Craftsman in Edwards celebrates 1 year with luau, tap takeover

Chef Chris Schmidt, right, worked with Vail restaurant owner Matt Morgan for years at Sweet Basil before opening Craftsman in August of 2017. Morgan was sad to see him go but decided to help support him in his new venture.
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What: Craftsman luau party celebrating one year in Edwards.

When: Saturday, Aug. 4, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: Edwards Corner.

More inforamtion: Visit or call 970-926-5833.

EDWARDS — What does Thomas Keller’s Per Se, Mountain Standard, Sweet Basil and the Craftsman have in common? Chef Chris Schmidt.

Moving to the Vail Valley five years ago to take the head chef position at Mountain Standard, Schmidt was the mastermind of such favorites including the pimento cheese and the corned pork shank. After a few years, he moved up to the kitchen at Sweet Basil as head chef. Schmidt won the Taste of Vail Lamb Cook-Off twice with creative dishes such as a lamb hot dog and a house cured lamb pastrami sandwich.

In the back of his mind, however, the chef had always dreamed about owning a simple chef-driven sandwich shop.

He shared the dream with the owner of Sweet Basil and Mountain Standard restaurants, Matt Morgan, and gave a six-month notice. Instead of being upset at losing the helm of the Sweet Basil kitchen, Morgan jumped at the chance to be the talented chef’s partner in his new venture.

“Chris is one of the most talented chefs I’ve worked with in my 30 years at Sweet Basil and Mountain Standard,” Morgan said. “He also happens to be a genuinely nice person, so it was a no-brainer to partner with him.”

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With Morgan’s experience and Schmidt’s dream and talent they went to work on the new restaurant. Craftsman opened its doors in Edwards in August 2017.

“I’ve been in fine dining my whole life,” Schmidt said. “But I’ve always wanted to offer fine dining food at an everyday price point, and an every day approachability.”

Schmidt named the beer-centric artisian sandwich shop Craftsman. The name ties back to one of his favorite sayings from his mentor Thomas Keller: “Hard work and dedication to craft will right all wrongs.”

According to Schmidt and Morgan, year two at Craftsman holds a few new experiences, but they’re not ready to divulge the surprises just yet.

“Overall the first year has been a whirlwind of excitement and I think a huge success,” Schmidt said. “Obviously there are lots of growing pains and areas to work on, but we’re listening to our guest feedback and have an accomplished team in place.”

Luau celebration and tap takeover

Celebrating its one-year anniversary, Craftsman is holding a luau on Saturday, Aug. 4, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In addition to its regular summer menu, Schmidt is adding Hawaiian dishes and tap tiki drinks just for the day. Tuna poke bowls and Hawaiian pulled pork sandwiches are just a few of the specialty items.

Frisco-based Outer Ranger Brewing Co. will be taking over all of the beer taps with brews designed to complement the chef’s menu.

Craftsman is located in Edwards Corner. For more information, visit or call 970-926-5833.

“I would love to see more Craftsman around the state,” Schmidt said. “When people think about sandwiches in Colorado, I want Craftsman to be the first thing that they think about.”

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