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Get your kicks at Route 6

by Wren Wertin
Rout 6 7-11 MK/ MK edit
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Clean up the old, bring in (a wee bit of) new, and voile – it’s the Route 6 Cafe. Formerly the Eagle-Vail Cafe, Route 6 Cafe has brand new owners, a new executive chef and most of the same wait staff. It’s the best of both worlds.

“Of course I kept the staff,” said Steve “Ollie” Holdstock, co-owner with Jack Lacey and James Wallace. “They’re friendly and people know them. It’s a family-style cafe.”

The restaurant still has a blue collar, roadhouse atmosphere, but he and chef Jay Spickelmier took the greasy out of greasy spoon. Pulled pork and chicken and lean buffalo burgers join the traditional sausage and meatloaf. You can get steak and eggs, but instead of a gristly slab of beef it comes with the Gore tender, a shoulder tenderloin.

“The menu is 90 percent the same,” explained Holdstock. “I don’t want to scare people off. I just want to give them more options. This is still the only place in town that’s a true country cafe.”

Like any country cafe, they serve homemade hash – and what a dish it is. It comes with the options of pulled chicken or pork ($6.95), and is sauteed in a truffle-infused olive oil, giving it a depth not usually seen in the the dish. Topped with caramelized onions, cream gravy and a couple of eggs, it’s the sort of dish that sticks to the ribs and the memory. Add in a strawberry-banana yogurt-based smoothie, and it’s a full breakfast.

For those craving a traditional lunch, the pulled pork sandwich ($6.95) is served on a fresh ciabatta roll with a vinegar-based slaw. If you’ve got a saucy personality the green chile is a good bet, served with a tortilla and kick to spare. On the lighter side, the Asian chicken salad ($6.75) has a heavy dose of ginger amongst all the crunch and snap of fresh vegies. The chicken soaks up the dressing.

All of the breads are baked in house, though not by the Route 6 staff. They lease out part of their kitchen to the Grouse Mountain Grill baker, and then help themselves to all the fresh bread and rolls and muffins they can use. And they can use a lot. Even the burgers come on homemade buns. They also sell doughnuts fresh from the oven.

“I’ve been in the restaurant business since I was 14,” said Spickelmier. “I didn’t think I’d stay in it, but I love it.”

He’s proud of his menu, the options for everyone from vegetarians to carnivores. He’s worked in a heap of restaurants; at Route 6 Cafe he finds himself drawing from his early days in a breakfast-only joint.

“We want to cater to the people who work their butts off every day in the valley,” he exclaimed. “Definitely a blue collar feel. The staff here is so important, too. They’re the people who make the place, not just some dish.”

That said, the food is excellent diner fare, and the interior decor is catching up to the theme. A child of the ’50s, Holdstock plans on filling the walls with memorabilia from that era. He’s already placed benches outside, beckoning people to sit in them

“It’s like Mayberry,” he said. “Ten friends in front, talking and laughing. That’s what this place should be like. We’re not fine dining, but we’re a neighborhood place.”

Route 6 is delivering kicks.

Home cooking

Route 6 Cafe

41310 Hwy 6, Eagle-Vail

949-6393

Monday-Saturday, 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., breakfast and lunch

Sunday, 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., brunch

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.


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