Colorado ski resorts are notoriously expensive. With lift tickets running upwards of $100-150 a day, you’ll want to budget wherever you can. Be a savvy traveler and refuse to pay tourist prices at the see and be seen restaurants in town. These are the best off the beaten path food spots for a quarter of the price that’ll still be an amazingly memorable meal. If you want to save your cash for après – just remember to toast to me. Here are the best places to dine in the mountains the next time you’re planning a Colorado ski trip.
Kava – Breckenridge
If you’re looking for “Breck-fast,” Kava in Breckenridge is known for their delectable mini donuts that are sold by the half dozen or dozen, but it’s their breakfast burritos that you’ll be writing home about. Ringing in at a humongous 13 inches, they grill the tortilla on a panini maker and stuff them full of eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, and salsa (yes, inside). Seriously, it’s bomb. And I’m not even a huge burrito fan.
Blue Moon Bakery – Dillon (en route to A-Basin and/or Keystone)
As one of the closest ski resorts to Denver, Arapahoe Basin and Keystone are popular with the locals. At night you’ll find locals in Dillon lining up at the Dam Brewery, but in the morning, it’s Blue Moon Bakery. Known for amazing pastries and cheap breakfast sandwiches, it’s the perfect grab and go stop for fueling up en route to the slopes. With the daily special of one egg, cheese, bacon, ham, sausage, tomato, or avocado on an English muffin setting you back just $3, it’s easily the best deal in Summit County, but good luck walking by the sweets counter without succumbing to something. Their homemade bread is worth stopping for alone (and can be made gluten free!).
Mountain Melt – Copper Mountain
An entire restaurant dedicated to fancy, made-to-order mac and cheese, grilled cheese, and loaded tots? It’s reason alone to head to Copper (and probably the inspiration their annual summer Mac and Cheese Fest). At the base of the American Eagle lift in Center Village, you barely have to break from your ski day to grab an ooey, gooey treat. And it’s pretty great for kids, too.
Colorado Bagel Co & Deli – Steamboat Springs
Unassuming in a strip mall, all you need to know about Colorado Bagel Co. is three words – Sun-Dried Tomato Avocado Garlic Cream Cheese. Ok technically that’s seven, but on a Jalapeño Cheddar bagel? You’ll never go to Einstein’s ever again. Don’t forget to grab a tub of the spread to go, too.
Venga Venga – Snowmass
Richard Sandoval’s slopeside cantina and walkup window are a godsend. Cuisine from a celebrated, nationally renowned chef at affordable lunch prices? Sign us up. And don’t miss out on the 75 tequilas and mezcals behind the bar. Being in the Southwest, Colorado’s Mexican is hard to beat.
Sweet ColoraDough – Glenwood Springs
This Glenwood Springs bakery is basically the lovechild of sugar enthusiasts and pork fanatics. The place I tried my first cronut, while the donuts are ridiculous, the breakfast sandwiches made on bacon or sausage bread (yes, pork-infused grain) are worth the stop alone.
The Goat – Keystone
Another ski resort that’s close to Denver, Keystone is an easy day trip, but it’s still fun to spend the night because of the locals drinking establishments. Officially called the Goat Soup and Whiskey Tavern, the Goat is the ultimate dive, which definitely does not stand for the “Greatest of All Time.” Recently celebrating their 20th anniversary, it’s basically the town gathering hall in the mountains. The food is cheap pub grub, the popcorn salty, the crowd crude, and the drinks strong. There is often live music to be found and shenanigans to be had.
Wolcott Yacht Club – Random Highway Exit Past Beaver Creek/Avon (RIP – Closed)
Hands down one of my top five meals in the state of Colorado, Wolcott Yacht Club was as random as it gets. The only building for miles in this lone section of Vail Valley, their farm-to-table small plate setup was known for their veggies, making everything from crispy brussels to spaghetti squash come alive. For the carnivores, the meats were nothing to sneeze at either, with game meats always a staple in a cozy, intimate venue.
Know any other great hidden mountain town gems?