Chili Willy’s |

Chili Willy’s

Nicole Frey
Vail, CO Colorado

Stroll into Chili Willy’s and pick up a newspaper – the menu, that is. Resplendent with history about the restaurant and Minturn’s rowdy mining past, it might be a minute before you make it to page 2 and feast your eyes on the Tex Mex dishes.

Share the chorizo dip with a few friends to get things started. The hearty mixture of spicy chorizo, refried beans, queso, pico de gallo, sour cream and Monterey Jack cheese won’t help you get into those skinny jeans, but it’s so good you won’t care.

“We’ve been trying some new stuff, like the dip,” said owner Al Brown. “It’s hard to change the old stuff … but change is good.”

Leave the meat

Vegetarians will find lots to feast on at Chili Willy’s. Dig into a plate of creamy spinach and cream cheese enchiladas smothered in a rich poblano pepper white sauce. Or go for the chili rellenos – the fresh green chilies are blistered and peeled, then stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese, deep fried to add crunch to the tender pepper, and then topped with vegetarian green chili.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Margarita magic

While Brown and his staff resoundingly declare their margaritas the best in town, they can’t seem to decide on which one reigns supreme.

“Oh, you’ve got to try the Ultimate,” said waitress Elaine Miller of the Sauza Gold tequila and Grand Marnier marg.

But Brown stepped in insisting the Eagle River margarita – a concoction of Sauza, Grand Marnier, Cointreau and lime, lemon and orange juices – takes the cake.

Chili Willy’s also offers a slew of fruit-flavored blended margaritas, including ones without booze for the little buckaroos.

Cacophony in harmony

With the walls and ceilings exploding with quirky decorations – from the extensive license plate collection to 310-lb blue Marlin above the bar – it’s hard to focus on just one thing.

“There was a guy in the early ’90s who left here with no shoes. They’re hanging up there,” Brown said pointing to the ceiling. “He wanted us to have something of his, and that’s all he had to give.”

Breakout Box:

Hop over to Chili Willy’s for $1.50 chicken or beef tacos from 5 to 6 p.m. every day.

Chili Willy’s

101 Main Street, Minturn



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