Lunch on the run: Where to fuel up fast in the Vail Valley |

Lunch on the run: Where to fuel up fast in the Vail Valley

Katie Coakley
Special to the Daily
The Cuban from Northside to Go in Vail consists of grilled ham, pickles and yellow mustard on a ciabatta bun.
Chris Dillmann | |

Even speedier lunches

Don’t have even 15 minutes to spare? Don’t worry: There are options. To maximize your mealtime, try these tips and tricks for even faster food.

• Order ahead. It takes a bit more planning, but if you really want to cut down on the wait time, order your lunch ahead. Some restaurants let you phone in an order and others, such as Smiling Moose in Edwards or the Avon Bakery & Deli in Avon, even have apps that let you place your order online.

• Look for grab-and-go options. While many restaurants are made-to-order, others offer grab-and-go options that can minimize your break time. Northside Grab & Go in West Vail lets you do just that, and Loaded Joe’s in Vail has ready-to-eat options such as a hot pocket in addition to sandwiches and burritos.

• Speed through the supermarket. Don’t forget your local market for lunch. Safeway and City Market both have made-to-order deli sandwiches, as well as a case of prepared entrees, plus sushi if you’re in the mood. Village Market in Edwards has a case full of freshly made sandwiches and entrees ready to go, along with a do-it-yourself salad bar.

It’s that time again: Your stomach is rumbling and the hangry sensation is approaching. What to do? Lunch breaks are too short for multi-hour experiences and there’s always the wallet to consider. In a valley that’s known for high-end, it may seem that fast and affordable is too much to ask.

However, there are options for quality, tasty lunches that are respectful of your time. We talked to folks from an Avon business that believes “every shift deserves a square meal” and conducted a completely unscientific, informal Facebook poll to find some of the best places for lunch in the valley.

So saunter up to these counters or grab a table: These places will get you full and happy, fast.


Finding lunch without resort pricing can be difficult in the valley, but in Vail it can be almost impossible. Higher rents mean higher prices, but don’t let that discourage you. There are still options for great food in a timely manner.

The Blu Cow on Bridge Street serves up authentic Swiss hot dogs for lunch and late into the night. Its neighbor, Big Bear Bistro, is another popular option from the Facebook contingency: Their sandwiches are nothing to scoff at and if you’re truly in a hurry, then call ahead to pick up at the Hanson Ranch turnoff; they’ll even deliver in Vail Village or to the Gondola One base. In Lionshead Village, Les Delices de France (the French Deli) is tasty and offers options for those on the go.

Across the highway, Yellowbelly’s natural chicken is popular with the takeout crowd. The family meals, which serve either four or six adults, are a good option if you’re feeding an office or a group of folks just off the mountain. Westside Cafe is sit-down, but the portions are large and the service is fast.

Minturn and Eagle-Vail

Minturn may be small, but there are options here, too. Kirby Cosmo’s BBQ serves up seriously satisfying portions of barbecue, along with salads, sandwiches and pizza. Also suggested was Gardunos Mexican on Main Street in Minturn for its super fast service and tasty, authentic food.

In Eagle-Vail, Route 6 is known for its breakfast, but starts serving lunch at 11 a.m. If you’re running behind on lunch, then check out the happy hour starting at 3 p.m.; you’ll find $8 cheeseburgers and other special food options.


For good food, fast, Avon is chock full of options. Loaded Joe’s recently launched its Shift Meal: a daily $8 lunch option that is sure to satisfy.

“The motivation for the whole program is giving people something that’s affordable in a valley that’s not affordable,” said Alex Looby, assistant general manager at Loaded Joe’s. “Kent (Beidel, the owner) created the idea, and all of us have added our input. … The idea is that you can get a great, down-home, home-cooked meal for $8, which is less than you’d spend at Burger King if you get a full meal.”

Monday through Friday options remain constant, such as Monday’s turkey loaf or Friday’s chicken fettuccine alfredo. Weekend options are up to the chef and are constantly changing.

Loaded Joe’s comfort food is not the only option in Avon. Long-time favorite “you have to know about it to find it” Taqueria No Se Hagan Bolas has been serving authentic Mexican fare, plus burgers and fries, for years. The space is small and can get packed, but the service is speedy. Avon Bakery & Deli is another popular spot for lunch, with soup, salads and made-to-order sandwiches.

All you can eat lunch buffets are not the norm in town, but Gondola Pizza is an option for pizza fans. Facebook user Gina Derke-Alsip said, “Gondola Pizza — the buffet is good, quick, and the service is fast and wonderful.” The lunch buffet is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes all you can eat pizza, salad, soup and a drink.


Heading west, Edwards has plenty of options for good food, fast, especially on the burger and sandwich front. Local-turned-chain Larkburger offers gourmet burgers and salads, along with shakes and try-to-eat-just-one truffle fries. Another chain, Smiling Moose, has hot and cold sandwiches, soups and made-to-order salads. Belmont Deli also popped up as a favorite from the Facebook crowd. Monica Mattingly wrote that it has the “best BLT I’ve ever had,” which was seconded by Brooke Abercrombie.

In The Riverwalk at Edwards, The Bookworm of Edwards is a solid choice for literary-themed sweet and savory crepes and salads. The lunch hour can get crowded, but calling ahead for takeout is always an option. Delight & Bowl does a brisk takeout business in addition to its seated option; the lunch combo is sizeable and right now, you can receive 15 percent off of to-go orders, according to the restaurant’s website.


Downvalley, restaurants in Eagle are making sure folks are full from lunch. Expert Burger delivers craft burgers fast: “really different ideas for burgers and they’re all great,” wrote Jeanette Maw McMurtry on Facebook. The portions are sizable and it can be difficult to decide between onion rings or fries.

Moe’s Original Bar B Que in Eagle offers the same authentic barbecue and sides as its sister location in Vail, but the parking situation is a bit better. “Moe’s is great for taking kids,” wrote Ashley Russell on Facebook.

Red Canyon Cafe serves up soups, salads, sandwiches and panini and is also a popular call-ahead and take-away option when time is of the essence. Stout House Coffee & Kitchen does a brisk lunch business, with wraps, burritos and street tacos, and Misty Clark also reminded people about the Costco Food Court, a decidedly quick and wallet-friendly option.

From pizza to panini, sandwiches to soup, there are plenty of places for a quick, hearty lunch in the Vail Valley, whether you choose to eat in or eat on the go. So try out some of these recommended spots or find your new favorite haunt: You’re sure to leave satisfied.

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