Grill your own steak at Minturn Country Club | VailDaily.com

Grill your own steak at Minturn Country Club

Traci J. Macnamara
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.

Escape the resort crowd this winter and set out for the historic railroad town of Minturn — it's just far enough from Vail to be filled with local flair, and the Minturn Country Club is a restaurant where you'll find a lot of local flavor, too. At this family-owned steakhouse, you'll discover long-standing tradition, quirky wall art and a manager who has some serious skills with magic tricks. Plus, you'll get to experience the thrill of the Minturn Country Club grill.

Walk in the door of Minturn Country Club's cozy, dark-paneled dining room, and you'll hear it straightaway: sizzling steaks, the hissing sounds of skewers or tuna being grilled to your personal standard of perfection. At the Minturn Country Club, diners choose and grill their own meat, which means that the end result is ultimately in your hands. As you stand elbow-to-elbow around other grillmasters huddled over the flame, you'll no doubt meet someone new and pick up some grilling tips in the process. But don't worry: If you're wary of your skills, then waitstaff are standing by to offer expert advice.

Steak is the center attraction here, around which other dinner staples rotate: salad, sides, drinks and desserts. Fill up your plate at a salad bar stocked with favorites and choose from a well-curated wine list, of which bar manager and overall right-hand man TJ Ricci takes pride. "This is one of the only restaurants in the area where your kids can run around like wild, and you can still have a really nice glass of wine," says Ricci.

As the son of Tom Ricci, who owns the restaurant with Joe Honnessy, TJ has grown up in this place and has watched others do the same. "Some of our guests go four generations deep," Ricci says, "and it's always amazing to see them return again and again." TJ's also the man here who always has an ace up his sleeve. A magic enthusiast, he keeps guests entertained with cards and other magic tricks, and on busy nights, it's not rare to have tables waiting for him to appear.

Be sure to save some room for The Minturn Tater, an award-winning dessert that looks like a baked potato but tastes like a bit of heaven. The tater-sized scoop of cookies and cream ice cream in this dessert is rolled into a log and filled with chocolate sauce that oozes from its center. The whole thing is then rolled in cocoa powder and topped with whipped cream, chocolate and sliced almonds.

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A flash of light radiating from the grill, the warmth of the flame, steaks of the highest quality, and the snapping sound of TJ shuffling his cards: All of these things come together at the Minturn Country Club to make it a place where families and friends return to revel in the comfort of tradition, good food and fun.

If you Go …

What: Minturn Country Club, a family-friendly steakhouse with local flair.

Where: 131 Main St., Minturn.

Cost: Appetizers $7-$15; entrees $17-$45.

Signature dish: Bone-in ribeye, U.S.D.A. prime N.Y. strip, filet mignon, yellowfin tuna, and more.

More information: Call 970-827-4114 or visit http://www.minturncountryclub.com.