Vail’s legendary après ski spot

Garfinkel’s in Lionshead offers a family-friendly menu

Kimberly Nicoletti
EAT Magazine



Vegan Bolognese with Impossible Burger and roasted tomatoes.
Kristin Anderson / Special to the Daily

Located right across from the Eagle Bahn Gondola at Lionshead, Garfinkel’s is a legendary cornerstone of the après ski scene in Vail. It’s also a family-friendly place to grab burgers, sandwiches, salads and finger food, in addition to upscale dinner selections, so bring your appetite.

While locals still love the large-portion nachos, chicken fingers, burgers and French dip, Garfinkel’s prides itself on its affordable fine dining cuisine — and overall great food and drink prices. Hand-cut ribeye and prime rib, served in generous 14-ounce portions with fresh sauteed vegetables and choice of fries, baked potato or mashed potatoes, are both under $33. The roasted chicken and Atlantic salmon come in under $25. Pasta dishes include a tasty chicken parm with extra provolone cheese, a creamy alfredo or cheese tortellini in a citrus marinara and parmesan cheese with options to add chicken or salmon. Vegans particularly appreciate the vegan Bolognese, made with Impossible Burger, roasted tomatoes, garlic, basil, tomato sauces and Tuscan breadcrumbs.

Grilled salmon and lemon with asparagus and a mixed salad at Garfinkel’s in Lionshead.
Kristin Anderson / Special to the Daily

Starters like quesadillas, lettuce wraps, chips and salsa, burrata cheese and edamame sauteed in Pacific Rim sauce hit the spot, while the chicken wing sauces add a zing, whether it’s the house dressing, buffalo, jerk dry rub, barbecue, Thai peanut, Thai chili or strawberry habanero. All of the burgers — beef, veggie or chicken — include one complimentary topping, as well as mashed potatoes and fries or chips; gluten-free buns are available too.

Freshly made soups and salads, from the Caesar or buffalo chicken to the Southwest chicken salad or wedge salad, offer a light and healthy option. And, Garf’s caters to kids with a special menu.

Garf’s first gained traction as a ski bar nearly three decades ago, and it’s still a hot-spot hangout. Photos of patrons, athletes and local events line the walls. Along with a ski and snowboard collection that spans the decades, Garf’s highlights all the good times locals and visitors have had there.

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“It gives you a traditional feeling,” said Mike Dunlap, Garfinkel’s general manager. “Being a 28-year-old ski bar, we haven’t changed the atmosphere. Because Vail’s gone through so much change, it’s refreshing to keep the old memories. It’s a casual, comfortable restaurant and bar.”

Its slope-side location, fresh meals and apps and extensive drink menu have all resulted in Garf’s earning the Vail Daily Reader’s Choice Poll for best deck, best après and best sports bar.

It’s a great, and more affordable, option to eating on the mountain during a ski day, especially during sunny days on the deck. And, you can’t beat après, with Garf’s variety of wine, beer and spirits. The bar offers a dozen specialty cocktails, including the Garf’s Bloody (with Breckenridge chili vodka), the Patio Punch crafted with Deep Eddy lemon vodka, ginger beer and blackberry, or the spicy mule. Hot drinks warm the afternoon with hot spiced red wine, toddies and spiked hot chocolates, Irish coffee and hot apple pie. Oh, and speaking of sweet notes, check out Hayley’s fudge brownie sundae, Lynsey’s lava cake or the New York cheesecake. They’re all sure to please.

If you go…


536 East Lionshead Circle, across from Eagle Bahn Gondola

(970) 476-3789

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