Category Archives: Restaurants

Top 5 Happy Hour Spots in Breck

Blue River Bistro

The story below was featured on The Breck Connection

With so many options in Breckenridge, settling on a place to go for Happy Hour may just be the toughest decision of your day. Lucky for you we have tried them all and while this isn’t by any means a complete list, it is a collection of some of the best.

Blue River Bistro: Ask any Breckenridge local where to go for Happy Hour and there is no doubt that the Blue River Bistro will come up at some point during the conversation. Known for their martinis, classy ambiance and live music, the Bistro has set itself apart by offering not one, but two Happy Hours every day of the week. From 3-6 p.m. and again from 9- midnight, the Bistro offers 2-for-1 martinis and 2-for-1 selected appetizers. Whether you have a hankering for a classic dirty martini or you want to branch out and try some of their specialty martinis like the Key Lime Pie or the always-popular Espresso, there is plenty of variety to suit everyone’s individual tastes. Even if you’re not in the mood for a martini, draft beers are only $2 during Happy Hour and appetizers like the Kobe Beef Sliders, Baked Brie and Toasted Jalapeno Raviolis will keep your mouth watering. Check out the Bistro at 305 North Main St.

Mi Casa Mexican Cantina: During the winter months, Mi Casa is the ultimate Happy Hour destination given its close proximity to the base of Peak 9. From the classic margarita on the rocks to the lusciously blended mango margarita, there are plenty of ways to get your tequila fix at this well-established watering hole. I remember upon first moving to Breckenridge a friend brought me to Mi Casa and I became a fan for life after realizing they provided free chips and salsa during their 3-6 p.m. Happy Hour. As if that wasn’t incentive enough, right at 5 o’clock a pan of free nachos appears like magic and it’s usually a race to be the first one to dig in. Mi Casa is located right behind Mountain Wave near the corner of Park Avenue and Main Street.

Twist: Of all the restaurants on this list, Twist is definitely the baby, but don’t let that fool you because they handle Happy Hour like pros.

Twist Breck

Located off Ridge Street with an amazing outdoor patio, Twist is the perfect place to unwind with friends after a long day at the office. Twist focuses on local and seasonal ingredients so the Happy Hour food menu is always changing, but the pork shoulder tacos for just $2 each have been a staple since Twist opened, given locals have been known to order them by the dozen.  Twist is also home to one of my favorite cocktails in town, the Green Tea Martini. If you feel like branching out of your comfort zone try the bartender’s creative cocktail of the evening, always different, always refreshing and always just $5.

South Ridge Seafood: Sometimes you visit a bar for the deals and sometimes you visit for the character. Both can be said about South Ridge Seafood Grill because the food and drink are awesome and they have some of the friendliest bartenders around. Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. is a great time to hit up South Ridge with $1 oysters and great deals on other food items like the peel and eat shrimp and trout dip. Cheap draft beers are the main draw for the local crowd and given South Ridge is tucked away on Ridge Street the atmosphere feels a bit more relaxed even though the place has been known to get hopping as the hours creep closer to dinner. Do yourself a favor and head to South Ridge early when the crowds are minimal and you can pick the bartender’s brain for other Breck recommendations. Thanks to a quick chat with Daryll a few years back I found my favorite hiking trail of all time.

Cecilia’s : I know what you’re thinking. Cecilia’s for Happy Hour? Isn’t that the place with the pole on the dance floor? Yes and yes. While Cecilia’s has definitely made a name for itself as one the best late-night joints in town they have been doing somewhat of an image overhaul and are enticing a different kind of crowd for their Happy Hour these days by offering a bottle of wine with a fruit and cheese plate for only $20. Cecilia’s may have gotten somewhat of a bad rap over the years given it’s a more of a dance club than anything else but they do have a killer martini selection and during Happy Hour they are 2-for-1. Stroll in to Cecilia’s in the late afternoon and you will be pleasantly surprised by the laid-back atmosphere and wide drink selection. Also, if you feel like a glass of scotch and a stogie this is definitely your place as Cecilia’s boasts one of the biggest humidors you will find in Summit County. Find them in La Cima Mall right next to Lucha Cantina.

Amazing Grace: A true local eatery

The story below was featured on The Breck Connection

213 Lincoln Avenue in Breckenridge

Walking into Amazing Grace Natural Eatery on Lincoln Avenue in Breckenridge it’s easy to feel like you found a true gem. On any given morning you will find the tables full of folks decked out in ski gear, chatting about the current snow conditions, town happenings and local gossip. The vibe is relaxed and unpretentious, a perfect choice for those looking for a more personal dining experience away from the Main Street masses.

It’s no surprised that Amazing Grace is so laid-back given the women in charge would have it no other way. The business was started by famed adventure racer Monique Merrill who wanted to create a restaurant that felt like home when she returned from trekking across the globe, and she recruited other like-minded local ladies who shared a passion for outdoor exploration and good all-natural cooking.

You won’t find anything processed at Amazing Grace as emphasis is placed on fresh, wholesome ingredients. If you head in for a bite in the morning try the glueten-free breakfast tacos, loaded with eggs, cheese, spinach and salsa, gently folded in corn tortillas. Find a table and sip on a cup of free-trade conscious coffee as you peruse the Summit Daily in the dappled sunlight coming through the frosted windows. Or, if you are in a hurry, grab one of their freshly baked muffins with a rotating selection baked fresh daily.

My favorite time to be at Amazing Grace is during the lunch hour. There’s something about being in a refurbished old house that makes me feel at peace and when work starts to get too hectic I always find myself wandering up to Lincoln Avenue to slow down for an hour or more and enjoy a quite lunch.

I’m a sucker for a good turkey sandwich and Amazing Grace has several options I tend to rotate through. The Turkey Veggie comes complete with tomato, cucumber, shredded carrots, zucchini and sprouts, and when I’m feeling something with a bit more zip I opt for the Turkey Berry with avocado, cranberries and raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Belly up to the counter

If you’re looking for good food you can feel good about eating, venture away from Main Street and pop in to Amazing Grace Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check them out online before you go at amazinggracebreck.com and you can see the full menu along with short bios of all the employees.

Twist arrives in Breck just in time

Truth is, some of us were getting bored.

Menus plastered outside local eateries in Breckenridge were starting to curl up at the edges, watermarks obscuring old standby options that were starting to look uninspired. We were feeling blase by overexposure to the same burgers, pizza and pasta options

Enter chef Matt Fackler and Twist, a new Ridge Street restaurant boasting an innovative take on comfort cuisine.

Having already garnered national acclaim for his Main Street restaurant, Relish, including a favorable mention in the New York Times travel section, Fackler opened Twist in June of this year.

Open for Happy Hour and dinner starting at 4p.m., Twist boast one of the best patios in town. Nestled just far enough off of Main Street, the property is situated at the perfect level for stellar mountain views and charming lights strung through the trees add a touch of romance to the casual atmosphere.  Walking through the door, the servers dressed in jeans and t-shirts let you know that there are no pretentious attitudes here.  Simple, intimate and bright, the interior of Twist seems cheery and welcoming even if there is a thunderstorm raging outside and the friendly vibe of the staff is the perfect compliment.

The menu at Twist is familiar and far reaching but in all the right ways. Classics like corn dogs and macaroni and cheese get a funky modern makeover with lots of focus on keeping many ingredients locally sourced. Dinner entrees are incredibly reasonable price wise given the quality of ingredients and the care in the preparation. Having worked in several restaurants around town I have an idea of what goes on behind the scenes and you can always tell when there are people in the kitchen that actually care about the food they are putting out.

While I have to admit I have done more visiting during Happy Hour, my favorite dinner entrees were the “fish and chips” (with amazing rosti potatoes) and the “chicken and waffles” (this wild rice waffle ‘aint yo mamas Bisquick), a must try if you ask me. Now, Happy Hour is a time I know quite well. Focusing again on the locally sourced, Twist enlisted the help of the boys over at the Breckenridge Distillery to create a watermelon infused vodka that flies off the shelves as the main player in their signature Watermelon Vodka Lemonade. It’s the perfect after-work cocktail and, if it’s been a particularly bad day at work, you can kick it up a notch to the Green Tea Martini, a personal favorite of mine.

The food served during Happy Hour is also a great deal for the price and diners will be pleasantly surprised with the softshell crab sandwich, the clam strips (ask for extra tartar sauce, it’s awesome!), sweet potato fries or the shrimp “cocktail” with seaweed salad. Neil and Tom at the bar are great for conversation or a menu recommendation and there is plenty of local flavor around the bar during the after-work rush.

Twist is a welcomed addition to the Breckenridge restaurant scene and given the man in charge isn’t afraid to shake things up a bit, I’m excited to see the menu change with the seasons, a sure way to keep the local foodies interested.

Happiness is a couple of beers in a corner booth

I think people don’t really believe me when I share that hunting for new dive bars is a beloved past time of mine. I guess if I heard that I would assume there were some sort of alcohol issues under the surface but that couldn’t be farther from the truth and the reality is I can’t resist venturing a little bit off the path to root out hidden gems, even if it means driving four hours for a single meal.

Tucked off the highway just outside of Aspen in the valley of the Roaring Fork River is the small town of Woody Creek, an area that has been called home by an ecclectic array of musicians and celebrities from Don Henley and Nancy Pelosi with the most notable being gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

The Woody Creek Tavern is a landmark. Once a favorite watering hole for Thompson and his local buddies, the Tavern has been written up in numerous travel magazines, cited on blogs, talked about on chairlifts around Colorado and heck, even Rachel Ray has credited the bar for dishing up her favorite margarita north of the border.         

When a trusted friend suggested I check it out if I was ever in the Aspen area I took his word and decided to take a four hour drive for a late lunch and a couple of beers, impulsive but very necessary with cabin fever hitting me hard in Breckenridge.

Following the lazy curves of the highway we stumbled on Woody Creek Tavern in the middle of a spring time snow storm. Heavy, wet flakes blanketed fence posts and tree branches making the whole landscape seem eerily quiet, a lovely change of pace from Breckenridge during Spring Break.

Walking through the door my eyes darted from the bar decked out in memorabilia to the walls covered in old pictures and magazine cutouts, all illuminated by a down-right impressive collection of various Christmas lights strewn across the ceiling.

Opting for a corner booth during the lull between lunch and dinner we were some of the only people in the restaurant expect for the few waitresses swapping stories and rolling silverware in preparations for that night’s dinner rush.

Although the fare isn’t exactly cheap for being so tucked away, I remind myself that we were close to Aspen after all so I suck it up and didn’t bother worrying about shelling out $14 for the fish tacos. Twenty minutes later I was kicking myself for even thinking such a thing because the tacos were some of the best I have had, with fresh tasting ingredients and perfectly seasoned fish. 

Jake’s tamales won him over immediately and the portions were generous, which lead to subsequent food coma causing us to take up our booth for a few hours as we casually sipped on our beers and digested over conversation and laughter. It’s no surprise this place has become famous for being a dive, it doesn’t apologize for the over-the-top decor or the laid back attitude and the simplicity of kicking back at staring at old photos is enough to make you want to come back and experience it again in case you missed something the first time.

It was a perfect spur of the moment day, the kind that always remind me  you don’t have to travel very far to completely escape. Next time we are bringing a designated driver so we can test out the famed margaritas.