfully with bubbly wine. Those looking for a creamier end to the day will enjoy the Snowflake Martini, a treat of Wheatly vodka, Leopold Bros. coffee liqueur, Frangelico, Baileys and creme de cacao.

Apres Ski

Raise a glass in this local hot spot with thirsty ski instructors during happy hour, every day from 4 to 6 p.m. Drink specials complement a table of starters to share. Try the Brussels sprouts, served with shishitos and pancetta, along with an order of the deviled eggs and truffle fries. And don't miss the mac 'n' cheese that has the kitchen's rich house-made sauce covering tubes of cavatappi pasta.

Sometimes, the best way to satisfy mountain hunger is to keep it classic. The Fitz Burger has remained a mainstay on the menu, and for good reason. This juicy kingpin is served on a pretzel bun with cheddar cheese and bacon jam.

"We're sticking true to what we have been doing so well here — it's comfort food, elevated," Butler says.