Food and brews on Garfinkel’s classic deck | VailDaily.com

Food and brews on Garfinkel’s classic deck

Heather Hower
EAT Magazine

Finally! A family-friendly place where kids can play, have a favorite meal and the adults can zone out, relax and have their own slice of heaven. In all fairness, this is not a new place; it’s Garfinkel’s. You know, the place that was rowdy with après revelers 20 years ago. Now it’s firmly a family-friendly place with expanded menu but the same tasty cocktails, usual faves and that expansive deck overlooking Lionshead that simply beckons.

Garfinkel’s, or Garf’s as it’s known in these here parts, is a hot bed of action but especially comes to life once the sun comes out, the flowers explode with color and the mountain blooms with possibility. While the top sellers and favorites will always be the somewhat usual: nachos, chicken fingers, wings, burgers and French dips; there is nothing usual about them at Garf’s. The food is handmade, not bought frozen, and the portions are more than generous. Arrive with an appetite.

The crew at Garf’s, though, made a vow years ago and they dare to be different. Alongside hamburgers and chicken wings are new options to tempt any taste bud. The poke bowl with chilled rice, seaweed salad, Sriracha mayo for spice, wonton crumble for crunch, avocado and house-made kimchi pairs perfectly with, say, an Aperol spritz. How about a cucumber sandwich? Feel free to eat it without even raising your pinkies.

Unlike other area restaurants, Garfinkel’s prides itself on good food at good prices. Check out the steak (hand-cut) dinner that comes in under 25 dollars. Instead of running specials, they offer solid prices every day of the week.

Garfinkel’s has also added to its gluten-free offerings. Start with a happy ending — the key lime pie, a bit of Key West right in sunny Vail, is to die for. Speaking of the deck… it’s nearly impossible to sit under the blaze of the Colorado blue sky and not want to sip something delicious. Sure, Garf’s has a slew of craft beers as well as the lighter options. But step outside of your comfort zone and give something new a try. The Patio Punch is aptly named as it feels like everyone on the deck is enjoying one. Its few ingredients (Deep Eddy lemon vodka, ginger beer and a touch of black raspberry liquor) come together to quench a thirst and pack a punch. Warning: its deliciousness goes down easily.

One of the beautiful aspects of Garf’s deck is the conviviality it creates. This isn’t a time to be austere and sour-faced (and it would be hard to be so when there’s so much activity to watch and the joy is almost palpably floating through the air). Remember sunscreen because it’s easy to set foot on the deck for “just an hour” and suddenly most of the afternoon has passed you by and the sun is setting. One thing’s for sure — you’ll leave satiated and content.