New face to an old place |

New face to an old place

Brooke Bates
NWS Alpenrose SM 6-29-06

VAIL – The Alpenrose Restaurant in Vail reopened Tuesday after more than two years of construction. A patio canopied by umbrellas welcomes guests, and the atmosphere of the revamped indoors transports them to a European eatery.It’s not the changes, but what remains the same that will keep locals coming: the pastries. Straight through the front entrance sits a counter that houses the vast selection of renowned sweets, from strudels to macaroons, tarts to tortes.Although ownership has changed hands to Sharon and David Mou and Bonnie and Dennis Havlik, the head chef position is still filled by Peter Haller. Haller said he’s happy to be back behind the kitchen counter, but as with any renovation, it’s taking time to get used to the changes. Even with the demands of reopening, Haller said he’s never too busy to step outside the kitchen to reacquaint with old friends or welcome new ones.

“People are happy we’re open again,” he said. “It’s new, but it’s old things in a new room, so they still know what to expect.”The menu hasn’t changed much-Haller still fashions dishes with European flair-but the setting has undergone major renovations. New hardwood floors stretch across the new layout, and a shortened pastry counter accommodates more seating. The previously separated upper level is now one open room. The third floor is now part of the apartment that rests atop Alpenrose.With the same name, location and character, it’s still the place for locals to come relax with afternoon tea and pastries, co-owner Sharon Mou said. “People feel comfortable coming here,” Haller said. “They like the atmosphere. It’s warm and cozy.”

Locals are glad to have the Alpenrose back, but the renovations are attracting new visitors as well. Betty Kearley, from the United Kingdom, stopped in with friends on Thursday seeking the shade of patio umbrellas. They soon found a fare that mirrored their European home.”It reminds me of Austria and Switzerland,” Kearley said, praising the restaurant’s design. “It’s just lovely. I would highly recommend it.”

Brooke Bates can be reached at vdeditintern@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado

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