Vail Valley: Italian eatery returns to Edwards |

Vail Valley: Italian eatery returns to Edwards

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY – Zino is back in Colorado’s Vail Valley.

Once a popular hangout in the Edwards Riverwalk, the Italian eatery re-opens Monday in its old location. Zino will take over the former Rick and Kelly’s American Bistro space. Previously, Zino occupied that spot from 1997 to about 2003.

Most of the menu items at Zino are new but don’t worry – the restaurant’s signature mussels remain in tact, restaurant co-owner Kevin Clair said. The bar opens at 5 p.m. Monday, with dinner service starting at 5:30 p.m. This time around, the restaurant strives for a more authentic Italian touch, Clair said. For instance, patrons can look for a cheese the staff will make in house by stuffing mozzarella with ricotta and cream (it’s called burrata). Zino makes its own pastas as well.

“This is as close as it gets to my mom’s cooking, and I’m not kidding,” restaurant co-owner Giuseppe Bosco said.

If anyone can verify Italian food, it’s Bosco. Born and raised in Naples, Italy, he previously served as a general manager at Campo de Fiori in Vail. All three of Zino’s owners are familiar faces on the Vail restaurant scene. Clair also owns Sweet Basil in Vail, while Executive Chef Mike Irwin has been a chef at Sweet Basil, Larkspur and Juniper.

Tucked away in the corner of the Edwards Riverwalk, the location has been a bit of a revolving door over the years. Clair bought the space when it was just an empty lot, thinking the riverside property would be the perfect place for a restaurant. The two-story building now has a big patio and majestic, curving stairway.

“It’s one of the coolest restaurant spaces in the valley,” Clair said.

Zino thrived there but other eateries have been somewhat short-lived. Zino closed around 2003 because its managers had to leave for various personal reasons, Clair said.

He leased the space for a year to the contemporary American restaurant River House. After that, French bistro Frites occupied the location for about three years, and, most recently, Rick and Kelly’s American Bistro leased the space between July 2008 and the end of March.

Clair said he’s been concerned about turnover in the location and that’s one of the reasons he decided to reopen Zino. Zino succeeded there once before, and he hopes it will again.

“It’s a great space and people love Italian food,” Clair said. “It is the most popular ethnic food in the country.”

For the new look, Zino owners painted walls red and yellow, added colorful mosaic lights, brought in walnut tables and installed fire pits outside.

Edwards resident Dean Sellers frequented Zino in the past and he looks forward to the reopening. He liked the mussel madness nights and bocce games out back.

“I go out to eat a lot and they did a good job before,” he said. “The prices were affordable, the drink specials. The different types of food they had were nice.”

Eagle-Vail resident Charles Igla said the location has a great patio and upstairs bar. However, he said the spot is somewhat hidden and potential customers may not know it’s there.

“If he can get enough people to come, I think it’s a great atmosphere,” Igla said.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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