Alps meet the Rockies at Almresi in Vail
Special to the Weekly
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.
This is where the Alps meet the Rockies. Tucked at the top of Bridge Street in Vail Village, this Almresi is reminiscent of a cozy alpine cabin in the heart of Germany’s Black Forest. This is no accident. From the antlers gracefully displaying delicate pink flowers that have come to be the signature of Almresi to the antique stove and array of cuckoo clocks lining the walls, these special touches were lovingly selected by the Thoma family, comprised of a brother and sister duo with a dream to bring the taste and flavors of their homeland to those visiting Vail Valley. Almresi is a touch of romantic charm and European culture blended with the pristine and rustic village that is Vail. Alyssa and Joshua Thoma have teamed together to provide the pure charm that radiates from every angle of Almresi with passion for the European dining experience blending with their love of Vail Valley. “Everything fell together like a mosaic and we found ourselves with a unique opportunity— running a restaurant,” says Joshua. The restaurant’s very name pulls from folklore of a farm maiden who lost her love and found respite and solace in showing hospitality to passers by. The inconsolable Resi decorated antlers with flowers, gaining her the reputation as an outstanding and legendary hostess. When visitors felt spoiled, loved and completely at home somewhere they would say, “It’s just as lovely here as it is at Almresi.”That hospitality radiates from the entire staff: every member carries a warm smile and an equally genuine European accent, with international representation from Germany, Austria,and Switzerland, who welcome and serve each guest as if they were family. Ask,and they just might toast your table and give a hearty “cheers”in their own dialect as you enjoy what Joshua Thoma playfully refers to as“liquid Christmas”— a piney Austrian liquor served in a shot glass that resembles lumberjack boots. Since Germans are known for their love of beer, skiers and boarders can pop off the hill and show their Epic Pass sporting over 20,000 feet, earning a free apres beer. Black Forest Flavors Almresi pulses with German flavors deeply rooted in the traditions of the Black Forest, with carefully selected ingredients and wines found nowhere else imported directly from their hometown in Germany. Start off with apps such as Griebenschmalz or Brotzeitbrett, a tasty treat comprised of slices of prosciutto, bundnerfleisch, landjager, Emmentaler cheese, various farmers’ cheeses, and an oversized pretzel baked in-house. Enjoy traditional fare such as the Schweizer Rosti, a crispy Swiss potato pancake with homemade cheese and smoked salmon, or partake in the more traditional short ribs with red cabbage and spatzle, also known as Schmorbraten. For those on the hungrier side, order up the Original Austrian Hut Essen, or “Eat Your Hat.” This particular entree is an interactive experience that will be sure to draw smiles from the entire crew. Almresi is a dining experience like no other where the portions are hearty and come with cozy charm and European flair. No matter if your choice is spatzle, strudel, or a brew or two … the Thoma family shares a touch of Alpine love and hospitality and invites you to, “Come, relax and enjoy. Eat too much and roll home full and happy.”
It’s a big deal when the governor pops in for a visit, especially if he traveled to the other side of the world to do it.