Those who think the Silverthorne and Frisco exits off I-70 only lead to gas stations, ski resorts, and Lake Dillon aremissing out on an up-and-coming dining scene. What’s unique about this cluster of towns — Dillon, Silverthorne, Frisco, Keystone, and Breckenridge — is that it’s the red-hot beer landscape that’s driving up the quality of the food. Stop and discover what’s to come.Read More
Where To Eat and Drink in Summit County, Colorado
Five mountain towns form one intertwined dining scene
1. Carnicería La Perla
Dillon, CO 80435
If the mark of a legit Mexican food restaurant is its salsa bar, then Carniceria La Perla, a no-frills mercado with a restaurant in the back, wins big. Order street tacos, menudo (weekends only), and tortas at the counter and then dress them up with the array of radishes, onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and red and green salsas.
2. Angry James Brewery
A.J. Brinkerhoff and Darcy Brinkerhoff got their start brewing beer in their Denver garage and eventually brought their passion to Summit County. When the husband-wife team opened Angry James in Silverthorne in January 2018, it was the culmination of several years of planning, build-out, and resume-building. Now visitors can taste that handiwork in suds like the coffee-forward Two Tone Footer Stout and the tart and dry Bavarian Blonde. Order beet sliders and pulled pork Cubans from the Cultivate Kitchen window inside the brewery.
3. Sauce on the Blue
Diners need reservations at this Italian spot, especially on the weekends. It’s here that everyone flocks for crispy Brussels sprouts, fritti eggplant towers, and red sauce dishes like spaghetti and meatballs. The food is good but it’s the friendly vibe and the bar that functions like a well-oiled machine that really draws the crowds. Those who can’t get in can stop by for lunch and on summer days sit outside on the patio by the Blue River.
4. Cafe ProFusion
It’s easy to overlook this tiny restaurant above the Dillon laundromat. But doing so would mean missing out on the area’s best Thai and Asian-inspired food. The menu is as small as the space (there are only 14 seats) but it’s mighty with choices like tangy lemongrass soup, seductive chicken in green curry, and pot roast panang. Get there early, or plan on ordering takeout.
5. The Argentos Empanadas & More
Before Argentos opened in late 2017, Summit County didn’t know it needed an empanada spot. But now the small restaurant, which serves a dozen varieties of the hand-held pastries (don’t miss the chorizo or mushroom) and a few iconic Argentinean entrées each day, has knit itself into Silverthorne’s fabric. Dine in and discover the housemade chimichurri, jalapeño, and chipotle sauces that sit on each table. And don’t leave without an alfajor, a sandwich cookie filled with dulce de leche.
6. Inxpot Coffeehouse
Inxpot Coffeehouse in River Run at the base of the Keystone gondola is the place to know whether hitting the slopes or not. This hybrid bookstore-coffeeshop also serves breakfast, lunch, and cocktails. It’s a busy place so know it’s best to decide what to order before walking through the door. Eater Denver’s go-to: the garden bowl (served 7 a.m. to noon) with scrambled egg, breakfast potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, roasted veggies, avocado, and jack cheddar cheese. Ask for a side of spicy salsa.
7. Outer Range Brewing Company
Outer Range’s In The Steep New England–style IPA is what put this Frisco brewery on the map, but customers can hardly go wrong with any of the hazy IPAs. The brewery is so small-batch that the best plan is to talk to the bartenders and taste whatever’s on tap. Food is BYOF but on the weekends the Cheese Love Grill food truck slings griddled sandwiches (gluten free-ers can ask for theirs wrapped in lettuce) and loaded fries in the parking lot.
8. Pure Kitchen
Fans of True Food Kitchen in Cherry Creek (and beyond) will also find a friend in Pure Kitchen. Clean ingredients, many of which are organic, make up a menu that ranges from superfood salads and tempeh Reubens to forbidden rice noodle bowls. Here’s a hint: Add gin to the Green Machine juice for an almost-good-for-you cocktail.
9. HighSide Brewing
When Frisco’s longtime Backcountry Brewery closed its doors in November 2017, suds lovers waited until May 2018 for local brewing legend David Axelrod to open HighSide. Within days it was clear that the wait had been worth it as the spacious location filled with patrons anxious to try brews like Smash IPA, a Baltic porter, and a cucumber IPA. The idea here is to push the boundaries just a bit and see what happens. And with Connect Four and giant Jenga, flatbread pizzas, and root beer on tap, HighSide is also a fun place to bring the kids.
10. Taqueria (at The Clubhouse)
Try looking up Taqueria online and you might have hard time finding it. This taco spot sits downstairs (street level) from its sister the Clubhouse, Frisco’s cocktail and sport lounge. Order gussied up tacos such as the spicy southwest barbecue chicken or chimichurri steak, but don’t miss the Mexican street corn, which is grilled and then smothered with salt, chile powder, butter, Cotija, lime juice, and crema fresca.
11. Broken Compass Brewing
The Broken Compass’ free shuttle to and from Breck’s beloved taproom has to be the smartest business move ever. Call 970-406-2011 for a ride from noon to 8 p.m. daily. Those lucky enough to find the Fabulously Delicious Finely Hopped Brown (FDFH) on tap when should order it. As the shuttle and the Monday night potlucks attest, this brewery is all about fostering community.
12. Coffee & Waves
Breckenridge, CO 80424
Each morning, locals make a run to this red food truck in the Breckenridge Distillery’s parking lot for hot coffee and breakfast burritos. The bulletproof coffee (with ghee or coconut oil) and vegan black bean and sweet potato burritos are especially noteworthy, but don’t forget about the freshly baked muffins, coffee cake, and scones. Coffee and Waves opens at 7 each morning, although if it’s a powder day, check Instagram to make sure it’s open.
13. Breckenridge Distillery Restaurant
Since it opened in 2016, the Breck Distillery has been bringing big-city eats to Summit County in the form of forward-thinking restaurant design, flavorful shared plates, and “liquid chef” Billie Keithley’s boozy craft cocktails. Drop in at the bar or make reservations at the chef’s counter for a bird’s-eye view. Beer and wine drinkers take note: The distillery only serves what it makes: whiskey, gin, vodka, rum.
14. Robbie's Tavern
Hungry riders (and in the summer, hikers and bikers) make their way to Robbie’s Tavern for comfort food like Thai-spiced chicken drummies, spicy green chile, and blackened salmon sandwiches at the base of Peak 8. Home to one of Breck’s best slopeside patios, complete with a fire table and extensive beer and cocktail lists, Robbie’s is the ideal spot for lunch or après—or both—anytime of year.
15. Après Handcrafted Libations
Après — and its solid list of craft cocktails and craft beer — is just the place to begin or end the evening. Grab a table and a board game, order a perfectly made Vieux Carré or beer flight, and settle in for a serious game of Scrabble or Apples To Apples. The only drawback is that aside from popcorn, there’s no food on site. Remedy that situation by bringing in your own.
16. Aurum Breckenridge
When Aurum opened last summer, it didn’t just come to town (the original location is in Steamboat) to capture the tourist traffic. Instead, owner Phillips Armstrong and chef Korey Sims examined what the town really needed. They settled on a menu deep in excellent crudos, appetizers like crispy curried cauliflower and spicy Korean fried chicken, and hearty entrées such as honey-spiced duck and a bang-up burger. The strong menu, just-right vibe, and Sims’ skill in the kitchen means Aurum is busy seven nights a week.