Where do the Locals Like to Dine in Aspen?

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Wade at Media Preview of new restaurant

We are constantly receiving a barrage of requests to find out what our favorite spots are to go to for; bar menus, burgers, dining and dancing, local hot spots, patios, soup, living room settings, club settings, and just about everything else under the sun. We also have our local concierges putting in their requests on what we should write about for their guests, so stay tuned as we load up on interesting facts and information to help you to decide, but for now … let’s start here.

Breakfast/Lunch

Shlomo’s Deli & Grill

Shlomo’s Deli & Grill is not just any deli & grill, it’s a local’s favorite where authentic Mediterranean food is served and tables tend to join together in conversation. A place where the food is so comforting and delicious that one may find themselves staying for a while, especially if Shlomo visits the table, and then whatever happens next starts at Shlomo’s and stays at Shlomo’s, unless someone happens to capture and share that photo of you busting a move with an opened champagne bottle on top of the outside bar.

Shlomo’s had a deli in the late 80’s on the other side of the gondola from where he is now. It is a place of legend…the kind of local crowd that makes Aspen so special.  It feels like a bar mitzvah, everyone I know in one place. Actually, it is like Shlomo’s bar mitzvah, because he works the room with ease, a beaming smile on his face as he greets his friends, old and new.

Aspen Local, Tami Solondz

Shlomo’s Hours and Information

Open daily from 9am until dark, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Weekend Party Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays with bottomless mimosas. Located at the base of Aspen Mountain (adjacent to the gondola) 501 East Dean Street
Unit C-1 in Aspen. (970) 315-4055

Local Coffee House

Since we are all about connecting, go to Local Coffee House to meet Owner Michaela Carpenter and linger over a Lattè and Forbidden Black Rice Porridge while reading the Aspen Times, or shop their goods created by talented artists.

Open daily 7am – 4pm, some of our other favorite menu items include the Farm Boy Breakfast and the avocado toast with smoked salmon. Lunch begins at noon. Try their Milkadamia nut or on draft Lattès.

SO Cafè

SO is located in the Andrea and James Gordon Café at the very top of the  Shigeru Ban–designed facility. Jump in the elevator encased in glass. As you ascend the building the cool factor increases, as do the views of Aspen Mountain and Independence Pass, which will make you feel as though you have discovered one of Aspen’s best “city” secrets. And you have. A local’s favorite for meetings and conversations with Mary as the GM at the helm, graciously greeting everyone with a big smile and offering solicited information about town and all the local treasures.

SO Cafè has a limited but always fantastic menu that rotates weekly  with local ingredients prepared by AAM culinary partners Julia and Allen Domingos—a duo well known for their dedication to quality, creativity, and service. SO is named after a type of free-flowing Japanese brushstroke as well as, of course, an English expression of quantification and excitement. Most importantly, they offer Colorado Craft Beers AND one of the cheapest wine glasses in town at $11 a glass. Get your lunch on and explore the exhibitions and museum store. Lunch is served 11:20am – 2:30pm.

** Be sure to check out the wide range of themes for the film screenings at the AAM Wednesdays at 8pm revealing important perspectives of filmmakers and artists of our time. Movies at the Museum is presented in collaboration with Aspen Film free of charge.

Spring Cafè

Spring Cafè Founder Sabrina Rudin opened her plant–based, organic restaurant in 2013, Aspen’s first 100% organic eatery and juice bar. The restaurant offers inventive and nurturing plant based cuisine using organic, wholesome and naturally delicious ingredients. 

OPEN DAILY Monday – Friday 7am-5pm, Saturday & Sunday
8AM-5PM. 119 S. Spring St. in Aspen. 970-429-8406

Quick Eats

Jour de Fête

Owned by Aspen local Olivier Mottier, Jour de Fête is located a block away from the gondola and has been around since 1988.

With a menu derived from an El Salvadorian chef and French owner, Jour de Fête is “mother’s kitchen away from home.” 

Olivier’s children and wife often can be found helping behind the counter, the sweetest family you’ll ever meet.

Be sure to ask for one of Olivia’s delicious Lavazza coffee.

520 Grill

Located near the gondola on 520 Cooper Street, Owner Troy Selby’s restaurant 520 Grill is well loved in the community, and not just for his healthy, high-quality eats. 520 Grill has a casual family atmosphere with affordable homemade fare using premium regional ingredients and delicious handcrafted burgers. Menu items also include; hot dogs, grilled sandwiches, traditional tacos, savory soups, a selection of salads, fresh-cut fries in regular or sweet potato, and the best iced tea in town.

Jüs in Aspen

Tamara Petit, founded JÜS to help her brother who was diagnosed with serious health concerns including extreme hyperthyroidism, turns out her brother had a miraculous recovery and JÜS took off as the place to go to for fresh-pressed juices, milks, smoothies, hand-crafted breakfast + lunch items, and satisfying snacks.

Open 8am-5pm daily in The Ute Building, 501 E Hyman Ave in Aspen. (970) 710-7063

Favorite Aspen Bar Menus

L’Hostaria

Being social animals, it is rare where we sit down in an actual dining room, preferring to sit at cafè tables near the bar and insert ourselves into the energy of the restaurant. L’Hostaria is one of our favorites that we go to for the entire experience; the food, the tables with high stools or booths, the wine, the people watching, and for making new friends.

Owner of L’Hostaria, Tiziano Gortan, has quite the culinary career which began at a young age working in one of Milan’s only three Michelin stars restaurant with one of the great modern masters of Italian gastronomy, Chef Gualtiero Marchesi. He also was the pastry chef for the rock band U2’s Tearoom restaurant at the Clarence Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. Well loved by our community, Tiziano loves his restaurant, his family, and he has a generous heart.

L’ Hostaria offers Italian cuisine in a warm and charming Italian atmosphere. If you are looking for good people, friendly wait staff and delicious Italian food, L’Hostaria is your place. The locals rave about the Fettuccine alla Bolognese with spinach fettuccine, italian meat sauce, as well as the Costolette d’Agnello, goat cheese-crusted Colorado lamb chops, asparagus, truffle mashed potatoes and red cabbage. Check out their bar menu here.

Cache Cache

One of Aspen’s oldest and most favored top restaurants in Aspen, Cache Cache partners Jodi Larner and Chef Lanter focus on classical French Cuisine using local ingredients, and is a favorite place for locals to dine at both in the dining room and at the bar.

With significant investments made in the wine program, Larner and Lanter were fortunate to acquire Sommelier Alexandre Harvier. A native of Paris, France, his knowledge of wine and experience in service has set the standard at Cache Cache. With over 6000 bottles of inventory, the wine list has expanded to over 100 pages. Cache Cache has become a destination for wine connoisseurs.

Social Dining

Meat & Cheese

Yes, we love Wendy Mitchell, Owner of Meat & Cheese, and our favorite living room bar, Hooch, and we also love everything she creates.

Located on Restaurant Row in Aspen, Colorado, Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop is a hybrid specialty food store and restaurant serving “World Farmhouse” cooked meals using locally sourced, sustainably raised ingredients for an eclectic menu. The chefs follow the rhythm of seasons just as farm families around the world do, and like those families, they create just about everything from scratch. Available ingredients and their quality dictate the menu direction from day to day.

They do not accept reservations, but please get in line with the app – No Wait. 319 E Hopkins Ave, Aspen, CO 81611

Bosq Aspen

Chef C. Barclay Dodge is a forager and an innovator, creating the most incredible dishes from locally sourced ingredients. A well traveled man to exotic places, Chef Barclay is forever intrigued by new flavors and cultures, and working in Michelin starred restaurants in Spain and New York are also where he draws immense inspiration. Originally from Aspen, cooking quickly became a deep love of Chef Dodge’s since the restaurants were one of the few places that would employ the youth. For the last twenty-five years, he has traveled and cooked between Aspen and other parts of the country and globe. He developed a great reputation and clientele and the community is always curious as to what is next for the talented chef. When visiting ask Chef Barclay about his sweet baby girl Lennon James and his beautiful wife Molly, and you’ll see the most beautiful smile emerge.

** We love Chef Barclay so much he spoke in our very first Aspen Connect event, and we threw our VIP party there last fall. Read more about Bosq on the blog.

Dining and Dancing

7908

Last time I was in 7908 I commented to our waitress on how much I loved the horseshoe bar, sharing that it reminded me of The Chicken Box in Nantucket, a place I frequented regularly in my summers spent on the island. The waitress replied that the current owner of the Chicken Box was just in there and said the exact same thing.

7908 is a supper club where dining and dancing meld into each other on any given night. If you were there on Halloween you would have writhed on the dancefloor with firefighters and mountain rescue men and women, together with scantily clad goblins and wizards who prefer to be as naked as possible all the time to show off their athletic bodies.

7908 is “sophisticated and fun, raucous and regal, inclusiveness and exclusive,” which just about sums up everything we love about this crazy ski town we live in.

Mr. Grey

If you walk by Mr. Grey on any given afternoon, it’s likely that you will find the perfect Aspen summer experience with people dancing while children play outside the patio in the dancing fountain … but if you look on the other side of the bar, in the back you will find the locals, especially when the big events and festivals have taken over town. As much as we love meeting the VIP’s who fly in on their jets, we are generally simple people who really just want to shoot the shit with others who simply don’t give a damn about the glitz and glamour.

Jimmys An American Restaurant and Bar

Jimmy’s has been known as an “Aspen Institution” since opening in 1997 with Founder Jimmy Yeager at the helm. The Jimmy’s bar program has been nationally recognized as one of the best in the country, largely due to the experience of Yeager. His expertise in agave-based spirits has been recognized by industry leaders, including his founding involvement with Del Maguey mezcal. Yeager has been featured in numerous books on bartending, mezcal and spirits education, served as a consultant to other bars and restaurants, a judge and reviewer of industry competitions, and is known around the country as an expert in hospitality. 

** BEST OF AWARD OF EXCELLENCE 2015, ’16, ’17, AND ’18,
WINE SPECTATOR

HOURS
BAR OPENS FOR DRINKS AT 5PM. DINNER SERVED NIGHTLY 5:30PM-10PM | (970) 925-6020 | 205 S. Mill St. Upstairs at the corner of Mill & Hopkins in Aspen

Best Burgers in Aspen

White House Tavern

Baddy and the boys love this restaurant so much it’s a wonder we go anywhere else. In fact, Tucker has a friend we call “Crispy Chicken” for his desire to leave wherever we are to get a crispy chicken sandwich from the Tavern. There are no reservations at the Tavern so go early, or wait outside and mingle with the locals, a common occurrence.

Red Onion

One hasn’t experienced Aspen if they have not had a burger at the Red Onion, Aspen’s oldest historic restaurant & bar established in 1892.

** The bar room is almost exactly as it was in 1892. The bar and back bar were stripped of layers of dirt, beer, and whiskey which revealed the beautiful wooden inlay. 

CP Burger

Local Aspen restaurant lords Craig Pearce and Samantha Cordts-Pearce own the monopoly in town for restaurants, and CP Burger is an all-time local favorite located by the miniature golf course. How they manage all of their restaurants so smoothly is anyone’s guess but one thing is for certain, they continue to deliver quality with a smile.

Serving Aspen-style fast food—high-quality beef, tuna & falafel burgers, hotdogs, truffle fries, Lulu Wilson’s famous kale salad, milkshakes & spiked shakes. CP Burger is located just steps from Aspen Mountain at 433 E Durant Ave, Aspen, CO.

Open Sunday – Thursday 11am – 6pm & Friday – Saturday 11am – 8pm

HomeTeam BBQ

At Home Team BBQ one can get a glimpse of Chef Lanter’s other side. Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Cache Cache, Chris Lanter is also the Co-Owner and Operating Partner of Home Team BBQ, along with one of his best buds who he was roommates with at University of Georgia, Aaron “Fiery Ron” Siegel. Sharing their passion for food, they both took off in different directions after college to explore their culinary passions, with Siegel heading to CIA in Hyde Park and Chris to France, and some years later together opened up this Aspen restaurant together.

Home Team BBQ is southern cooking done right with five different smokers, combining traditional processes and techniques of classical cuisine with the simplicity of comfort food, BBQ, and Southern fare. The chicken wings, smoked with a special dry rub, are to die for with Home Team’s Alabama White Sauce and Devil’s Relish, so addictive that one may find themselves at any given moment heading over to their restaurant to sit at a booth to order more.

This local’s favorite affordable family-style restaurant is located inside the Inn at Aspen at the base of Buttermilk Mountain.

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Jillian Livingston
Meet Jillian Livingston, influencer, connector, mom of three teen boys, and the Founder of Aspen Real Life and Aspen Business Connect. As an adventure seeker and freelance travel writer Jillian has contributed to luxury travel sites such as; Inspirato, Quintess, Bespoke Concierge Magazine and Destinations Travel Magazine. She was also the Roaring Fork Examiner. With a mission to experience adventures for both she and her boys, and to connect us all closer together, Jillian and contributing writers share daily encounters and experiences found in the bars, trails and chair lifts. Have an important message you want to amplify, or a service you would like for the Aspen Real Life team to experience? Email her at [email protected]

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