From legacy establishments to brand new breweries, there’s never been a better time to eat and drink off Exit 205.
By Rachel Walker
If The Bakers’ Brewery is a case study, support for new endeavors abounds. After working in Summit County’s restaurant industry for 22 years, including six years as brewmaster at Dillon Dam Brewery, Cory Forster wanted his own operation. He knew it would involve impeccable beer and freshly made, delicious, healthy food. And it would be located in Silverthorne where he could capture the myriad visitors traveling through. When an old Village Inn adjacent to Interstate 70 became available, he knew he’d found his place.
“Silverthorne has grown and grown and grown” says Forster, who opened The Bakers’ Brewery in 2015 with business partner Stephanie Sadler. “The population is booming, and [when we were planning for Bakers’] there were hour-long waits at other breweries. I knew we could do well.”
Forster and Sadler convened a group of about 30 investors (mainly Summit County locals and family members), completed a comprehensive remodel, and opened The Bakers’ Brewery with a menu offering “elevated pub fare.” Think hand-cut French fries and hand breaded fish and chips with blueberry tarter sauce, along with homemade green chili and freshly baked bread—and signature brews. Baker’s quickly cultivated a devoted following.
Even as the newcomers carve out space in the culinary landscape, the more established joints continue to thrive. More options are good for everyone, says Richard of Dillon Dam Brewery. And she’s confident her establishment will continue to thrive even amidst more competition.
It’s easy to be confident when your brewery wins myriad prestigious awards, as Dillon Dam Brewery has. Sweet George’s Brown has placed several times in the top three in the World Beer Cup, and other varietals have placed in the Great American Beer Festival. As new breweries and restaurants come into the area, it’s important to distinguish themselves, advises Richard. Dillon Dam Brewery is known for its exceedingly family-friendly ambience (kids love the treasure chest and parents love the kids menu), stunning sunset views (from inside, so patrons can admire the Colorado sky without freezing in winter), and an extensive menu. More than anything, Richard credits the staff with the brewery’s longevity and success.
“In this community, we’ve always been about raising one another up,” she says. “And it really feels like the area’s time has come.” Which is probably why Richard is quick to highlight the “amazing” Italian fare at nearby Adriano’s or to give props to Silverthorne’s spacious and modern Sauce on the Blue, a classic Italian restaurant that opened in 2016. There’s also Dillon’s Café Profusion, the world’s highest gluten-free fusion restaurant where the ribs come rubbed with a spice that blends flavors from North Africa and China before braising overnight in a marinade of pomegranate molasses, apple cider, and chicken stock (homemade, of course), adding to the eclectic mix.
“They call Colorado the Napa Valley of beer,” says Pug Ryan’s Holton, “but the dining scene is so much bigger than just craft breweries.”
Classic Italian on the Blue
Tim Applebaum (above) and his wife Deb relocated to Summit County about five years ago from Connecticut to pursue the outdoor lifestyle and immerse themselves in a new community. They wanted to start their own business but waited for the right idea to strike. Last year it did—with Shervin Rashidi and several other investors, the riverside restaurant Sauce on the Blue opened its doors, offering delectable cuisine plus more than 130 wine and 100 whiskey/bourbon options.
The restaurant started serving in summer 2016 and is adjacent to the Silverthorne Pavilion. “The response has exceeded our expectations,”
Applebaum says. “The town has completely embraced us and welcomed us into the community.”
No surprise, considering all Sauce on the Blue offers. There’s live music every Sunday at happy hour, prix fixe dinners with wine pairings on the first Tuesday of every month, small pour flights that allow patrons to sample myriad varietals, and more.
Diners can order individual servings or family-style meals, and the food—classic Italian fare—is made from fresh, natural ingredients. Applebaum says Silverthorne’s strategic location has allowed Sauce to strike a balance between enticing hungry tourists and catering to the year-round population. Wedding parties regularly host rehearsal dinners at the restaurant, and the restaurant’s catering division, All Events Catering, has also grown as a result of Sauce on the Blue’s success.
But as satisfying as the restaurant’s strong debut has been, Applebaum says carving out his place in the Silverthorne community has been equally enriching. “I’ve been a skier my entire life,” he says. “But this is the first time I’ve lived among people who have molded their entire lives around skiing and camping and hiking and jeeping. They’re really impressive and dedicated, and I’m proud to be a part of what they—what we—do.”