Hot off the pasta machine at Cafe Milano in Edwards |

Hot off the pasta machine at Cafe Milano in Edwards

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
HL Cafe Milano 1 DT 3-18-09

EDWARDS, Colorado ” As a pasta machine churned out fresh curly-qs of Fusilli inside Cafe Milano, chef Dustin Aipperspach talked homemade food.

“It’s gratifying when people are enjoying what you’re making and it’s not out of a can or a box,” he said.

The chef was making pasta from scratch within full view of the dining room at the newly re-opened Edwards restaurant.

“It’s like watching an artist at work,” mused Edwards resident Russell Molina, who had stopped in for dinner.

Cafe Milano in Edwards re-opened March 7 with new owners and a new philosophy. From meatballs to sausage to marmalade, most everything at the restaurant is homemade.

“I was classically French trained, working with a master French chef,” Aipperspach explained. “I think it’s been instilled in me from the beginning.”

Aipperspach and business partner Mike Cavett bought Cafe Milano late last month. It had been closed for several months. The eatery’s previous owner, Rene-Alberta Joly, opened Cafe Milano in November 2008, but the restaurant shut its doors a few weeks later, Cavett said. Joly could not be reached for comment.

In re-opening the restaurant, the new owners scrapped the old menu. Although they stuck to the Italian theme (Cafe Milano had served pasta and paninis), they introduced a completely new list of dishes under $15.

For rich comfort food, try the Gnocchi Salsiccia: homemade gnocchi (potato dumplings) tossed with Italian sausage, oven-dried tomatoes and cippolini onions ($13).

Cafe Milano’s combined breakfast and lunch menu features pasta dishes, paninis, subs, five vegetarian sandwiches and salads. The restaurant serves breakfast all day on Sundays. Try the apple walnut crisp pancakes ($8) or the stuffed French toast, filled with Mascarpone and homemade marmalade ($8). Dorothee Drouet, who is Cavett’s wife and a pastry chef at Splendido, makes some of the desserts. But once again, family recipes play a role in the dessert case. Aipperspach artfully replicates his Grandma Kosanke’s kuchen, a German coffee cake topped with blueberries and Ricotta.

Although the menu received a facelift under the new owners, the decor remains bright and airy. Sampling a pasta dish, Eagle-Vail resident Eric Price said he likes the rustic touches such as the brick archways. Next month, the owners plan to add a bar to the back dining room. Instead of cafeteria trays, the restaurant now has table service and a deli counter.

Both of the new owners have worked in Vail Valley restaurants for several years. Aipperspach served as a chef for Tramonti and Foxnut in Beaver Creek, along with Sato in Edwards. Cavett cooked for Pazzo’s in Avon and Tramonti in Beaver Creek, and bartended at Toscanini.

“Dustin and I, we’ve worked together at quite a few restaurants here in the valley and we’ve worked together for a long time,” Cavett said. “We’ve always done it for somebody else and we’ve always talked about doing our own thing. When I found out this had become available I called him and let him know on his first day of his honeymoon down in Cabo. ‘Sorry to interrupt your honeymoon, but we’ve got a neat opportunity in front of us.'”

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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