333 Bridge St. | 970.470.4174 | almresi-vail.com
by John O’Neill
photos courtesy Almresi Restaurant
|It’s as though Vail’s new Almresi restaurant was plucked from the Black Forest in Germany and set down gently in Seibert circle atop of Bridge Street at what is precisely and popularly known as “the old Tap Room location.”|
Here is the level of authenticity they offer: When a waiter in lederhosen or a waitress in dirndl brings out a dish such as Austria’s famous Hut Essen — a hot iron hat a-sizzle with meat — you’ll have to commit to memory the fact you’re still in the Rocky Mountains and not seated hilltop somewhere in the European Alps.
The Thoma family, who own and operate the restaurant together, is from the Black Forest and has spent months building the space out with such incredible attention to detail.
“We want to bring something cozy and traditional to Vail,” says Alyssa Thoma. “The most important thing is that when the door opens, you are somewhere else. For a few hours you can maybe sit on a Swiss Mountain or in the Alps in Austria.”
The Thomas were very particular in their design: All of the wood was brought from Germany, all the furniture was made in Germany, a large beam stretching across the bar was sourced from an old farm in Austria, cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest hang across from the bar, and other relics from Europe are both on display and refashioned into new uses.
Chefs Alexander Gabler and Daniel Schleehauf will further the experience with dishes along the lines of Holzfällersteak with onion rings and bacon champignons, schweizer rösti and Älpler macaroni to go with their specialties such as the Hutessen and a schlitten fondue chinoise, or type of meat fondue. Even the youngest of the Thomas, who are still in Germany, are busy baking welcome cookies that will be sent over to greet patrons at Almresi in Vail.
“These are the kind of ski huts you would find somewhere in the Alps,” Diana Thoma says. “We want to be very, very traditional. We want people to feel welcomed, and to see how much love we put into everything.”
This is the case with their Glühwein, a hot spicy wine drank around the holidays or for après in the Alps since the 1800s. The Thomas have had it sent over from the holiday markets in Germany to serve and make cocktails with.
“In every single detail we have these traditional things,” says Joshua Thoma. “It is very rustic like it is in the Alps. It is an experience that people coming to Vail will have to have.”
cozy, alpine style
Austrian traditional Hut Essen,
“eat your hat”
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.