Chili Willy’s, Minturn, Mexican
Vail CO, Colorado
101 Main St.
The Space Tucked into the colorful town of Minturn, Chili Willy’s fits right in with a wall-to-wall license plate collection interspersed with country-living paraphernalia. Unpretentious, laid back and friendly, it’s an easy place to dive into revelry. Chili Willy’s serves lunch on Saturdays, during the Minturn Market, and dinner every night.
The Tex-Mex menu is big on flavor. The homemade tortilla chips with chorizo-embellished chili con queso are harbingers of what’s to come: jalapeno cornbread, taco salads, fajitas, tamales, chile rellenos and red chili galore ” it’s best to arrive hungry. Some like it hot, and the kitchen is accommodating for those who want to kick it up a notch or three.
Owner Al Brown is usually a beer-drinking man, but in late May he opted for an Eagle River margarita.
“I’ve had one every night since then,” he said. So named because it’s as toxic as the river used to be, it’s a classic with tequila and lime juice, and a very special topper.
The bar opens before the restaurant, so it’s easy to start a meal off with one.
Famous for fajitas, they arrive at the table still sizzling in their own juices. Served with the usual suspects (guacamole, tortillas, salsa, sour cream), they’ve been known to lure people from far away. The shrimp fajita salad is a good summer alternative, crunchy with greens.