Smiling Moose Rocky Mountain Deli has fresh look, more flavor | VailDaily.com

Smiling Moose Rocky Mountain Deli has fresh look, more flavor

Kim Fuller
Special to the Daily

Since the spring of 2003, Edwards locals and visitors have had the pleasure of stopping at Smiling Moose Rocky Mountain Deli for The Original Mo! — it's the "irresistibly messy" flagship sandwich of the establishment, and it always comes with a fork.

Grab one to-go or stop in and stay awhile, because this original Smiling Moose location has just refreshed the space with an impressive remodel.

"As we're coming up on our 15-year anniversary, we thought this was a great time to come in and do this remodel," said John Brown, vice president of business development for Smiling Moose. "So it's a new look and feel that we'd like to start as a prototype to what we're looking to do for remodels in some of our existing locations."

Smiling Moose currently has 15 locations across seven states. Brown said the Edwards establishment and its customers have always provided a blueprint for the growing brand, and the remodel as well as an expanded menu are likely to help formulate and evolved look, feel and flavor at every location.

"We are really excited about the new direction for Smiling Moose, and couldn't be happier to unveil our new interior concept at our original location in Edwards," said brand manager Chris Lynne. "The Edwards community has been incredibly supportive since we opened our doors in 2003 and we wanted to make sure that this restaurant was the first to receive the new finishes."

'Rustic roots'

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Lynne and his design team provided the primary vision for the remodel. They blended the use of modern, urban metals with rustic, reclaimed wood and bright color pops to give the interior space of the deli a mountain modern vibe.

"We really wanted to tie into rustic roots," Lynne said. "To bring in mountain roots of Smiling Moose with those reclaimed woods, and to allow some of our colors — like our bright yellows — to stand out and be a beacon to the Edwards community."

A variety of textures in the space make it more dynamic, with a new copper metal wall to bring in warmth, paired with the existing wall of windows that allows great natural light into the space.

As a new generation of diners starts to enjoy meals at Smiling Moose, the Edwards location has put in a community table to stay relevant with the modern dining style of having meals with groups of friends and even strangers.

"We needed something that keeps to the same look of the Moose, but also gives us that warm, more community feeling for the new consumers who are coming in, as well as longtime consumers," Brown said.

Mo! and more

Smiling Moose's Original Mo! piles sizzling grilled meat and cheese on a fresh baked baguette and toasted in an oven to meld the flavors, then topped with crisp lettuce, tomato, red onions and banana peppers, all finished with a tangy vinaigrette and seasoning. It's a guest favorite, and the Smiling Moose in Edwards now serves up an extension of those classic flavors.

"We've expanded the Mo! line from the original four sandwiches to seven," Brown said. "Since it's a core component of the brand, we decided to expand it and let consumers have more flavors that they really enjoy."

Visitors can try the Southwest Mo!, which features chopped sirloin and American cheese, avocado, chipotle mayo, as well as chopped romaine, housemade salsa fresca and sweet candied jalapenos. There's also the Steakhouse Mo! and the Mo! Mac Skillet, among a few other mouthwatering renditions.

Smiling Moose in Edwards is also expanding its menu to include waffle-style fries, as well as skillet pancakes on the breakfast menu.

It's fast casual, yes, but many of the elements of the space's new look and feel invite guests to sit down and stay awhile. Anyone in a hurry doesn't have to linger, however.

"As much as we want people to come in and enjoy our facilities, our ticket times are built around people wanting to get in and out as fast as possible," Brown said. "Everything is made fresh, so we don't have a grab-and-go section, but we revamped our kitchen so that people can still get in and out quickly if they need to, and they also have the chance to come in and really enjoy a longer experience."