Avon’s tasty triumvirate: Northside Kitchen, Southside Benderz and Fattoria all bring flavor and fun to the local food scene | VailDaily.com

Avon’s tasty triumvirate: Northside Kitchen, Southside Benderz and Fattoria all bring flavor and fun to the local food scene

Brenda Himelfarb
Special to the Daily
Fattoria's Cacciucco: mussels, shrimp, octopus, snapper and clams cooked in a tomato wine broth with crab-bread dumplings.
Dominique Taylor Photography/taylordmedia@icloud.com

You might say that Jim Pavelich and Noah Bender are cooking with gas — at all of their restaurants.

Hailing from New Hampshire, Bender, a graduate of Johnson and Wales Culinary school, left a job in Vail to help Pavelich open Northside Kitchen in 2011. Eventually, the two became partners and have, literally, taken their show on the road, opening other eateries from Edwards to West Vail. In Avon, the heart of the operation includes Northside Kitchen Grab n’ Go, Northside Benderz, Southside Benderz and Fattoria.

The porterhouse steak includes tender roasted veggies, garlic mashed potatoes and a demi sauce.
Dominique Taylor Photography/taylordmedia@icloud.com

Northside Kitchen

You might say that Northside Kitchen is the granddaddy of the group and has honed its craft to bring you great food from morning ‘til night. The place has a big city vibe. Its atmosphere says “happening,” especially at night. The waitstaff dons black and white attire, topping their uniform off with a bow tie. The well-stocked bar is filled with casual drinkers and savvy connoisseurs. It’s busy. It’s lively. It’s where you want to be.

“You get the same hospitality no matter which of our restaurants you visit, whether you’re eating a burger or a lobster.” Chef Noah Bender

As well, Northside offers some of the best baked goods around and is known for an array of donuts so popular that they might be sold out of your favorite by noon. Breakfast includes the classic egg dishes — scrambled, Benedicts, etc. But then there’s the gardener’s porridge with oats and grits, served with sweet potato mash, granola, blueberries and dried cherries, which was recently added along with Tutti Fruity, a platter of fresh fruit and yogurt and strawberry sauce, served with hot fruit bread. Lunch brings burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads as well as a kid’s menu along with an array of tempting desserts, from their donuts to pies to “in-season” goodies.

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As for dinner, Northside runs the gamut beginning with an appetizer such as prime cut eggrolls stuffed with filet, prime rib, corn, beans and served with Thai chili and ranch dressings. Different and delicious. Want pasta? Try Jim’s pesto gnocchi with grilled chicken, spinach, cherry tomatoes and served with creamy pesto. Other tempting entrees include prime rib, filet mignon, shrimp and lobster dishes and the pièce de resistance — Lobster Colorado with Angus beef tenderloin, bacon, chunks of Maine lobster and tiger shrimp.

And the restaurant serves 50 wines by the glass and has an extensive list of over 200 bottles for sale and, in fact, has received an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. And its superb hand-crafted cocktails and beer menu include specialty-named cocktails such as Noah’s Rye Manhattan, Northwoods Rum Runner and Liquid Luck Lemonade, to name just a few.

 “Our goal is to impress you the first time you come in,” Bender said. “We have so many options that you can eat with us almost every day and order something different. You get the same hospitality no matter which of our restaurants you visit, whether you’re eating a burger or a lobster.”

Never-frozen Angus burgers are hand-patted, and cooked medium. Served on a signature bun with 2,000 Island dressing and veggies.
Barry Eckhaus Photography

Southside Benderz
However, if it’s a burger and more that you crave, then Southside Benderz is the place to go. Be it a single, double or triple burger — with or without cheese — or the Impossible or a black bean burger, your wish is the cook’s command. It’s a favorite place for anyone who craves casual dining, great food and some fun creations you won’t find elsewhere, such as green chile tots, a cajun tuna sandwich or a gyro (Lamby Sammy) to name a few. Add a milkshake for the kids and “cocktailz,” tequila, wine or “sudz” for adults, and you get some delicious casual dining. And don’t forget to get a “Sweetz” for dessert. Try a piece of chocolate or carrot cake.

“Our goal is to offer quality, value and a good time in a world-class ski resort,” says Pavelich. “We keep it simple.”

Southside’s bar is often packed, and certainly well stocked. Families, spring breakers and locals all fit in.

The bar at Southside Benderz.
Barry Eckhaus Photography

However, if you want to savor an amazing Italian-style dinner, do not stop at Go, do not collect $200: Head over to Fattoria in Avon’s “boat building” for a memorable experience — and a favorite of Pavelich’s, who could eat pasta at almost every meal. This restaurant does not disappoint. Just reading the menu whets your appetite. Like its sister restaurant, Northside, it, too, has a lively vibe. It’s bustling. Sophisticated. And, like its atmosphere, has an exciting menu.

 You might begin with polenta al funghi, crispy polenta cakes, smothered in creamy mushroom ragu and sage sauce, topped with tomatoes and mushrooms. Or perhaps the Mezzo Cozze, mussels sauteed in white wine broth with Italian sausage, cherry tomatoes and shaved fennel. A favorite dish of Chef Bender is tortellini di coniglio, his take on a dish that he and his wife discovered while traveling in Italy. Think shredded braised rabbit and pecorino cheese in homemade tortellini, smothered with a creamy sauce.

Fattoria’s Tutti: three each of dried Italian meats and cheeses served with accoutrements galore.
Dominique Taylor Photography/taylordmedia@icloud.com

Other menu highlights include bone-in vitello saltimbocca, a lightly pounded Colorado veal chop, grilled and layered with prosciutto, fontina cheese, sage-wine sauce, polenta and rapini. And for the vegetarian, risotto alla Zafferano, a rich saffron risotto with onions, leeks, carrots, snap peas, beets and cherry tomatoes. Each dish at Fattoria is one that will make you want more. Make you want to return again and again to try each creation.

“Fattoria serves a lot of things my wife and I ate in Italy,” Bender said. “However, the rabbit tortellini is my favorite dish. You learn different things here and there and I really wanted to introduce this dish in Fattoria. And we’ve gotten great feedback.”

Fattoria is open for breakfast (served from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) where one can splurge on crepes filled with lemon, banana or prosciutto cheese and arugula or perhaps eggs Benedict with filet or tomato and mozzarella. The lunch menu includes pasta and an array of salads. (And forget the diet, order a crepe for dessert.)

“We try to cater to everybody,” Bender said. “I like the fact that we can do various things. The hardest part about being a chef is to do the same thing every day. I have five to six chefs to create dishes. We want to impress you.

“We look forward to seeing you again and again.”

If you go…

Northside Kitchen
20 Nottingham Rd
Avon, CO

Southside Benderz
182 Avon Rd #208
Avon, CO

48 E Beaver Creek Blvd
Avon, CO

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