It’s hard to believe, but we very well may be finally turning a corner in this crazy, awful pandemic. One big indicator right here in Aspen is that restaurants are back at 50% for indoor dining. A huge relief to so many restaurant owners and their employees, who for months were on the edge of their seat waiting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve rounded up the current status and plans for a few of our local favorite restaurants.
Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop
The cocktail menu at Meat & Cheese, an Aspen staple since it opened it’s doors in 2014, is famous for a diverse array of drinks—from sake juice boxes to the “drunken inspiration:” a 3 person sized hot rum drink. In fact, most drinks are offered with the option to upsize for a slight rise in price. As a result of the pandemic, Meat & Cheese made the conscious decision to elevate their to-go lunch and dinner menus, which includes adult beverages as long as they are accompanied by a food order. Eclectic and mouthwatering menu items like Asian-inspired rice dumplings with shredded pork and poached halibut, and winter squash gnocchi served on a bed of apple puree, make for delectable decision making. Meat & Cheese’s world-famous fried chicken board, which includes Indian spiced fried chicken bites alongside cilantro chutney is still available by popular demand for take-out, as is the classic Meat & Cheese board, featuring a selection of 3 fresh cured meats and 3 cheeses straight from the Farm Shop. The taco stand is also open for full-on action every day from 11am to 4:20pm, and features an all-star lineup including “taco of the day,” brisket nachos, steak tacos, mahi-mahi tacos, quesadillas, and jalapeño margaritas to go.
To-go orders can be conveniently placed online via TOCK for restaurant pick up and now delivery as well for an additional fee. What’s more, the patio at Meat & Cheese also just officially opened, with heaters and blankets at each table to ensure your experience is warm and cozy. In January, due to so many folks being unemployed, they opened Bonnie’s Soup Kitchen, which serves warm delicious soups every Thursday to hungry patrons from 11am until they run out.
Hooch, the stellar downstairs cocktail bar at Meat & Cheese has also opened back up, serving craft adult beverages Monday-Wednesday 5pm-11pm and Thursday-Saturday 5pm to 12pm. Cleverly concocted drinks with names like “Regina George” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” are served in quirky glasses that only add to the rustic, antique ambiance you’ll settle into while you sip your drink from an antique plush lounge chair under the glow of a rustic chandelier.
It’s attention to detail and thoughtful creativity that sets Meat & Cheese and Hooch apart. Not only are all the ingredients in your charcuterie board or bowl of ramen carefully chosen and combined to create a divine lunch and dinner menu, but the bartenders, wait staff, and ownership by way of Wendy Mitchell are guaranteed to make your dining experience next-level—whether it’s a to-go order post-hike or a first date dine-in experience.
Lunch: 11am – 3pm
Après: 3pm – 4:30pm
Dinner: 4:30pm – 9pm
All orders online through TOCK to go orders
Open 7 days a week 11am-9pm
301 East Hopkins suite 103
“COVID has really changed the way we dine, and the experience that comes along with it. I have always loved coming to Wild Fig. Tonight just proved to me that they will always go above and beyond. Hunter was our server, and he was AMAZE! It was my b-day celebration, with friends, and he was attentive, funny, present, and just on point. Mary Kate gave us a pick of tables, and the food was great, as always. A lot of places have dropped off in service, so I was happy to see that Wild Fig kept their standards high…as usual. I even caught the menu on fire and was treated like a VIP. MAD LOVE!!”-Linda R.
Located in the heart of downtown Aspen, the Wild Fig is another Aspen staple that never disappoints. One might be quick to assume by the looks of it that it that The Wild Fig is just another fine dining Italian joint, but it’s truly so much more. Inspired by the cuisine of not just Italy, but also Spain, France and a lot of Mediterranean flair, they offer everything from daily house-made pastas to a nightly risotto, a Moroccan spiced rack of lamb, fish in a bag, and a whole fish of the day. What makes the Wild Fig so special though, apart from the freshest ingredients and seasonal menu, might be it’s world class wine menu. Pair that with an excellent wait staff and warm and inviting ambiance, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most highly esteemed restaurants in Aspen.
Restauranteurs and married couple Craig and Samantha Cordts-Pearce, who started the restaurant together 17 years ago, are no stranger to the Aspen restaurant scene. As the owners of CP Burger, the Wild Fig, Monarch Steakhouse, and the recently acquired Woody Creek Tavern, they know a thing or two about juggling the unexpected when it comes to the food industry. So, when the pandemic hit, it certainly had an impact on business, but it didn’t stop them from developing new and innovative ways to keep delicious new food options on menus. The culinary team began designing weeknight specials like Duck Confeit Salad, Mushroom Risotto, and Pan-Seared Duck Breast for take out offerings. When they officially reopened on February 2nd, reservations were booming and so were take-out orders. The restaurant continues to cater to the new demand for take out offerings, while treating indoor guests in their chic warmly lit dining room across from the Wheeler Opera House. They also offer street side dining by way of a heated patio for those still looking to limit exposure to COVID. In the midst of the pandemic, they were offering take-out orders including free delivery for all orders over $100.
Logistics to know:
Open for takeout or dine-in 7 days a week starting at 5pm
315 East Hyman Avenue in the heart of Aspen
Woody Creek Tavern
Celeb Quote: “I’ve pulled together what I deem to be the very best of resort skiing in the world—from Europe’s chocolate-box villages, with their authentic alpine traditions, to the powder fields of the western United States. Aspen hosts the annual Winter X Games and is favored by A-list skiers and après-skiers. You must eat at Woody Creek Tavern, which was one of Hunter S. Thompson’s favorite haunts. Pippa Middleton to Vanity Fair in 2015
Hunter S. Thompson’s favorite haunt AND Pippa Middleton’s? Clearly this place has something for everyone! And by everyone we mean everyone (their kids menu even has dinosaur-shaped chicken fingers). But it’s definitely the adults that will get the most out of the…almost impossible to describe saloon. Made famous by gonzo journalist and crazed writer Hunter S. Thompson, the walls of this tavern just outside of Woody Creek are plastered with hundreds, and we mean HUNDREDS of photos and old memorabilia. Yes, there are old polaroids from the 80’s and portraits of Hunter S. Thompson and Johnny Depp slinging back whiskey, but there’s also t-shirts, license plates and dollar bills covering the walls. The website description is apt: “A single word doesn’t do the place justification…it is bizarre, strange, peculiar, odd, curious, funny, outlandish, abnormal, eccentric, unorthodox, queer, extraordinary, weird, wacky, kooky and maybe even freaky. One thing is clear, the Tavern is not conventional nor is it the result of a well thought out and precise design.”
When the tavern first opened in 1980, it was intended to serve as a gathering place for locals to pop in after a day playing outside in the nearby mountains. The feeling you get when you walk in, is an unpretentious yet welcoming friendly vibe– a rural mountain saloon with a wide array of drinks that also happens to have a surprising selection of fresh lunch, dinner and appetizer options with an American flair. The juxtaposition serves them well though. Since opening its doors, Woody Creek Tavern has become a staple, not only for locals, but also for bikers, movie stars and pro-athletes as well. If somebody had to take ownership of one of Aspen’s icon restaurants, we are glad that it is Craig and Sam (as mentioned above). Let’s hope that they keep the flavor of the restaurant dive-like, the way we locals like it, and that they don’t change the ingredients or skimp on the alcohol in the the famous margs that always lead to interesting conversations between the regulars and the curious incomers at the bar. Pop in for a burger or a rack of ribs, or their mouthwatering house-made tamales. Indoor dining is back now, with a huge heated tent complete with blankets and space heaters for their outside patio seating, but we recommend sitting inside to get a view of the décor and lively conversation with the friendly bartenders.
Beginning May 9th of last year, the Tavern curated a to-go menu chock full of their most popular dishes—tamales, enchiladas, burgers, and soup of the day, and so much more, all available for curbside pick-up while you sip on those fresh squeezed lime margarita. Woody Creek Tavern has kept the tequila flowing, and the cowboys keep coming back for more.
Open daily. 11am-close
Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve Night, Christmas Day & Super Bowl Night
Lunch and Dinner Specials every day
You heard the man! John Dutton himself, and Aspen royal, Kevin Costner “loves having dinner with his wife at Cache Cache”, and we are pretty sure you will, too. with a stellar list of wine and of course fine French food. Especially now that they’re back open at 50% indoor dining capacity.
An upscale French restaurant, Cache Cache first opened its doors in Aspen in 1987 and has been consistently outshining itself year after year. With prepared dishes each night like Osso Buco, sautéed calf’s liver, and a (just returned) Colorado 7X Wagyu Center Cut New York Strip, you know you are in for a real treat on a night out at Cache Cache. Like most restaurants in Aspen, Cache Cache had to pivot when Covid hit in order to survive. Luckily, they have an easy online ordering system in place through Aloha ordering, where you can order from their entire dinner menu for pick up. While the flavors here will stun you with how carefully curated each dish is, it’s the ambiance that will keep you coming back for more. Owner Chris Lanter is dedicated to making sure everyone who visits leaves having a real experience, not just a meal. The dessert menu is also not to be missed, with it’s world-famous Spy Hill chocolate chip cookies (easy for pick up), chocolate mousse, warm chocolate cake, and Crème Brûlée and fruit crisps, which are available in house only.
Open 7 days a week for dinner, starting at 6pm
Online Ordering available via website
Campo de Fiori
“The restaurant has been one of our favorites since the mid 1990’s. Learning of their catering department changed my summer family trip. Cooking for 9 adults and 4 children was a no brainer once Elizabeth [Plotke] introduced me to her catering department. We landed in Aspen to find our fridge fully stocked with a wide assortment of delicious food that lasted almost the entire week. The best part of this was meeting Elizabeth and finding an incredibly delightful person to guide me in food selections for the entire family. Nothing was too much for her and her team to handle. Their professional attitude and ease of working with them made my time in Aspen so much more enjoyable. Can’t wait for the next family trip…I know who my first call will be!”-Linda S.
Elizabeth Plotke, owner and founder, has enlisted an all-star group of employees to help her keep this iconic Aspen staple in business for over 26 years including; Local legend and general manager David Ellswieg AKA “Campo Dave” who is not only friendly and brilliant, as his bio indicates, he’s also got movie star looks and a personality that keeps patrons consistently coming back for his wonderful service. Lead by Chef Giuseppe Garofalo, the culinary vision here is classic Italian curated using local and fresh ingredients along with Italian wines. Stand out dishes include Linguine Diavola, Spinach Gnocchi, and roasted Colorado rack of lamb, and of course their signature espresso martinis. Campo de Fiori is located in the heart of Aspen, and is open for curbside pickup and online ordering beginning at 5:30 each night, as well as indoor dining beginning at the same time.
“We are hoping to add some outdoor dining in March if weather allows with our awning and heater,” Plotke told Aspen Real Life.
Campo is also offering family style menus for home meals that guests can pick up for dinner beginning at 5:30 each night and ending at 8pm. According to the website, options include but are not limited to:
- MELANZANE PARMIGIANA Baked eggplant layered with pomodoro and fresh mozzarella finished with basil pesto
- INSALATA TRICOLORE Arugula, radicchio and Belgian endive, tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette, finished with shaved Grana Padano
- PAPPARDELLE BOLOGNESE Wide ribbon pasta tossed with slow cooked beef and veal ragu
- SALMONE alla GRIGLIA Grilled sustainable salmon drizzled with cilantro and parsley chimichurri and assorted veggies.”
Both indoor dining and to-go orders begin at 5:30pm
To-go ordering available online
L’Hostaria Ristorante: Tiziano Gortan
“Amazing Italian food and very reasonably priced for Aspen. The beef carpaccio combo is to die for! Also enjoyed the pasta and tartare. Service was fast and friendly, and the tables are well distanced. Highly recommend.”—Kevin G.
As the owner of one of Aspen’s most popular restaurants for over 24 years, Tiziano Gortan knows a thing or two about people. He is known around town as a true philanthropist, as well as a man who cares deeply about the food he produces and the hands that go into producing it. That’s why, when Covid hit, Gortan took it upon himself to adjust by creating a take-out menu unique to the times we are living in. Available for pick up from Tuesday to Saturday from 5 to 8, or for delivery for an extra $10. Out of this world daily specials include homemade lasagna platters, veal tenderloin, artichoke and goat cheese ravioli, as well as New York Strip steaks that are vacuum sealed with rosemary and garlic butter, and many, many more. Deliveries and orders can be scheduled days in advance, so you don’t need to worry about lifting a finger. The restaurants outside patio is outfitted with heaters to keep guests warm in the winter months, and indoor dining has returned with the greatest level of care and protection.
Coming up: This Thursday, March 4th, they’ll be hosting “A Taste of Italy”, a special Italian dining experience with a prix-fixe menu and wine pairings. For reservations and more information visit their website, but just a sampling of what to expect: there are two seatings, one from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, and one for 7:30 – close. For just $125 per person, you’ll be treated to a prix fixe menu of polenta, ravioli, and a Wagyu steak, each of which are paired with a special wine.
Statement from restaurant: “For the safety and wellness of both our guests and staff, we are continuing to implement the highest standards in sanitation in order to respectfully serve our customers. We will be operating on properly spaced seating indoors as well as on our open, front patio from 5:30 – 9:30 pm. Curbside pickup/ online ordering available daily from 5:45 – 9 pm. We hope to see you all soon! Salute and Grazie!”
Jimmy’s an American Restaurant
“We arrived somewhat early for an 8:30 reservation and were put on the patio for drinks. A short time later, we were seated at the bar and ordered truffle fries and salads. Both came out quickly and temperature appropriate. The prime rib of beef and cheeseburger were excellent as well as the three bartenders watching after our needs.We’ve been coming to Aspen for years and Jimmy’s is always a must stop for dinner. Laid back with great drinks, service, and disco music!”—Matthew S.
Come for the tequila, stay for the salsa dancing. Jimmy’s has found the sweet spot between classic American flair and the custom style and chicness that can only be found in Aspen. Famous for it’s tequila bar, and long list of homemade cocktails, this place is just as fun as it is delicious and satisfying. Pandemic adjustments certainly were made at Jimmy’s once Covid hit, but partner and general manager Jessica Lischka says they are over the moon to be back in action for indoor dining. As far as food goes, right now Jimmy’s is offering all of their most-loved dishes. “We have our same great menu with all of the favorites our customers have grown to love, including our famous crab cakes, a selection of USDA Prime steaks, Alaskan King Crab Legs, fresh seafood and of course, our Jimmy Mac,” she told Aspen Real Life.
They’ve also curated their space to reflect the current climate, keeping social distancing protocol in mine. “We winterized our summer patio, so it is walled in and heated. Not exactly outside but not a smaller space with exposure to fewer customers for those who are concerned,” Lischka says. In terms of take-out options that are here to say, guests can schedule to-go orders in advance online at jimmysaspen.com.
Insider Scoop: “We highly recommend reservations, including for our bar area, as we consistently fill to our capacity and often have long wait times for tables. It helps greatly to call ahead even to get on the waitlist since we do not have a space for our guests to wait,” Jessica says of the new demand.
205 South Mill Street
Open Tuesday-Saturday 5:30-9pm
Reservations available online
“Casa Tua never fails to meet expectations and more! Last night had the Cacio de Pepe, Mushroom Truffle Pasta and Pappardelle Bolognese for starters which were all amazing and then I had the Colorado Lamb with pistachio mint crust, which is a must!! Sat on the back patio which was perfect – the entire staff was great. We will be back next time!”- Quincie G.
Somewhere between Soho House and Pine Creek Cookhouse, you’ll find Casa Tua. Perched right in the heart of downtown Aspen, Casa Tua is a literal house—it has the feel of a Los Angeles club, with back and front heated patios, as well as a lounge area. Pair that club vibe with the comfort and warmth only found in a ski town and a world-class menu, and you have something truly special. Their winter menu has been selected to reflect the true feel of Italian Alpine Dishes. It also includes classic preparations that they keep all year long like Fettuccine with Black Truffle and mushrooms, Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Foie Gras, and lighter Mediterranean classic dishes like Brazino al Sale.
Things to keep in mind: Casa Tua charges a $50 no show fee for reservations not cancelled within the 48 hour window. To go orders are also widely available from the dinner menu every day after 5pm, and for lunch from Friday to Sunday from 12pm to 4pm. For the world traveler, Casa Tua also has locations in Paris and Miami.
403 South Galena Street
Open Friday to Sunday from 12pm to 4pm