Lift to lunch: Blue Moon
The Blue Moon restaurant is the only sit-down on-mountain dining at Vail. Located at the top of the Eaglebahn Gondola, it’s an easy spot for groups with both skiers and non-skiers to meet in and eat. And it’s comfortable, too.
Chock full of old beer memorabilia, Blue Moon used to be more of a bar. Now, it leans toward full-service pub, complete with sandwiches, salads, beers on tap and hearty entrees – but without the smoking. Originally built as a joint effort between Vail Associates and Coors, on the wall hang old metal beer taps and shelves of antique beer cans. (Those in particular keep the staff busy dusting.)
When food arrives at the table, it’s bountiful in portion size. Salads are piled high with ingredients, sandwiches are too big to finish.
“You stop eating because you’re full, not because you’ve cleaned your plate,” joked Eagle’s Nest manager Eric Pottorff. Blue Moon is but one of the places at Eagle’s Nest, which includes Adventure Ridge and the Marketplace.
I whole-heartedly recommend beginning the meal with the white chicken chili ($8.50), which is creamy with the merest hint of kick. Large chunks of simmered tomato and chicken are interspersed throughout the thick soup, which comes with a dollop of sour cream.
“It’s so easy to work in a place where you can really recommend everything on the menu,” said Cathy Scott, restaurant manager. “I’ve worked in a lot of different places, and here it’s easy to serve everything.”
The cobb salad ($9.50) is Blue Moon’s best seller, and Scott’s own personal favorite. We opted for the Greek salad, chock full of feta, tomato, pitted Kalamata olives, peeled cucumbers and sweet red onions, dressed with a tangy lemon-oregano dressing.
The reason to get any of their sandwiches originates with the kettle chips on the side. Thick and crispy, they’re borderline addictive. Hot sandwiches include the simple grilled cheese on sourdough ($7.50), a French dip with au jus ($9.25), chicken on foccacia ($10.50) and more. Cold sandwiches such as turkey, bacon and avocado ($9.50) and cashew chicken salad on a croissant ($9.95) are popular, too.
Dinner time sees entrees from baby back ribs ($14.95) to beef stroganoff made with filet mignon ($16.95).
“We aim for a good, casual feel,” said Scott. “During the day, it’s all hustle and bustle, people wanting to get in and out fast. At night, it’s more of a leisurely feel.”
Sometimes, families ride up to Eagle’s Nest in parties of 10 or 12, and the kids run off to Adventure Ridge as the adults linger over dinner and drinks.
The Blue Moon has entertained such stars as John Cusack, Gloria Estefan and Britney Spears, but to the staff it’s all in a day’s work.
“I like working with people, all people,” said Scott. “We’re always on the go, acting and reacting. It’s very entertaining.”
Blue Moon is open at for lunch at 11 a.m., serves the apres menu through 5 p.m. and offers dinner from 5:30 – 9 p.m. They don’t take reservations.
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.