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The new Surf Hotel in Buena Vista sits right along Buena Vista’s whitewater park — a popular Colorado destination for rafters and kayakers
Surf Hotel [official]

Where to Eat and Drink in Salida and Buena Vista

Summertime in the upper Arkansas River Valley is a Rocky Mountain water sporting paradise

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The new Surf Hotel in Buena Vista sits right along Buena Vista’s whitewater park — a popular Colorado destination for rafters and kayakers
| Surf Hotel [official]

Come summer in Colorado, the mountain towns are touting music festivals, wildflowers, hiking, and camping. Near the headwaters of the Arkansas River, Salida and Buena Vista stand apart from these other Rocky Mountain destinations. During the summer months, the upper Arkansas Valley swells with anglers, rafters, kayakers, and more water seekers, taking advantage of large trout populations or whitewater parks that run right through town.

In Buena Vista, the South Main development has a brand new Surf Hotel and restaurant overlooking the river. In Salida, a more established water scene intersperses bars and restaurants with gear and gift shops along the “shore.” Here are 15 places to drink and dine during a day surfing Colorado.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Simple Eatery & Spoon It Up

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Located inside The Trailhead outdoor gear shop, this soup, salad, sandwich, and pasta counter is good for a healthy, quick bite on the road or before hitting Buena Vista’s water park. There’s local beer and wines as well as build-your-own natural froyo bowls for dessert.

Simple Eatery/Facebook

The Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar

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This tiny beer bar in an 1880s jailhouse is a must-stop if visiting Buena Vista by night. A pair of beer industry veterans curate the tap list, and the space is full of lantern-lit nooks for long, pint-fueled conversations.

Josie Sexton/Eater

House Rock Kitchen

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With its sprawling patio and communal tables, this bowl and burger joint offers a lively atmosphere for a group of friends or family. The menu is easy to navigate for dietary restrictions, and lawn games provide hours of distraction.

House Rock Kitchen [official]

The Asian Palate

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This decade-old sushi restaurant is a sneak spot in the valley for quality fish in a neighborhood setting. Owner and chef Eddie Sandoval based the menu on his Filipino roots and Southeast Asian travels.

The Asian Palate [official]

Deerhammer Distillery

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Though Deerhammer’s spirits can be found at many of the bars in this region, a trip to the distillery is worth it on B.V.’s Main Street. Drinkers can taste the award-winning single malt whiskey or Dutch style gin while grabbing a bite from the Buena Viking food truck.

Deerhammer/Facebook

Surf Hotel & Chateau

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At the brand new Wesley & Rose in the just-built Surf Hotel, drinkers can enjoy a pretty lobby bar and diners can order from the bistro menu. The French digs are matched by charcuterie, steak, and pasta plates.

Josie Sexton/Eater

The Fritz

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Brussels sprouts, truffle fries, and smoked trout are among the menu items at laid-back gastropub The Fritz. When stopping in Salida for one night, it’s the best dinner option.

Josie Sexton/Eater

Currents Restaurant

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A big beer selection, lively patio, and nightly fish specials make this spot sort of like Salida’s seafood shack — only less breezy beach town and more cozy mountain tavern.

Currents/Facebook

The Biker & The Baker

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This is the spot to start an evening in Salida with cheese, charcuterie, and wines by the glass. The sweet setting (see floral wallpaper, couches, acoustic sets) is a new addition to town by the owners of neighboring Sweetie’s Sandwich Shop.

Josie Sexton/Eater

Amicas Pizza Microbrew & More

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Antipasta salads, white pizzas, and root beer floats are among the offerings at this easy diner with an outdoor patio. It’s right of F Street for optimal people watching.

Amicas/Facebook

Little Red Hen Bakery

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Twice weekly wood-fired bagels from the outdoor hearth are served until they run out. Otherwise, daily breads and specials such as cinnamon rolls and cranberry almond swirls are good ways to start the morning.

Josie Sexton/Eater

Taco Del Gnar

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New to Salida is this Telluride and Ridgway favorite with creative taco combinations like Korean short rib, chorizo and tots, and tempura scallop po’ boy. A dinner special comes with any two tacos, cheesy tots, and pork belly-braised beans.

Josie Sexton/Eater

Woods High Mountain Distillery

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Looking for the after party in Salida? It’s probably here, with live music performances and mixed drinks made with house spirits.

Josie Sexton/Eater

Howl Mercantile & Coffee

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This newer downtown Salida store is a hand-picked gift shop with local artists, vintage records, and quality coffee drinks. The bright community table is a good place to sit and plan the day ahead.

Josie Sexton/Eater

50 Burger Shakes & Beer

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Melts, burgers, hot dogs, and boozy milkshakes are the attractions at this roadside stop on Highway 50. For anyone about to get out of Dodge, this is a good last fuel point before the mountains.

50 Burger/TripAdvisor

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Simple Eatery & Spoon It Up

Simple Eatery/Facebook

Located inside The Trailhead outdoor gear shop, this soup, salad, sandwich, and pasta counter is good for a healthy, quick bite on the road or before hitting Buena Vista’s water park. There’s local beer and wines as well as build-your-own natural froyo bowls for dessert.

Simple Eatery/Facebook

The Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar

Josie Sexton/Eater

This tiny beer bar in an 1880s jailhouse is a must-stop if visiting Buena Vista by night. A pair of beer industry veterans curate the tap list, and the space is full of lantern-lit nooks for long, pint-fueled conversations.

Josie Sexton/Eater

House Rock Kitchen

House Rock Kitchen [official]

With its sprawling patio and communal tables, this bowl and burger joint offers a lively atmosphere for a group of friends or family. The menu is easy to navigate for dietary restrictions, and lawn games provide hours of distraction.

House Rock Kitchen [official]

The Asian Palate

The Asian Palate [official]

This decade-old sushi restaurant is a sneak spot in the valley for quality fish in a neighborhood setting. Owner and chef Eddie Sandoval based the menu on his Filipino roots and Southeast Asian travels.

The Asian Palate [official]

Deerhammer Distillery

Deerhammer/Facebook

Though Deerhammer’s spirits can be found at many of the bars in this region, a trip to the distillery is worth it on B.V.’s Main Street. Drinkers can taste the award-winning single malt whiskey or Dutch style gin while grabbing a bite from the Buena Viking food truck.

Deerhammer/Facebook

Surf Hotel & Chateau

Josie Sexton/Eater

At the brand new Wesley & Rose in the just-built Surf Hotel, drinkers can enjoy a pretty lobby bar and diners can order from the bistro menu. The French digs are matched by charcuterie, steak, and pasta plates.

Josie Sexton/Eater

The Fritz

Josie Sexton/Eater

Brussels sprouts, truffle fries, and smoked trout are among the menu items at laid-back gastropub The Fritz. When stopping in Salida for one night, it’s the best dinner option.

Josie Sexton/Eater

Currents Restaurant

Currents/Facebook

A big beer selection, lively patio, and nightly fish specials make this spot sort of like Salida’s seafood shack — only less breezy beach town and more cozy mountain tavern.

Currents/Facebook

The Biker & The Baker

Josie Sexton/Eater

This is the spot to start an evening in Salida with cheese, charcuterie, and wines by the glass. The sweet setting (see floral wallpaper, couches, acoustic sets) is a new addition to town by the owners of neighboring Sweetie’s Sandwich Shop.

Josie Sexton/Eater

Amicas Pizza Microbrew & More

Amicas/Facebook

Antipasta salads, white pizzas, and root beer floats are among the offerings at this easy diner with an outdoor patio. It’s right of F Street for optimal people watching.

Amicas/Facebook

Little Red Hen Bakery

Josie Sexton/Eater

Twice weekly wood-fired bagels from the outdoor hearth are served until they run out. Otherwise, daily breads and specials such as cinnamon rolls and cranberry almond swirls are good ways to start the morning.

Josie Sexton/Eater

Taco Del Gnar

Josie Sexton/Eater

New to Salida is this Telluride and Ridgway favorite with creative taco combinations like Korean short rib, chorizo and tots, and tempura scallop po’ boy. A dinner special comes with any two tacos, cheesy tots, and pork belly-braised beans.

Josie Sexton/Eater

Woods High Mountain Distillery

Josie Sexton/Eater

Looking for the after party in Salida? It’s probably here, with live music performances and mixed drinks made with house spirits.

Josie Sexton/Eater

Howl Mercantile & Coffee

Josie Sexton/Eater

This newer downtown Salida store is a hand-picked gift shop with local artists, vintage records, and quality coffee drinks. The bright community table is a good place to sit and plan the day ahead.

Josie Sexton/Eater

50 Burger Shakes & Beer

50 Burger/TripAdvisor

Melts, burgers, hot dogs, and boozy milkshakes are the attractions at this roadside stop on Highway 50. For anyone about to get out of Dodge, this is a good last fuel point before the mountains.

50 Burger/TripAdvisor

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