Eat It Up In Aspen

Nibble (and sip) at these new hot spots.
Retro-chic dining at West End Social. Photo: Jason Dewey

By Linda Hayes

West End Social

Wind your way to the Aspen Meadows Resort for dinner at the new West End Social, where New York-based Bentel & Bentel have created a Herbert Bayer-influenced culinary sanctuary. Tear your eyes away from the mountain view and focus on chef de cuisine Rachel Saxton’s sharable, highly seasonal menu—Wagyu tartare, seared scallops, dry-aged Maple Leaf duck, grilled baby gem lettuce. Juan Carlos Santana’s wine program focuses on vino from high-altitude regions, from Colorado to Italy, Argentina and beyond., 888.221.4851

The fresh and modern Mollie Aspen. Photo: Nicole Franzen

Mollie Aspen

The modern restaurant, bar and cocktail lounge tucked into the new Mollie Aspen hotel (designed by local CCY Architects and Brooklyn-based Post Company design studio) is a must-do. Post hike or bike, claim a stool at the bar for satisfying nibbles, such as sliders on brioche buns, “hot wings” and steak frites, paired with “Refreshing” or “Spiritous” craft cocktails by Gin & Luck (the group behind Death & Co). Dinnertime, the menu amps up with braised lamb sugo, whole grilled trout and Niman Ranch strip steak., 970.742.1234

The Boat Tow

“Aprés all-day” is a mantra of this Hyman Avenue hot spot. A seat at the bar comes with a view of the cocktail action (try the “Welcome to Aspen,” with thyme-infused Aperol, grapefruit, lemon sherbet and prosecco), while patio dining pairs perfectly with people watching. Either way, the emphasis is on shareable snacks such as tuna poke, charred zucchini dip and deviled eggs., 970.425.0643


Short for the Bar Under Cooper and Kitchen, Buck harkens back to the local watering holes of lore, when skiers could belly up to the bar hot off the slopes for a well-earned post-ski beverage or three. Down a steep stairway, check out the ski wall, then belly up for a pitcher, a classic drink, a burger, maybe some French onion soup reminiscent of the owners’ days at the beloved Red Onion in town. Happy hour menu rules. 303.588.8408

Sway Aspen

An upcountry outpost of Sway in Austin, this long-awaited newcomer on Hopkins Avenue is a hit. Sway Aspen aims toward elevated Thai cuisine while incorporating local and regionally sourced ingredients as much as possible. Highlights include crispy whole market fish with chile vinegar, charred bok choy, steamed shu mai with “so good” vinegar, panang neua short rib curry, and garlicky Thai basil eggplant with toasted chile paste and caramelized soy., 970.429.880

A cozy social space at The Summer Lodge. Photo courtesy of courtesy of The Snow Lodge

Plus: The Snow Lodge, Summer Season 

What’s become an après-ski favorite at The St. Regis Aspen Resort returns for another warm weather season this year as The Summer Lodge. Starting June 13, Chef Robert Sieber will serve up lighter Italian menus and guest chefs will be popping in throughout the season. Stay tuned for its special programming during the Food & Wine Classic Aspen (June 14-16), and another banging music lineup all summer long., 970.920.3300