Dusty Boot Roadhouse celebrates 20 years at Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

Dusty Boot Roadhouse celebrates 20 years at Beaver Creek

Will Brendza
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.

Perched overlooking the ice rink of Village Plaza, the Dusty Boot hums with local life and excited diners. It's become a landmark après destination in Beaver Creek over the years. Since 1997 the Boot's been slinging its savory Western cuisine, offering a warm and friendly place for both locals and visitors to kick back after a long day on the slopes. This year marks their 20th anniversary, and to celebrate, the Boot has a fresh renovation, a revamped menu and a host of new happy hour deals to give back to its Beaver Creek community.

Just inside the new glass doors, the Boot's long bar is usually a-bustle with guests, drink in hand, marinating in the warm light that saturates the space. The newly redone dining area, just beyond the bar, is lined with leather booths, filled with families and couples enjoying the bright Western atmosphere.

Happy hour at the Dusty Boot is from 3 to 5 p.m. — an ideal window of time for anyone coming down off the mountain to get $2 Coors beer, $5 well drinks, or $6 draft beers and house wines. There's also snacks and apps on the happy hour menu, that, for only $8, come with your choice of beer or wine.

But don't stress too hard about when you get there. Part of their 20th anniversary overhaul boldly declares 'happy hour, every hour'.

"It's an attitude from our staff to our guests," explains Manager Lonnie Leto. "Who are we to tell you when you should be happy?"

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So, no matter what time you walk through those front doors, there's sure to be some kind of bargain waiting for you on the other side. Grab a $5 Bonfire beer all day, every day; or, ask about their daily food and drink specials.

And when it comes to dollars per unit of fulfillment, hungry customers need not worry — the portion sizes at the Boot are notoriously satisfying. Even appetizers, like the Brussels sprouts, come piled high in a succulent mountain covered in fresh goat cheese. Or try a massive tray of mouthwatering chicken and steak nachos, a perfect accompaniment to one of their signature "Boot margaritas."

Pace yourself, though. Entrées like the "Jam Burger" are an experience worth being hungry for. Imagine a perfectly cooked Colorado hormone-free Angus beef burger, spread with a sweet bacon-onion-apple jam, and topped with a smoky-sweet offering of applewood-smoked bacon. It's a wild twist of sweet and savory flavors that lingers on the mind even longer than it lingers on the palate.

"The best burger in the valley," says Leto proudly, as he set the Jam Burger on the table, "One of my favorite things on the menu."

Whether you're a valley local or a visitor, a family or a couple out on a date, the Dusty Boot is one of the best bars in Beaver Creek to après and relax into the evening. But it's also a dining experience that will stick with you long after you've left your cowhide booth.