The Gashouse in Edwards celebrates 35 years in Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

The Gashouse in Edwards celebrates 35 years in Vail Valley

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.

The Gashouse is what you expect from a restaurant in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

With hearty meals and a friendly staff in a setting that takes you back to grandpa's hunting lodge, the Gashouse is celebrating 35 years under the leadership of Connie Irons.

What started as a small gas station and shop before Vail was officially a town has transformed over the years — the station owner's bedroom is now a welcoming dining room for a restaurant that offers more wild game than anywhere else in the valley.

What hasn't changed over the years is the staff. Along with Irons, much of the staff at the Gashouse has been serving returning guests and new diners winter after winter. Notice the old ski passes glued to the tables and the bar — many of them are a blast from the past for locals who grew up in the area and can look back and reminisce about seasons past.

And all of the animal heads mounted to the walls — Irons didn't shoot any of them, but each has a story to tell. The stuffed lion came from The Red Lion in Vail years ago when it underwent a renovation. A former Broncos offensive lineman donated one of his trophy heads to the Gashouse. New this year is a wreath made of shotgun shells — another gift to Irons.

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The stories in the Gashouse go on and on. There's a framed Rolling Stone magazine featuring Sugar Ray, with the photos for the spread shot inside the restaurant.

And with the likes of NFL quarterbacks, NASCAR drivers and professional skiers coming through the doors of The Gashouse, it's easy

to see why athletes like refueling at the restaurant.

The menu boasts steaks, seafood and wild game.

For the hungry and adventurous, there's buffalo, elk, venison, duck, quail, and an elk rack that falls off the bone. The chefs use 7x beef and hand-pack all of the burgers. The short ribs are braised and slow cooked for six hours.

Growing up in Maryland, Irons knows seafood — many of the recipes feature her grandmother's touch. Seafood arrives fresh from all over — the East Coast, West Coast, Alaska, Gulf of Mexico — and is displayed on the blackboard, as it's ever changing.

To wash it all down, there's an expansive wine list with varied price points as well as beer on tap.

The Gashouse is a triumphant story of what can happen when someone comes to the valley "for one winter," as Irons did.

"It's fun," she says. "I have a great crew. My team is just amazing and I couldn't do what I do without them."

Good food, good prices and good people — exactly what you expect from a restaurant in the Vail Valley.