The Fitz Bar & Restaurant
Manor Vail Lodge
595 East Vail Valley Drive | Vail
970.476.5000 | manorvail.com
The Fitz, recently revamped to occupy all of the restaurant space at Manor Vail Lodge, delivers tasty, casual affordable cuisine to all who enter.
Nestled a bit off the beaten heated cobblestone track of Vail Village, it seems awfully unfair to skip out on a hot meal or hand-crafted cocktail at this modernized restaurant, in close proximity to Golden Peak, simply because its more than a stone’s throw from the Covered Bridge.
Here, are several reasons why:
• The pork belly starter is brined with a dry rub of brown sugar and salt, braised for six hours, then given
a hard sear, honey glaze and
• They offer free parking on property after 3 p.m.
• The “Boulder Chicken” includes, well, chicken from Boulder that is all natural, sous-vide and cooked at a low temperature in all its own juices. It’s then seared to lock in moisture under a crispy skin.
• The après crowd is loyal and local.
• The donut dessert made by in-house pastry chef Kate Hughes, served with homemade chai ice cream.
“It’s a modern take on simple ingredients,” says Kenneth Butler, executive chef, of the menu, created and altered in many parts by chef de cuisine Gage Smit. “You don’t sit down to a list of ingredients you can’t recognize. You can read and know what you’re getting and then be surprised by the taste and presentation.”
Take the mushroom risotto — a vegetarian dish that mixes trumpet, shiitake, crimini and beech mushroom varieties with risotto, aged sheep gouda, leeks and arugula — as an example. Not one of the ingredients can be misunderstood, yet the taste is extraordinary.
Though a few mains and après favorites such as the Brussels sprouts and their flatbread remain, the menu is constantly revitalized with a keen eye for fresh ingredients and local collaboration: the microgreens come from a greenhouse in Denver, chicken is from Boulder, the steaks and root vegetables come from Colorado.
“I just try and use fresh products and high-end ingredients,” Smit says. “Knowing our chicken isn’t coming from some corner of the United States where who knows what went into it is important. Keeping it fresh, local and simple is quality and quality food is good food.”
This sort of drummed-down, toned-up, localized take to eating is what replaced Lord Gore, the previous restaurant in Manor Vail Lodge.
“The property was build in 1960s as an owners club,” Bob McCleary, the general manager of Manor Vail Lodge, says. “It was ornate with these big legacy chandeliers. It was formal and European.”
Now the restaurant is laid out with a large chalkboard done up by local artist Amy Dose. Large fireplaces set off the main dining room and bar area, and between the two is an exposed gray brick backdrop. The vivacious modern atmosphere in both taste and ambiance feels authentic to a ski experience in the mountains of Vail. •
Modern, lively space
The Boulder Chicken;
The Fitz Burger
An extensive, Colorado-sourced kids menu
Kevin Clair of Sweet Basil received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Restaurant Association
The Colorado Restaurant Association awarded the honors at a ceremony on Oct. 15.