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Summit County — Dining


Far and away, Frisco’s best restaurant is Samplings (corner of 4th and Main, 970-668-8466; $$–-$$$$). Dining here is like a wine tasting event. Choose gourmet dishes from six categories, all served on salad-size plates to taste and share (or not). Wines come from an impressive collection by the bottle, by the glass, or by the flight. A 20-foot-long community table adds to the fun and friendship that comes with sharing meals. There’s conventional seating, of course, in the casual rustic digs, as well as a library where you can read up on cuisine and Colorado outdoor life. It opens at 2 p.m., just in time for the apres-ski crowd. The sampling concept makes eating and drinking here an adventure, like the winter sports we love to do. The owner also owns The Cellar in Breckenridge (see Breckenridge).

Blue Spruce Inn (20 Main St., 970-668-5900; $$$) is in an historic log cabin. Entrees include such dishes as veal picatta, steak Diane, and lamb chops with pesto. At the waiter’s recommendation, we tried a special of the night, antelope served in blueberry sauce. Moist and tender, it was superb. The atmosphere is intimate and inviting. It definitely deserves to be at the top of anyone’s dining list. Reservations recommended.

The ’90s bistro atmosphere at The Boatyard Pizzeria and Grill (304 Main, 970-668-4728; $–$$) complements an extensive a la Carte menu that includes some of the best salad entrees in the county. Also serves specialty pizzas, pastas and American favorites. Ask to be seated in the back, away from the front-door draft.

Silverheels at the Ore House (603 Main St., 970-668-0345; $$–$$$; above) is a century-old dance hall legend with a history. Lady Silverheels brought smiles and solace to many an early miner. This restaurant brings much of the same to its patrons with fine Southwestern fare in the form of steaks and chops, seafood and to-die-for desserts like mud pie and Mexican caramel flan. Don’t miss the tequila shots.

Farley’s Chophouse (423 Main St.; 970-668-3733; $$) is famous for its prime rib and signature steak Filet Farley, but also serves chops, chicken and seafood.

With more and more Mexicans moving to the county, authentic Mexican restaurants are popping up and Fiesta Jalisco (450 W. Main, 970-668-5043; $$) is a good one; also in Dillon and Breckenridge. But the one locals are loving is Carlos Miguel’s (720 N. Summit Blvd.; $-$$; 970-668-4900). It’s fresh, fine Mexican food—tableside-prepared guacamole, ceviche de camaron, cochinita pibil—at affordable prices.

A great family food spot is A-Train Bistro and Pizzeria (970-668-4448; $-$$) one block off Main St. on Creekside Drive. We love the hand-tossed gourmet pizzas, but there’s also a nice selection of salads, pastas and meat and fish entrees. They do take-out too. More family dining is at Po’ Boys Cajun Cookin’ and Sports Bar (620 Main St.; 970-668-2233; $-$$). The usual gumbo, jambalaya and etoufee share the menu with original Louisiana specialties. Great desserts.

For good budget eats (Frisco has a lot of them), Deli Belly’s (275 Main St.; $) has giant sandwiches. At Woody’s (409 Main St; $) chow down on half-pound burgers, Chicago-style hot dogs and grilled chicken breasts. Moosejaw (208 Main St.; 668-3931; $) has been around since 1973, so it’s gotta be good. If hot homemade soup sounds good after a cold day, take out a quart or three from Mi Zuppa in the Safeway shopping center on Summit Boulevard. In the same center, Food Hedz World Cafe (970-668-2000; $) offers an eclectic menu for the world’s peoples. Locals eat here too.

Quite a few Internet Cafes are sprinkled around Summit County. Frisco Internet Cafe (319 Main St.; 970-668-0971) is a good one with camera card readers, CD burners and more.

Halfway between Frisco and Breckenridge, in an area called Farmer’s Korner, are neighboring restaurants that are quite different. The Blue River Inn (970-547-9928; $) is a no-frills local hangout with great burgers, inexpensive draft beers and a 10-ounce sirloin that is probably still less than $10. The Swan Mountain Inn (970-453-7903; $$$) at the intersection of Hwy. 9 and Swan Mountain Rd. offers an elegant, nightly four-course meal in a seven-table dining room with a fireplace. The inn also has a weekend brunch.


Dillon & Silverthorne:

A sea of fast-food chains pepper this area. But if you look (and follow this guide), you can find a few nice joints. A good choice for finer dining is Ristorante Al Lago (240 Lake Dillon, 970-468-6111; $$). A large selection of range-fed veal shares the menu with imported pasta dishes, chicken entrees and seafood—all expertly prepared in Northern Italian style. Reliable food and service at the family-owned Arapahoe Cafe and Pub (626 Lake Dillon; 970-468-0873; $$) have made it a traditional favorite in Summit County since 1945. The building is one of many that were saved when the reservoir was created.

For more casual dining in Dillon, try the Dillon Dam Brewery (970-262-7777;$-$$), which lives up to its slogan, “the best dam brewery in town.” Get your name in early; the place jams on weekends. Pug Ryan’s (Dillon town center, 970-468-2145; $–$$) is fantastic for steaks and microbrewed beer. Wild Bill’s Stone Oven Pizza (Dillon town center, 970-468-2006; $) is a hit for—what else?—stone-oven pizzas. Old Chicago Restaurant (970-468-6200; $–$$; right) with 110 different beers and great happy hours is at Four Points by the Sheraton Hotel. Jersey Boys (149 Tenderfoot; 970-513-1087; $-$$) prepares “east-coast style” pizza and sandwiches to order, as well as other dinner dishes.

City Market serves as anchor for the Dillon Ridge Market Place. But a couple of good eateries here are worth trying. Masato’s (970-262-6600; $-$$$) is an excellent Japanese restaurant and sushi bar (also in Avon, near Vail) and Maxwell St. Grill & Pizzeria (970-262-2020; $-$$), serving pizza, pasta and Chicago-style hot Italian sandwiches. There is also a Starbucks, if you need your fix (also in Breckenridge & Frisco).

In Silverthorne, you can cook your own meat over an open grill at The Historic Mint (347 Blue River Pkwy., 970-468-5247; $$). Or enjoy Tex-Mex food at Old Dillon Inn (970-468-2791; $), which was relocated from the old town of Dillon just before it was flooded to create the lake. Ti Amo ($-$$$), our fave for Italian, has moved way north in Silverthorne near Target on Hwy. 9. The Italian owners keep the food authentic and consistently good. It’s one of few Italian diners where we found gnocchi, and it’s great!

For budget diners, the Summit Place Shopping Center on Hwy. 6 on the Dillon-Silverthorne border has several good restaurants, including Sunshine Cafe (970-468-6663; $), jammed with locals; and Nick-N-Willy’s (970-262-1111; $) for very good bake-your-own take-out pizza.


The Arapahoe Cafe ($), is a huge favorite with locals. The service is great, the menu names are creative (Arapahuevos Rancheros, Hans and Franz Power Breakfast, etc.) and eavesdropping on the other tables will fill you in on local politics.

Definitely in the running for the Best Breakfast title are Sunshine Cafe (Summit Place Shopping Center, $) and Log Cabin Cafe (Main St., $) in Frisco.

For those who prefer a lighter breakfast, head for the Butterhorn Bakery (408 W. Main St.; $) in Frisco. Across the street is Pika Bagel Bakery ($). In Silverthorne try Blue Moon Baking Company (Summit Place Shopping Center; $) or Mountain Lyon Cafe (Blue River Pkwy.; $).
Dining Legend: $$$$–Entrees $30+; $$$–$20–$30; $$–$10–$20; $–less than $10