The O. Zone

Vail scores Elway's steakhouse

By David O. Williams
Real AspenDecember 1, 2011

Elway’s Vail recently in The Lodge at Vail, marking the first time the iconic quarterback’s steakhouse franchise has ventured outside of the Denver metro area. I caught a sneak preview the week before and was blown away by the Colorado rack of lamb, the lobster cocktail for an app and the cocktail cocktails (as in filled-to-the-brim Beefeater martinis — up with olives, of course).

The ktichen crew at Elway's in Vail.

Beforehand, I wasn’t exactly Tebow-ing over the addition of yet another steakhouse to Vail’s restaurant stable (we already have some really good ones), but I was converted by the metamorphosis of the old Wildflower space. That faded alpine-floral-themed space now feels much more urban chic and fits far better with the revitalized Vail Village and its sleek new buildings like Solaris.

Vail’s many guests from the Front Range will feel like they’ve been transplanted from Elway’s other two locations in Cherry Creek and downtown, but the Vail address is smack in the middle of the ski-town action – just steps from the Vista Bahn chairlift.

“In our opinion The Lodge at Vail is the best restaurant location in Vail and we’re excited about aligning our strong Elway’s brand with the powerful brands of Vail and Vail Resorts,” NFL Hall of Famer John Elway said in a press release. “We look forward to serving Vail visitors from all over the world, residents from throughout the Vail Valley, and seeing so many of our Denver guests who ski and vacation in Vail.”

The two-time Super Bowl winner from the late 1990s is perhaps one of the most recognizable Colorado celebrities. As the current executive vice president of football operations for the Denver Broncos, Elway has been at the heart of the national controversy over starting first-round draft pick and fan favorite Tim Tebow, who has the Broncos back in playoff contention this season.

While Elway’s contract as a player likely prohibited him from participating in snow sports, he has a long history of spending quality time in the high country. Once in the 80s he hung out at a bar and watched a broomball tournament in Winter Park where my teammates and I took the title for the local ski-area squad. And he participated in the Colorado Open golf tournament when it was played in the Vail Valley several years ago.

But anyone who’s spent any amount of time in Colorado will most closely identify with his three epic failures in the Super Bowl in the 1980s, followed by the state-wide elation of finally getting it done in the 1990s. In many ways, the state came of age with those victories and shook off its far-flung, cow-town vibe for something much more cosmopolitan and palatable to sensibilities on both coasts.

That’s a fair description of the new Elway’s Vail, too. The bar area, with signature cocktails and more than 350 selections on the wine list (not to mention a stunning new deck that will be revealed in its full glory this spring) will no doubt quickly become an après ski favorite. That scene starts at 2:30 p.m., followed by the dinner hour at 5 p.m.

Call (970) 754-7818 or go to www.elways.com for a reservation.

Editor's note: This blog first appeared on inspirato.com.


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