New valley restaurants open their doors
EAGLE COUNTY — Vail Valley diners, grab your forks. It looks like 2015 is the year of the new restaurant.
Since the beginning of the ski season, a number of new restaurants have opened their doors from Vail to Eagle. In Vail, there’s the newest Bridge Street addition, Solantro’s, in the location of the old Tap Room. The restaurant has a back section that welcomes skiers straight off the slopes and the front dining room offers a “Texas twist” on the fine dining experience.
Casual dining seems to reign when it comes to new eats outside the village. In West Vail, Casa Mexico is open adjacent to the Holiday Inn. This classic Mexican food joint has a sister restaurant in Winter Park, featuring standbys such as carne asada, tacos al pastor, fajitas and margaritas. Just a few businesses away, following a food trend that has swept the rest of the country, Nudoru has been open for a few months, serving authentic Japanese ramen in a small boutique setting.
Eastern cuisine further west
Further west in Edwards, several Asian restaurants have opened their doors. East, located on Edwards Village Boulevard, opened in October. Owner Michael Zhang, who also owns a restaurant in Glenwood Springs, says he hopes to differentiate the restaurant from typical Asian places with the high-quality ingredients and fusion style.
You’ll find Chinese classics, as well as east-meets-west creations such as Korean short rib tacos, topped with kim chi and spicy mayo sauce in a spicy shell.
“The space is contemporary and modern, and we have a full bar offering happy hour seven days a week,” Zhang said. “I believe in the quality of the food, and I think people can see that. Since we’ve opened, we’ve had a lot of repeat customers.”
Also in Edwards, located next to Alpine Quest on U.S. Highway 6, Henry’s Pho and Grill opened in late November. Manager Jessa Nyland said that while its sister restaurant, Henry’s Chinese Cafe, across the street is more fast paced and traditional, the new space offers a more leisurely dining experience with a focus on Vietnamese and Korean cuisine.
Meals start with a mini set of Korean appetizers, or banchan, and diners can choose from things such as pho (Vietnamese noodle soup),and Korean spicy seafood soup.
“It’s a cool place,” said Nyland. “It just has a different pace from (Henry’s Chinese Cafe). Even if you don’t order apps, you’ll get little kim chi dishes to munch on. I think people are really liking the style of dining.”
There’s also Dive, the re-invented seafood hub in the space where Dish used to be. The restaurant is under the same owners and chef, but got a remodel and a fresh focus. In Eagle, the popular mid-priced sushi restaurant, Nozawa, opened on Broadway. Nozawa now has three locations in the Vail Valley (Avon and Vail).
The right time
While those are just the newest additions, there are a slew of other restaurants that have opened in the last year, include Boxcar and Pho 20 in Avon, and Tacorico and Delite and Bowl in Edwards.
While new restaurants tend to pop up at the beginning of each winter, this year has brought more than usual. Chris Romer, of the Vail Valley Partnership, said he thinks the increase has to do partly with an improving economy and partly due to the coming of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in February.
“It does seem we have a higher than normal number this year and maybe that can be attributed to an improving economy (access to capital is available now, and was very hard to find from late 2008-2012 or 2013) and available space for restaurants,” said Romer. “I expect the 2015 Alpine World Championships may play a part in some wanting to open sooner rather than wait another season or another year.”
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.
Vail Mountain opens Nov. 15, about a week earlier than normal. But that earlier opening will be out of Vail Village, not Lionshead.