The O. Zone

Nobu may be coming to Vail; Elway looks to score there too

By David O. Williams
Real AspenApril 1, 2011
Word on the street has famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa opening a restaurant in Solaris at Vail this summer.

Matsuhisa Aspen is world-famous for its gourmet Japanese seafood and sushi, and the great chef also has restaurants in Malibu, Tokyo, Nassau (Bahamas), New York and Beverly Hills, Calif.

We'll see if Nobu's pans out in Vail. But what Vail will have that Aspen won't is Elway's restaurant.

The Hall of Fame NFL quarterback and his business partner plan to open a third Elway’s restaurant in Vail by the end of the year. The Denver Post’s Penny Parker broke the story yesterday morning and the Vail Daily followed up.

Both of the papers reported the restaurant will take over an existing space, probably in Vail Village. Fresh from the restaurant rumor mill – and for what it’s worth – I’m hearing that space will be in the Wildflower at the Lodge at Vail.

That would be interesting given the heavy, highly manly décor of Elway’s steakhouses in both Cherry Creek and the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Denver. The Wildflower has a light, alpine ambiance that’s lovely and blends well with one of Vail’s most venerable lodging properties, but it’s a little lost in a bygone resort era (think Tavern on the Green in Central Park) – especially in a ski town striving for new-millennium relevance and vibrancy.

Elway's isn't, however, looking to score an address in Aspen.

"Vail has cachet. Vail is as accessible as you can get for Denver and the world. If you go farther out, other ski towns are harder to get to," Elway's business partner Tim Schmidt told The Denver Post.

While many Colorado football fans likely care more about Elway’s ability to turn around the sad-sack Denver Broncos as the team’s new executive vice president of football operations, I think his restaurant will be a great addition to the Vail dining scene, which has been taking some hits lately for a certain sameness and pricey predictability.
John Elway

The fantastically redone Vail Village deserves some new, iconic dining experiences. Just consider a splash of color and a little bit of a mountain motif in the Vail Elway’s, John. Now go out and draft a dominant pass-rushing defensive end.

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