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Best Restaurant Service

La Tour

Kelly Liken

Terra Bistro

When general manager Ward Mack left La Tour for a warmer climate, regulars were uneasy. What would happen to the genuinely warm and refined service? Who was going to remember their birthdays and anniversaries? How would this work? Luckily, Michael Burbage has stepped in and he’s doing a fine job. “He’s so welcoming and gracious at the door,” said chef-proprietor Paul Ferzacca. Kindness alone doesn’t cut it at a fine-dining establishment, but Burbage and his staff have the chops to back it up. They’re almost overqualified: Seven sommeliers work at La Tour, so chances are good that your server will be able to share some amazing advice about what to drink with your food.

As Rick Colomitz of Kelly Liken puts it, it’s one thing to train your staff in the idea of good service. It’s only when they internalize it and begin acting on their own that you know it’s going to work. “You have to put a lot of trust in them,” he said. “At our restaurant servers don’t have to ask a manager to comp something. They know better than I do what we need to do to push the guests over the edge and wow them with an amazing experience.” Though the waitstaff is well educated and attentive, that “wow” begins with Ben the valet. He’s been known to fill up empty gas tanks while guests dine, and he recently bought a small step ladder to assist people disembarking from SUVs.

For some guests, dining at Terra Bistro is like coming home. They come to Vail year after year, and they eat at the restaurant once, twice, three times in a week. They ask for their same servers, and often they get them. They want something special from Charlie Kimbrough’s wine cellar, and they’ll get that, too. It’s all a well choreographed dance of food, service and ambiance. Nobody is allowed to get uptight at Terra Bistro, because the setting is so upbeat and personable. And everyone leaves well fed.


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