Ticino restaurant in Avon | VailDaily.com

Ticino restaurant in Avon

Ruth Moon
Vail CO, Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyBen Klein puts a pizza in the oven at Ticino's in Avon on Saturday.

AVON, Colorado ” If you enjoy the local restaurant Columbine Bakery but are ready to change things up a little, try sprinkling on a few Italian spices and head over to Ticino Restaurant.

Ronda and Daniel Niederhauser, who have owned Columbine Bakery for 20 years, recently opened a new restaurant with Swiss-Italian flair in the Avon Center.

The restaurant gets its name, pronounced “tee-chee-noh,” from an Italian-speaking state in southern Switzerland, Daniel’s home country. The food is a mix of Italian and Swiss, although the pizza- and pasta-heavy menu leans more toward the Italian side.

“The food has a lot of Italian influence in it,” Daniel said. “It’s Italian, I’m Swiss, I would say it’s not traditional Swiss and it’s probably more on the Italian side.”

Salads range in price from $3.95 for the house salad to $8.75 for a chicken Caesar salad.

The house salad is surprisingly filling for the price, with a honey dijon house dressing that is tangy with a hint of sweetness.

The pizza has a thin crust and unique combinations of toppings, great for a lunch-sized meal at a fairly reasonable price. All of the pizzas are made fresh and baked in a stone oven at the eatery.

The seven pizzas on the menu range from the $6.95 Margherita (cheese) to the $9.25 house specialties, the Italian Connection and Gorgonzola. The Italian Connection is a meat pizza with salami and prosciutto toppings mixed with tomatoes, spinach and mozzarella. The gorgonzola is a less meaty option, with a gorgonzola and onion base and fresh spinach topping.

Only one of four pasta options on the menu are currently available, but the owners are planning to offer the others within a month.

The restaurant space is small, with 14 tables inside and six on the patio. The decorations lend a rustic atmosphere, with exposed wood beams on the ceiling and a golden wood floor. A tiny vase holds a carnation and babysbreath on each table.

Tim Simpson, property manager of the Avon Center, has eaten at Ticino several times. All of the pizzas and salads he’s had there were delicious, he said, and he recommends the Ticino salad and the pastries, especially the macaroons.

“Daniel, the chef, seems to really put a lot of heart and soul into what he makes, and it shows in his food,” Simpson said.

Ticino can be difficult to find, tucked away in the old Brass Parrot location in the Avon Center, but has still seen a decent lunch crowd; restaurant manager Amy Logan said the lunch rush usually brings in around 50 people.

Daniel said he decided to create a pizza restaurant in the space when it came up for sale and he realized the kitchen is too small for a full-service restaurant. He flew out to Seattle to look for an oven, and ended up with the same brand used in Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants, a Woodstone oven.

“I had to buy a good quality pizza oven to make good pizza,” he said. “To have a good quality pizza, you need a lot of bottom heat … If you don’t have the proper equipment it’s impossible to make a decent crust.”

Staff Writer Ruth Moon can be reached at rmoon@vaildaily.com.

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