Stroll down the very walkable Breckenridge downtown.
OK, so by now you might know that Breckenridge is commonly referred to as Breck. Call it Breck and you’re halfway to becoming a local. Well, almost.
As much as Breck has experienced tremendous growth within the past couple of decades, it fortunately still maintains a strong local vibe. This makes the dining and drinking scene all the more real. You’ll have to look hard to find a chain restaurant here. Instead, you can enjoy many delightful moments within spaces oozing with local character and charm.
The Motherloaded Tavern is a good place for lunch, happy hour, dinner—just about anytime you’re hankering for some of mom’s home cookin’ in a fun, kitsch-y décor. Food offerings such as deviled eggs, southern fried okra and juicy 100% Black Angus burgers served with matchstick fries fill the void from having spent time out hiking, biking, skiing or yes, even shopping. Be sure to scope out their main dining room, their bar/lounge in the back and their rear patio.
If you read “Eat, Pray, Love” then the zaaaa at Giampietro Pizzeria & Pasta is perhaps how you envisioned the luscious pizza-eating scene in Naples. Pizza here tastes so delicious that you will want to pick it up with your hands and you won’t care if the juice rolls down your chin. Giampietro offers lots of terrific pasta dishes to choose from as well along with freshly made salads. It feels like an Old World trattoria where you dine on red-and-white checked tablecloths on tables that practically spill out-of-doors in the summer. Top your meal off with a tiramisu; like most everything else here, it’s homemade, memorable and reasonably priced. Be sure to put your name on the list and then have a drink somewhere until you’re beeped. No sense in waiting in the line that typically forms at their door. Fortunately they recently expanded but so has their business.
While waiting for a table in a Main Street restaurant (many don’t take reservations ahead of time), you could stop into The Gold Pan Saloon, an old watering hole that has been whetting folks’ whistles since 1879. Situated in the most historic end of town, walking into this dark, no frills saloon surely makes you feel like you’ve landed in the Old West. Belly up to the oldest bar in Breckenridge, order a beer and breathe in the flavor of this mining/ski town outpost. If you’re lucky, there will even be a bit of acoustic guitar.
Also at this end of town, go to Briar Rose Chophouse and Saloon for an elegant meal. This landmark restaurant specializes in the finest aged beef and fresh wild game. It’s a dimly-lighted, white-tablecloth establishment that’s perfect for romantic dinners out on the town.
Hearthstone Restaurant, set back from Main Street, also offers a fine dining experience. Step into this old Victorian house made even more endearing with red velvet curtains, wood floors and an old rickety staircase that leads upstairs for a memorable evening. Their patio, which affords beautiful mountain views, is a lovely place to go during the summer. Like many of the other restaurants in town, they offer a nice happy hour menu replete with special drink prices and small plates.
For a more contemporary dining experience that showcases more innovative cuisine, go to Modis on Main Street. They often have music as well.
If you’re into sports and/or you have the kids in tow, go to Eric’s where you can choose from an extensive menu of food items, drinks and entertainment, all at moderate prices.
Phoreal–near the gondola–specializes in Vietnamese fast food. If you like noodles and a symphony of exotic flavors, this is a good place for you. It’s also a great way to warm up after a day on the slopes.
Looking to venture off of the busy-ness of Main Street? Go to Cool River Coffeehouse & Café, a lovely establishment along the River Walk for breakfast and lunch. There’s also Cuppa Joe, a sunny venue that serves up all kinds of specialty coffees, baked goods and burritos until mid afternoon. It’s a nice, casual meeting place where you don’t have to worry about being rushed out. Settle into a couch or sit down at a table and chill for a while.
Daylight Donuts is another local’s favorite. It’s a chain restaurant unlike any other. For example, the scene feels authentic and they only take cash.
Enjoy real French pastries, breads, sandwiches and crêpes at La Française French Bakery; they also feature many spots to sit and enjoy their delectable goods. In the summer, you can even eat outside by the river. Breakfasts here are the talk of the town, most likely because their omelets are served with a huge piece of crunchy baguette. Crêpes a la Carte, another perennial favorite with a French flair, also does a booming business. All this started out of a little trailer! Take a crêpe to go and find a good spot to savor it on or off Main Street.
Still haven’t satisfied that sweet tooth? Head over to Stir-Pan Creamery where you can enjoy a crazy different type of ice cream that has been mixed up, rolled and served in an entirely new way. Or at least new to most westerners. It’s a Thai thing. Yum!
You can do some good drinking in many of the above establishments, however, for some real sipping go to Breckenridge Distillery, a happening place that has become a real fixture in Breck. Here you can taste their spirits, tour, shop and now even eat in their restaurant that features modern American cuisine. Breckenridge Brewery, another favorite, will satisfy you with handcrafted Colorado ales and savory pub food.
Wine aficionados need not feel left out because the Continental Divide Winery allows you to taste (and purchase) wines from Colorado as well as California. Sometimes the branding rivals the taste. How about a 2018 Haulin’ Ass Rosé, a salute to Fairplay’s burro days? Gotta love that Colorado spirit.
Pick up a couple of bottles of wine then head over to The Cheese Shop for charcuterie, sandwiches and, of course, cheese to assemble a delectable picnic. Enjoy it out on the trail or back in your place of lodging fireside. Either way, everything always tastes better in the mountains, particularly when you’re enjoying quality products, of which there are many in Breck.