New faces and fare at Broadway Cafe |

New faces and fare at Broadway Cafe

Preston Utley/Vail DailyThe grilled blackberry barbecued pork chop with parmesan potato au gratin and grilled summer vegetables served with a red wine is a popular dish at the Broadway Cafe in Eagle.

EAGLE – For more than 100 years, the Dice Brothers Building has stood on Broadway as an integral part of downtown Eagle. It has alternately served as the town’s post office, butcher shop and a pizza parlor, and was central to citizens’ lives for countless years.Now, proprietor Pete Woodward and the folks at the Broadway Cafe are trying to take the building back to its roots as a favorite spot for locals.”This place has been a gathering place for 100 years,” says Woodward of what is reported to be the oldest building in town. “It’s a huge responsibility.” Woodward’s vision is to have the Broadway Cafe become a gathering place once again, drawing diners to downtown Eagle, by offering great cuisine at affordable prices in a friendly atmosphere. “The Broadway Cafe is for people who don’t want the hype of the big resorts, but crave a small town, neighborhood experience,” explains Woodward, who has served as the dining manager for the Game Creek Club and the general manger of the Beaver Creek Tavern in the past. Locally owned and operated, Woodward says the Broadway Cafe is about “locals serving locals.” A walk under Broadway Cafe’s friendly red awning will not only take you back in time, it will convince you that this is a place where you could easily wile away the hours. The front of the restaurant bears the brick half-walls and molded ceiling, which have decorated the space since not long after it was built in 1904. There are high tables with branch barstools rescued from the Diamond J, tall-backed booths and a generous bar. Everywhere, old photos, circa 1904 through the 1940s, frame the Eagle business district’s bygone days.

The more formal dining room – a warm, serene spot – sports white-covered tables and walls hung with colorful vintage posters and more of the fascinating historical photographs.”We are trying to incorporate old and new stuff,” says Woodward.The new includes all new paint and lighting, and floors redone in gleaming wood panels. The bathrooms have been totally remodeled and, most significantly, the kitchen has been entirely gutted and updated. And a surreal, tranquil courtyard, with tables shaded by umbrellas awaits diners.”It’s such a relaxing retreat for the summer,” assures Broadway Cafe manager Gayle Hendrix.”Our main focus is on food, fun and wine,” explains Woodward. That’s why 30 percent of the profits are going back into the kitchen.

Yet, it is the cuisine and the talented, friendly staff that not only sets the Broadway Cafe apart, but also is bringing customers back in droves. The Broadway Cafe only opened on May 6, but is already turning over nearly 100 diners for lunch, and 110-145 for dinners on some days. Although the atmosphere is small town, there is no reason the cuisine can’t be cosmopolitan, notes Woodward. “The Broadway Cafe’s menu is creative American,” explains Woodward, with a cosmopolitan flair and the preparation of an experienced, respected chef.Experience where it countsChef Jim Millin was the chef at the Montauk Seafood Grill before he joined the Broadway Cafe. He recently moved to Gypsum with his wife, Lil, and daughter, Raina, and had tired of the long commute upvalley. “The Broadway Cafe was the perfect opportunity to stay downvalley, but work in a professional, fun and relaxed atmosphere,” says Millin.

On his team is experienced sous chef Adam Hand, who actually worked with Millin at Montauk Seafood Grill. In his 13 years in the valley, Hand has helped open numerous restaurants, including Chap’s, Grouse Mountain Grill, the Westside Cafe and Saphire.”One of the main reasons I’m here is that I found out that Jim was going to be the chef,” says Hand. “One of the things we like about working right here is that it is a fun little town and we get to serve local clientele.””They are very experienced local chefs. It’s one of the greatest kitchens I’ve ever worked with,” says Hendrix, who herself has worked in the restaurant business during her three years in the valley. Millin and Hand create every item on the Broadway Cafe menu in house, using the freshest ingredients and the highest quality, certified beef. (Even some of the herbs are grown in house, in that tranquil little courtyard.)The Broadway Cafe’s menu is chock full of tempting morsels at competitive prices, from its lunch and dinner menus to appetizers and brunches.You’ll undoubtedly be a Broadway Cafe convert when you try the Thai curry chicken salad wrap, with toasted cashews, wrapped in a flour tortilla; or the shrimp salad wrap, with shrimp salad tossed in creamy dill vinaigrette. Of course, the half-pound, Broadway burger is becoming a downtown classic quickly.

“It’s the best burger money can by,” assures Woodward.For the dinner crowd, you can’t go wrong with the grilled top sirloin, with its bacon-cheddar, twice-baked potato and grilled asparagus with mushroom au jus – a house favorite. The grilled blackberry barbecue pork chop is another popular choice, with grilled summer vegetables and parmesan potato au gratin. Or, opt for the shrimp stuffed cornmeal crusted trout, with sauteed vegetable hash with a horseradish beurre blanc sauce. There are four, tempting salads to choose from, and a hand-selected wine list of fine, country wines at competitive prices. Be sure to top it off with the lemon pound cake, with fresh strawberries and whipped cream – the perfect summer treat.Priced rightBest of all, the upscale cuisine comes at affordable prices that families can appreciate, and the Broadway Cafe offers an extensive children’s menu as well. Dinner entrees are $20 or less, and lunch choices won’t top $10.Lunch and dinner specials change daily. The Broadway Cafe prides itself on its enticing specials. Tuesdays are “Mussel Madness” day, featuring fire-roasted mussels, sauteed in garlic saffron cream for just $6.95 for a pound. Wednesday nights are “Prime Rib Nights,” offering a hefty, 12-oz. cut for just $15.95, which sells out every time. And Fridays, from 3-11 p.m., is “Burger Blitz” time at the Broadway Cafe; all burgers are just $5 and the restaurant is quickly becoming renowned for its certified, angus beef burgers.

The Broadway Cafe also offers happy hour daily from 3-6:30 p.m., with $2 glasses of superb Spanish House wines or $2 margaritas in the courtyard, repeated again from 9:30-11 p.m. Match these with $5 Buffalo Wings or a large portion of chicken or beef nachos for $7.50.And, be sure to check out the Broadway Cafe every Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., for brunch. You can have your choice of brunch staples, like buttermilk pancakes or eggs Benedict; or select from a variety of omelets, including the Broadway Omelete, with ham, mushrooms, onion, tomatoes, peppers and cheddar cheese; or opt for a fruit plate and bagels.”It’s all designed for the locals,” Woodward says. “We want to be the locals’ hangout.” And, if its well-populated interior is any indication, the Broadway Cafe is well on its way to becoming just that.Vail, Colorado

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