Having finally arrived to the Roaring Fork Valley, I wanted to understand what Aspen’s many renowned restaurants really have to offer. Since then, I have become a total valley foodie seeking out the best eats in town.
I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t resist – here is my secret stash of restaurants to try during your stay!
Bear Den Aspen
Every time I look at Bear Den Aspen’s online gallery I begin to salivate.
Seriously decadent and beautifully presented, if you can reserve a table at Bear Den Aspen, you’re in for a treat. The entire space has an airy vibrance to it; a great spot to enjoy with friends!
Locally owned and operated, Bear Den is situated within historic Lilly Reed cottage right in downtown. Always made from scratch and using the finest organic ingredients, Bear Den takes pride in what they serve their neighbors.
Serving up great food all day, Bear Den curates three menus, each featuring signature cocktails. Check out their “vive la vie” drink list for all the fun cocktails you can pair with your meal!
If alcohol in the morning isn’t your thing, lovely baristas at the coffee bar have you covered. I love coffee, but lately a cold pressed juice in the morning really makes my day!
All of Bear Den’s “organic and made from scratch” juices are yummy, but I gravitate to their Cleanse blend. Of course, with three curated menus, Bear Den is a great choice any time of day. Oysters pair well with a Basil Faulty for an Aspen twist on date night. After dinner, the desserts here are the indulgence you deserve. If your night is set to continue after dinner, I recommend the affogato for a fun late night pick me up.
Bear Den Aspen is my go-to brunch favorite! On a given day, you can find me enjoying a cleanse juice blend. When I’m feeling frisky, I’ll ease into the weekend with a Coco Loco and Huevos Rancheros!
The White House Tavern
Square on the corner of Monarch and Hopkins in downtown, is White House Tavern. This unassuming Carpenter Gothic miner’s cottage brings Aspen’s silver legacy to the modern age. A warm, wood interior is accented by bold industrial elements. If you are able to enjoy a table on the porch, people watching is a treat!
“Guests can expect a lively and convivial atmosphere featuring an exhibition kitchen and interesting artworks set in a warm, wood paneled space.”
Ever the curated menu, White House Tavern keeps it simple, letting its dishes shine. While their menu stays consistent throughout the year, they will feature certain ingredients in new dishes on occasion.
With a full bar, White House Tavern keeps you sippin’ pretty while enjoying one of their menu staples. These staples include their daily French dips, Macho salad, and, of course, the best chicken sandwich this side of the valley!
Personally, I enjoy their kale salad with rotisserie chicken and the Brussel sprouts. Sometimes my friends and I swing by for the creamed corn – just saying.
Meat & Cheese
Seasonal, made from scratch, exquisite. A dining experience at Meat and Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop is an inviting tribute to ancestral food culture. Founder Wendy Mitchell opened Meat and Cheese in the fall of 2014. She has since cultivated a team of young talent serving up soups, salads, sandwiches, and of course their famous boards.
“We hope to offer an approachable seasonal menu and friendly, casual service. Our Farm Shop’s selection of curated specialty food and housewares fills a niche in our small town.”
I completely agree; I think Meat and Cheese does fill a niche. Elegant, savory food compliments an airy, familial atmosphere. It’s the kind of restaurant I would take my grandparents to catch up over a light lunch and great wine.
Industrial but inviting, the brick façade is complimented by large windows and a moody interior. The hybrid nature of Meat and Cheese means you can speak to their experts about gourmet ingredients for your next dish.
“Meat and Cheese is a celebration of food as prepared in home kitchens everywhere, a style we refer to as World Farmhouse. Using locally sourced, sustainably raised ingredients as our starting point, we engage in the culinary traditions of Asia, Europe and the Americas to create a menu meant for sharing that is eclectic yet recognizable for its traditional techniques.”
Ladies’ night in Aspen? Meet up at Meat and Cheese to enjoy signature cocktails as the sun sets on the patio.
A Bee’s Tea and Quesabirria Tacos to share? Yes please!
** Note: Be sure to check out the beautiful mural gracing the walls of Meat & Cheese. It was created by Ouizi, whose work Wendy and her husband found at Astro Coffee in Detroit.
Engaging modern art hangs above white tablecloths illuminated by candlelight. Welcome to a romantic evening in Italy at L’Hostaria Ristorante. This restaurant celebrates the slow magic of combining ingredients the traditional way.
From the wine director and Sommelier to the executive chef and restaurant owner, Tiziano, himself, L’Hostaria is a flawless performance. Wonderful music, an intimate patio, and delicious Italian food, this is the date night of my dreams!
The Italian kitchen is alive here and Tiziano Gortan curates an experience to make everyone feel at home. Nonna would be proud.
My three-course recommendation to you, my friend, is the Cozze alla Marinara to start, paired with red wine. Rissoto del L’Hostaria is a savory dinner and well accompanied by a Panna Cotta for dessert.
Stylishly modern with a bright, spacious interior and fun local art, 7908 welcomes you into a new type of fine dining. The entire team is dedicated to delivering premier plates without taking themselves too seriously.
“7908 is a place where everyone, no matter where they are from, where they’ve been what they look like, or what they do, is welcome”
On weekdays, and in the early evening, patrons dine on some of Aspen’s finest cuisine at 7908. Following an early evening transition from fine dining to nightlife, however, is when the restaurant really puts on a show. Truly seamless, the entire space is slowly transformed into a proper nightclub.
Other than the atmosphere, what sets 7908 apart is their superstar list of specialists curating a unique mix of food and pleasure. Executive Chef Byron Gomez executes gorgeous plates of “elevated comfort food” while the ever-inventive mixologists curate signature cocktails. The kitchen closes, but cocktails facilitate the transition into the nightlife as resident DJ Kid Kamillion energizes the space with his mix of upbeat house music!
“Eat, drink, dance” the night away at 7908, you won’t be disappointed!
It is important to note that the nightlife transition occurs around 9:15 p.m. If you would like bottle service during the next event, you can reserve via email over the phone at (790) 516.7908.
Honestly, I go to 7908 for the dancing and drinks. If I am going to indulge, I’ll enjoy a watermelon salad and the scallops.
Home Team BBQ
Just downvalley from Aspen proper at the base of Buttermilk Mountain is Home Team BBQ, an absolute local favorite! Located within The Inn at Aspen, patrons can sit indoors to enjoy an intimate, moody setting or outside for a more casual vibe.
Born and raised out of Charleston, South Carolina, Home Team brought the goods from the heart of barbeque tradition. Here, head chef and pitmaster Chris Lanter serves up his award-winning food coming hot off the BBQ all week!
Admittedly, I have never sampled a breakfast here, but Home Team is my go-to for great chicken wings. Dry rubbed in their secret blend, Fiery Ron’s Smoked Chicken Wings are a must-try! With six hot sauces along the edge of the table, it’s tempting to sample them all!
“One of Home Team’s most important goals… was not only to create a great experience and send guests home happy after each visit, but also to provide opportunities for our loyal staff to give back to the local community that continues to support them.”
It’s such a tease – the patio is situated just below the X Games halfpipe, but during the event, is hidden away from attendees. The best time of the year to enjoy Home Team, in my opinion, is during pro sports season – cheer on your team in good local company with great eats!
I suggest baked queso for the table, and at least 6 chicken wings apiece. I like to dip mine in the HT Hot, Red, and Sweet Red sauces – cooled down with a Snow Capped Peach Cider! By the way, this entire suggestion is gluten-free!
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Written by: Alexandrea Rager