Dining with the Best of Them

    by Caitlin Causey

    From early morning to late night, Basalt serves every palate

    Flanked by luxurious upvalley glitz and casual downvalley fun, Basalt is a cozy gem nestled 20 miles from each of these communities--and yet it encompasses the best of both. Food is no exception: whether you’re seeking a quick lunch, a sweet treat, a satisfying burger, sushi, or something in between, Basalt delivers.

    Unhurried mornings on Midland Avenue downtown present an opportunity to experience the Old West at Two Rivers Bar & Café, or a chance to grab a fresh pastry or breakfast sandwich from Saxy’s Cafe. Saxy’s cold-brewed coffee is also perfect for summertime patio sipping. If the crack of dawn finds you on the run, your best bet is midvalley hub Cassie’s Corner Store, where cups of joe to-go are brewed with beans from local craft roasters Rock Canyon Coffee.

    Locals know that any outdoor adventure is best started early, so hit the trails and rivers before noon and return to town with your appetite in tow. Lunchtime in Basalt is a cheery affair with many options: hot subs and specialty pies at Timbo’s Pizza, weekend brunch selections at Cocina del Valle, or creative salads and hefty burgers at Riverside Grill where in warmer months you can dine on the deck and watch the gentle waters of the Fryingpan River. Care for some games with your pizza? Stop by Stubbies Sports Bar & Eatery just off the roundabout from Highway 82.

    For tried and true quality, Whole Foods Market Roaring Fork never fails with its convenient salad bar options, deli  deals, and ever popular pizza-by-the-pound. While you’re there, pick up a little artisanal chevre (a must for any Roaring Fork Valley picnic) by Avalanche Cheese Company, makers of the area’s beloved and award-winning goat cheeses. 

    Whether rainy, shiny, or snowy, afternoons beg for something sweet and creamy. Basalt has several luscious options: Scoops and Cassie’s downtown and Mauka Frozen Yogurt in Willits. Mauka’s natural self-serve yogurts and whimsical toppings (gummy worms and fruity pebbles, anyone?) are sure to delight year-round.

    After burning some calories with a romp in Ruedi Reservoir or a bike ride along the Rio Grande Trail, you will be ready for the day’s culinary grand finale--and dinner experiences in Basalt are diverse and plentiful. Perhaps you’re craving wholesome chicken pot pie at Heather’s Savory Pies and Tapas Bar or fresh sashimi at K’Gen, or maybe you’ve got a taste for trendy American big plates at the Brick Pony Pub or Down Valley Tavern. Or, if it’s rib-sticking goodness you’re after, the home cookin’ at Smoke Modern Barbeque can’t be beat. Many a local Southern transplant has declared its BBQ the real deal. For a bit of international flare, try Bangkok Happy Bowl Thai Bistro & Bar, El Korita, Mariscos Playa Azul, Sushi Ya Go Go to the new Market Street Kitchen featuring crepes and salads with locally sourced food.

    Some nights, call for extra sophistication. With a formidable wine list, seasonal Spanish-Italian dinner menu, and summer veranda and lawn dining, Tempranillo is the undisputed doyenne of downtown. 

    Good eating abounds in the Roaring Fork Valley, and every town undoubtedly has its own micro food culture--but Basalt tops the list whether your taste is modern or traditional, upscale or downhome. 

    For a directory of Basalt Area Chamber of Commerce member restaurants and their locations, visit BasaltChamber.org and click on the “Dining” tab. For more dining options, visit the Basalt Dining Guide at EatBasalt.com.


    photo courtesy > Shayla Groves