Vail, Colorado, is known for many things: amazing mountain scenery, epic outdoor activities, and endless culinary adventures. And you can undoubtedly find all of that inside Vail Village. But once you venture outside of Vail, you are bound to find some good eats in the form of local hangouts.
These restaurants all along the Vail Valley are worth checking out. Your taste buds will thank you!
Drive west on Interstate 70 out of Vail, and the first town you’ll hit is Minturn, named for Robert Bowne Minturn Jr., the vice president of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad back in the late 1880s. That’s when railroad tracks were first laid in the area. With a population of just about 1,000 people, it’s a small town with historic charm.
Turntable Restaurant pays homage to the town’s history both in its name and decor. A turntable was a mechanism used to turn trains in the correct direction. It was once located in the same place where the restaurant now stands. Inside the building, you’ll see train memorabilia and, if you’re lucky, a model train moving along a raised train track. While learning about the town’s history, you can munch on breakfast classics like monkey bread, French toast, and eggs Benedict. Turntable also serves sandwiches, burgers, and wings for lunch.
Head a few more miles west on Interstate 70, and you will come to Eagle-Vail. It’s not much of a town, and it’s often missed by visitors heading to better-known areas like Avon and Beaver Creek, but Eagle-Vail is worth a pit stop on your journey.
Ti Amo, an Italian restaurant in a strip mall along Highway 6, doesn’t look like much from the outside. But the ambience and decor will make you think you’ve traveled to Italy. The authentic dishes including gnocchi, lobster risotto, and veal scallopini with blue crab coupled with a wine from the extensive wine menu will leave you feeling full and satisfied. But don’t leave without trying dessert; the tiramisu and the cappuccino torte are a must!
Just down the street, the Vail Brewing Company is owned and run by self-described ski bums. A group of beer lovers got together in 2014 to open up a craft brewery for locals and visitors alike. The brewery has close to a dozen rotating taps on draft; a few of them have even won awards. Be sure to check the event calendar before your visit, since you can often enjoy live music and food trucks while sipping your brew.
Keep heading west along either Interstate 70 or Highway 6, and you will come to Avon. Avon is located near Beaver Creek Resort, where there is no shortage of delectable restaurants. But the town of Avon itself is located at the bottom of the mountain and has a few culinary hidden gems.
Northside Kitchen is a down-home eatery by day, and a romantic dinner spot at night. In the morning, this eatery just north of Interstate 70 serves up some of the heartiest breakfasts. Favorites here are the mouthwatering huevos rancheros and homemade biscuits with gravy. Not in the mood for eggs? Try one of their gigantic pastries. The cinnamon rolls are as big as your hand, but you won’t want to share — they are that good! And they have all kinds of flavored donuts, too.
Pro Tip: Swing by Northside Kitchen near the end of the day to land a sweet deal on day-old pastries or donuts to take home for the next morning.
At night, Northside Kitchen transforms into a dinner destination, complete with white tablecloths and candles. The Caesar salad is phenomenal, as are the house specialties: elk Bolognese and filet wrapped in bacon and topped with lobster.
Located in the same building as Northside Kitchen is Pavalici’s Pizza, a local pizza joint serving up all your favorites from pizza and wings to mac and cheese bites and garlic breadsticks. A bonus: They will deliver to most places in the Vail Valley area.
Avon Bakery & Deli is a small shop in a strip mall, sandwiched between a massage place and a fast-food joint. But don’t let the facade fool you — this is a bustling bakery frequented by locals before they hit the slopes of Beaver Creek. The Avon Bakery & Deli specializes in freshly made organic bread, including focaccia, challah, and potato dill, just to name a few. The homemade French toast is not to be missed, and the rather large breakfast burrito will definitely fill you up for a day on the mountain, whether you’re skiing, biking, hiking, or sightseeing.
If you’re looking for a lively patio, head over to Sauce on the Creek. The happy-hour game is on point, with $7 appetizers like fried ravioli (so good!), bruschetta, and Fat Tony homemade meatballs. The house salad is delicious and more than filling. Dinner entrees are served family-style, making it a fun space for larger gatherings. The patio also has lawn games and, oftentimes, live music.
The last town you will find in the Vail Valley is Edwards. This once-sleepy town is seeing a surge in tourism due to its recent revitalization. Unlike areas like Vail and Avon, which consist of second homes and snowbirds, Edwards is mainly inhabited by locals, giving it a vibrant feel all year long. The summer weekend farmers market is a culinary adventure in and of itself. From fruits to vegetables, the freshly-picked crops are delicious. Eat them while you shop, or take them home for a fresh feast.
You’ll find the best bagels in the Vail Valley in Edwards at Village Bagel. A woman from the East Coast started this company out of her home in 2016, and since then, it has grown into a little shop that often sees a line out the door. The bagels are hand-rolled and then boiled before being placed on the shelves. Top your bagel with one of their house-made schmears, like the Nutella swirl or hatch green chile, or opt for an egg-and-cheese bagel sandwich. They’re huge, so come with an appetite!
For a sit-down breakfast experience, head to Hovey & Harrison. A relative newcomer to the Edwards food scene, this bakery and cafe prides itself on working with local, Colorado farms to source its healthy ingredients. The cafe has unique coffee offerings like the Golden Root Ginger Turmeric Latte as well as breakfast favorites like egg sandwiches piled high with avocado. The unique options fold into lunch, with coconut curry and smoked salmon with egg salad. They also serve beer and wine, and there’s a market where you can buy some of the bakery offerings to take home with you. Try the chicken salad, the pre-made gourmet sandwiches, or one of the cheeses.
Etown Kitchen + Bar is your happy-hour spot! It has a large outdoor patio (which is Fido-friendly) and often features live music and other events. The happy-hour menu has a wide variety of food offerings and discounts on house cocktails, wines, and draft beers. Locals flock to this eatery for its lively atmosphere and delicious food, so you will always be in good company. The outdoor area also has a large fire pit, perfect for keeping cozy on those cool mountain nights.
Pro Tip: If you visit during off-peak season, you will often find great deals, like two-for-one entrees or a percentage off your entire bill. The mud season (the weeks between the ski season and the busy summer season) and the shoulder season (the time between the summer season and the ski season) are when you will find these deals. It’s a way for local restaurants to generate business during non-touristy times. But, for you, it’s an excellent time to try out new restaurants without breaking the bank.