Go classic at the Westside Cafe
Ten seconds off the exit ramp in West Vail, Westside Cafe is Vail’s iconic ski town breakfast restaurant. For 17 years, comforting American staples have been served in its cozy space. With a walk-up grab-and-go counter as well as seated dining, it’s a local go-to with something for everyone.
Established in 2002, Westside has served around 2 million guests, says owner Mike Dennis. He and partners Ryan and Steve pride themselves on balancing their efforts to stay true to the Westside roots while embracing opportunities to update. They are continually on the lookout for items to feature on the menu as well as aesthetic touches—recently, barn wood from Leadville was integrated into the space’s frames and moldings. Wooden tables and booths make up the main dining area, with one side a bar and the other a market offering quick options with pastries and coffee bar.
The warm, inviting atmosphere welcomes guests to gather, relax and gear up before a day on the slopes. Head-sized cinnamon rolls sit in a case near the entrance and next to the counter where patrons can order to-go sandwiches and burritos, perfect for a quick tasty bite on the way to the lifts. With everything from omelets and huevos rancheros to eggs Benedicts and French toast, there are rich and hearty breakfasts and lighter fare options available on the menu as well.
Speaking of eggs Benedict, they’ve got 10 on the menu. Of course there’s a classic version and a Southwestern version, but other variations include “chicken & waffles” and Caprese. Not to miss, however, is the veggie, which consists of polenta cakes, poached eggs, tomato, avocado, spinach and asparagus, all topped with bearnaise and balsamic syrup.
Lunch & Dinner
Though its breakfasts are what put Westside on the map, the restaurant also serves up lunch and dinner. The menus stick to the American comfort theme, but rather than the typical pub fare—burgers and pizza—they range widely, offering ramen, sandwiches, pasta dishes, and more. At lunch, don’t miss the blackened snapper sandwich, which is served on a brioche bun filled with wild-caught snapper, mango cilantro salsa, citrus crema and apple mango slaw. At dinner, winning choices include the short rib mac-n-cheese, oozing decadence and fulfillment, and the grilled salmon ramen noodle bowl with avocado, edamame and spinach—nourishing and delicious.
It’s a commitment to the classic ski town cafe that keeps people coming back.
“We really do our best to take care of the locals, and then the rest just follows because we’re trying to make sure everyone feels welcome, like they belong here,” said Dennis.