Sauce on the Creek is a welcoming, family-style atmosphere with contemporary Italian cuisine…plus some surprises | VailDaily.com

Sauce on the Creek is a welcoming, family-style atmosphere with contemporary Italian cuisine…plus some surprises

Katie Coakley
EAT magazine
Rigatoni with sausage.
Dominique Taylor
If you go ... What: sauce on the creek, warm and welcoming with a modern aesthetic. Where: Traer Creek | 101 Fawcett Road | Avon. Cost: Antipasti, soup and salads $5-$20 (family size); entrées: $11-$32 for single, $19-$38 for family size. Signature dish: Linguini alla Pescatore. More information: 970.949.3291 | sauceonthecreek.com.

Editor’s note: This story first ran as a paid feature in EAT magazine.

Finding a dinner option that makes you feel like family while feeding you like the same (hello, thirds), can be challenging. But at Sauce on the Creek, located at Traer Creek Plaza in Avon, you’ll find a welcoming, family-style atmosphere with contemporary Italian cuisine…plus some surprises.

Situated in an ideal location with views of Beaver Creek Mountain (and plenty of parking), Sauce on the Creek is a bright, cheery space that is both classic and modern: black and white tiles greet you at the entry before accents of corrugated metal draw the eye to the open kitchen; cheery yellow leather booths and chairs provide pops of color throughout the restaurant. Light pours through the windows after an epic ski day while you enjoy a glass of wine with friends or sample the extensive selection of whiskeys and bourbons.

For while the wine list is impressive, the whiskey might be more so. “If it’s not the best, it’s one of the best (whiskey) selections in Eagle county,” says Ross Cohen, General Manager of Sauce on the Creek. “There’s not many places where you can get the variety of high-end, hard-to-get-our-hands-on whiskeys.” From well-known (but rare) options like Pappy Van Winkle to E.H. Taylor or up-and-coming Japanese whiskeys, the list at Sauce on the Creek is impressive. The best part? No need to order a full pour. Sauce on the Creek offers both one-and two-ounce pours. “You have the ability to try something you can’t try anywhere else,” Cohen says. “Pappy (Van Winkle) is not necessarily the best whiskey out there, but it has a lot of allure. You can taste it here at a more affordable price rather than paying for a (full) 2-ounce pour.”

But if the ability to sample high-end whiskey a sip at a time isn’t enough, be sure to take a look at the menu. Yes, there are generous portions in either “single” or “family” sizes for classic Italian dishes like chicken marsala, eggplant parmesan and an expansive pizza menu. But there are also options for those with dietary restrictions; many dishes are available gluten-free, including requesting zucchini ribbons in lieu of traditional pasta or gluten-free pizza crust. Choosing just one thing to try is difficult, which is why sharing is such an appealing option. Pasta dishes range from light and fresh spaghetti Margherita, which can be topped with chicken, shrimp or scallops, to the spicy linguine fra diavolo to the ravioli of the day.

And here’s where the menu gets interesting. In addition to the daily ravioli special, Chef Mike Irwin plays around with new ingredients and flavors that roam afield from classic Italian options in his daily special menu. “The specials list doesn’t just focus on Italian food,” Cohen explains. “Yes, Italian food is the starting point here, but because of Chef Mike’s talent, we can do things outside of the box.” Dishes like a duck with French influence or new takes on fresh red snapper (delivered daily), set Sauce on the Creek apart, allowing Chef Irwin to stretch imagination. The beneficiaries? The guests who return every week or every few days to see “what’s special.“ And perhaps that’s what has solidified Sauce on the Creek in the minds and memories of guests: Classic recipes, lovingly executed by Irwin, along with the opportunity to try something new and interesting (with a supremely tasty cocktail to boot). So no matter if you’re just stopping in for a drink, or want a comforting, (possibly surprising) meal, Sauce on the Creek might be your new favorite go-to in the Vail Valley.