Snowmass Village gets a bumper crop of new restaurants

Skiers and snowboarders congregate outside the building that houses the cafeteria-style High Alpine restaurant and its gourmet counterpart which opens this winter, the Alpin Room.
Lindsy Fortier / Aspen Skiing Co.

For over a year, local restaurateurs, hotel groups and mainstays of the local restaurant world have been planting the seeds for several new restaurants in Snowmass.

Kenichi, the longtime sushi restaurant in downtown Aspen, was set to open a Snowmass store this summer, but a longer-than-expected overhaul has postponed the opening.

Aurum Aspen Snowmass was also set for his debut in the summer of 2021 at the Fanny Hill base, but also encountered construction obstacles.



And Alpin Room, the mountain gourmet brother of the cafeteria-style High Alpine, was set to open when COVID-19 restrictions put a damper on dining inside and the opening was pushed back to this. season.

Delays then create plenty now, with a bumper crop of new restaurants in village centers this winter.



Kenichi Snow Mass

Those familiar with Kenichi in Aspen (or its sister restaurant, Izakaya, in Carbondale) can expect a similar experience of elevated Japanese cuisine – including classic menu items like flambé salmon and serrano-tailed sashimi specialties. yellow – in a new location in Base Village, according to Brent Reed, owner of Kenichi Restaurants.

Chef Justin Lightsey, owner of Kenichi restaurants, who previously worked at Kenichi Kona in Hawaii and Izakaya in Carbondale, leads the Snowmass team.

What guests won’t see is a familiar restaurant setup, as the space has been completely redesigned. Reed partnered with local architect Jason Lasser to develop an “incredible, timeless, and Japanese-influenced” design while maximizing seating. An interpretation of a torii gate – typically used to mark the entrance to shrines in Japan – is part of this design.

“The idea is that the gathering places are sacred and (you) get food and food, and so you sort of go through those doors, and you should feel that you are in a beautiful and comfortable place that you can get food and conversation, ”Reed said.

Kenichi officially opened on December 14.

Aurum Aspen Snowmass

Destination Hospitality, which already operates one restaurant in Breckenridge and three in Steamboat Springs, has been waiting for years for the right time and the right space to open a restaurant in Base Village. He finally got his chance with Aurum Aspen Snowmass, who debuted on December 16.

“Opening a restaurant is never easier,” said Phillips Armstrong, founder of Destination Hospitality Restaurant Group. “You could open 100 restaurants, and restaurant number 101 would still be as painful and stressful as number one. It takes a lot of time, a lot of people and a lot of coordination.

But this coordination materializes in the space formerly occupied by the Village Tasting Room pop-up and, before that, the chophouse State 38. The space will be “unrecognizable” for people who have already dined there; expect an open and friendly atmosphere throughout, Armstrong said.

“We really wanted to start all over again,” he said.

When it comes to cooking, expect plenty of familiar flavors in dishes like Parker House rolls, homemade pasta, and chocolate chip cookies. Also, keep an eye out for shareable items like Bang Island Mussels and Mixed Game Chili.

Alan Whitehouse is the on-site chef, with Brian Duncan as the regional chef overseeing several properties, including other Aurum locations in Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs.

Alpine Room

After four decades of running as Gwyn’s High Alpine, an independent company, Aspen Skiing Co. has taken over restaurant operations at the mountain site with cafeteria-style options at High Alpine. Now it also has more chic deals at Alpin Room, which is slated to open later this month near the top of the Alpine Springs chairlift in the same building that houses High Alpine.

According to Skico Culinary Director Jim Butchart, who collaborated on the concept with Andrew Helsey, executive chef of Skico’s mountain dining division, the dining option is launching this year after a one-year delay due to a pandemic. .

Skiers and snowboarders can feast on hearty and tangy dishes like tartiflette (a potato and cheese dish resembling a fondue), chicken cutlet and garnished sauerkraut (an Alsatian dish of sauerkraut and sausages ), in addition to the vegan offerings.

“That idea – getting into our version of what you’d see if you were skiing in the Alps on a cold snowy day – is kind of what we’re looking for there,” Butchart said.

Last chair

Expect bigger and more substantial offerings off the mountain at Last Chair, a new restaurant inside the renovated Wildwood Hotel near the Snowmass Mall.

The business – along with Stark’s Alpine Grill, located in the Viewline Hotel – is the product of a partnership between Davidson Hospitality, which oversees the Wildwood and Viewline, and Ring on Hook, a hospitality collective that has helped develop the concepts of the two restaurants. Chef Cyndi Crosbie is the Executive Chef of Last Chair and Stark’s Alpine Grill.

The casual restaurant offers dishes like ‘off the shelf’ grilled truffle cheese and crispy chicken sandwiches, as well as other ‘hand and bowl-shaped’ dishes, said Greg Griffie, senior vice president. by Davidson Restaurant Group.

Stark’s Alpine Grill

Davidson Hospitality and Ring on Hook opted for a dinner-club-style experience at Stark’s Alpine Grill, located inside Viewline Resort Snowmass, just off Fanny Hill.

In addition to a fine dinner menu including steak, seafood and more, Stark’s offers a full menu for breakfast and lunch.

“There’s a dramatic twist to dinner, with much more intimate lighting, a change of uniform, and formal dinner service,” Griffie said. “(It provides) affordable but well-executed items for families or special occasion parties.”

Griffie hopes this will be a prime location for locals and visitors; he’s higher than Last Chair, but “pretentious” isn’t a word Griffie would use to describe the experience. The goal is to “really (exploit) the community, as well as the resort guests,” he said.

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