Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Mountain States >
Dec 12, 2011 10:27 AM

Driving from Denver Int'l to Vail

Any suggestions for places to stop on enroute for lunch?

I remember seeing about half way through this drive there is a small restaurant all by itself, down a hill from I-70. It seems like a bbq/smokehouse type of place. I believe it was near where there is a colourful overhead sign on I-70 that I think said "Colorado Springs".
If anyone knows which restaurant I'm thinking about, could you please comment if it's worthwhile stopping here and if so, what exit is it?

Also wondering if someone could help me out with regards to the Costo that I see from I-70 from the drive from Denver Int'l to Vail. Maybe around Silverthorne area???
If you could please tell me which "city" this is considered or if you know the interstate exit # that would be great.
Wondering if you think the steaks at this Costco are good... or if you could suggest where else in Vail to purchase good steaks.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think you are thinking of Kermits- at the hwy 6 junction with I-70, at the bottom of the big descent from Denver. Never eaten there, never been tempted. Near Idaho Springs, it's doubtful that you'd see a CO Springs sign heading west on I-70.

    As far as I know, there's not a costco between Vail and Denver- there's one in Gypsum, but that's west of Vail.

    1. I do this drive a lot but typically don't stop along the way (unless nature calls).

      I know there is a good BBQ place in Idaho Springs called Smokin' Yards BBQ. It is closer to Denver than Vail but a very "local" place (as are most places along the way).

      Silverthorne is a bit of a "bigger" town (Target - Outlet Malls - etc) so there are a few more food options there and more chains (depending on what you're looking for). Again, the drive is about 3 hours (+/- depending) so I don't typically stop for food.

      The Costco you see while driving I believe is in Arvada technically, exit 269 I'm guess from a quick look at google maps. The only other Costco is in Gypsum as mentioned. It is technically at the end of the runway for the Eagle Airport (if you're looking on a map). It takes about 20-30 minutes to drive there from Vail (west of Vail so you don't pass it on the way).

      The steaks at Costco I like. The Eagle/Gypsum Costco has had Prime beef during the holidays in the past but not always (as Costco is always hit and miss). I bought a Prime Rib Roast 2 years ago that was awesome.

      As far as other places to buy steak in vail . . . . we have City Market . . .LOL. In Edwards there is a place called Cut. It is owned by the same people that own "Eat Drink" and "Dish" (and it is next door to those as well). They have good meat and seafood but if you want something specific I would call ahead and make sure they have it or have ordered it (and ask about price, they aren't always reasonable in my opinion). (no info on their site other than address and phone).

      Oh - there is also a Whole Foods on the way. It is in "Denver" (technically Golden) right off 70 on the left just before you start climbing the mountains. I know, expensive and not everyone likes Whole Foods. But it is an options and they do have good beef (IMO).

      1 Reply
      1. re: thimes

        Agreed - you're thinking of Kermits and it probably said Idaho Springs rather than Colorado Springs as the exit is just before Idaho Springs.

        I was also going to suggest Cut for meat in Vail Valley.

        Tommyknocker Brewery and Beau Jo's are thoughts for food en route and both are in Idaho Springs. I've never eaten at Beau Jo's but it's kind of a Colorado institution.

      2. C&C, Thimes and Robyn nailed it, got to be Kermits. On Sundays its a great place to park your Harley.

        The closest Costco, other then the one at the east end of the Eagle Airport (EGE) is Arvada as Thimes wrote. The meat at the EGE Costco is very good, but the City Market lamb (Superior label) and young chicken (Redbird label) is probably better. The EGE Costco's lamb has been all Aussie and has a slight mutton taste. Superior is very good and is Colorado lamb.

        The liquor store attached to the EGE Costco is an independent, Colorado liquor laws restrict supermarkets ability to sell wine. That said, the EGE Costco store has very good deals on wine, particularly between $12 and $25 a bottle. We no longer have to stock up on our Denver trips at Applejack since they have been open.

        So, if you have a vehicle, I think you can do as well at Costco and City Market in the Valley as the traditional stop at the Youngfield King Super and Applejack.

        Beau Jo's is OK if you don't expect traditional pizza.

        7 Replies
        1. re: BlueOx

          Thank you all (C+C,Thimes, Robyn and BlueOx) for your help.
          Yes, it sounds like Kermit is the place that I was thinking but with no "gotta go" comments I will pass.

          From Denver Int'l I will only be renting a car for 1 day, getting myself to Vail plus the grocery shopping and returning the car to EGE the following day. Worked out a lot cheaper doing it this way for 2 of us than taking the CME shuttle. ECO bus back to Vail. Just hope the road conditions will be good that day.

          I think I'll stop by the Costco in Arvada as it's enroute to Vail.... and have my "gourmet" lunch there (hot dog???)

          The Superior Label lamb, I assume from CO would be sold in the fresh meat area?

          I noticed that people mention City Market as oppose to Safeway... is it a much better supermarket?

          BlueOx: i enjoy reading your comments on this board.

          1. re: minto

            Car rentals during the holidays are insane and I'm always amazed at the CME price. I think it is ONLY cheaper for 2 people to take CME (both ways) during the Christmas week. The rest of the year it is cheaper to rent a car for a couple of days. But I digress. . . .

            Be sure to check the ECO bus schedule and take the express bus to Vail (there is another one that makes a lot of stops along Highway 6 and just takes a lot longer to get back from the airport).

            The road should be fine, at least from Vail to EGE - the passes getting to vail are a bit of a crap shoot. They will either be fine or horrible. Just go slow and give yourself room - and watch out for the turn at the bottom of the hill just before you get to Idaho Springs. Even in the summer people don't realize how sharp that turn is.

            City Market and Safeway are right next to each other in West Vail. City Market has been there longer. Honestly I don't know about the difference as I typically shop in Avon (down valley a little).

            1. re: thimes

              Thanks for the tips Thime.
              I managed to get a 1 day rate for under $70 taxes included for a full size car with a drop off in EGE for early January which I thought was a great rate.
              As I will be staying in Vail for 3 weeks this time around, I wanted a car to do a major grocery trip before having to do it by bus.

              1. re: minto

                I'm not sure the dates you are in town but if you are around towards the end of January - Beaver Creek has their "Food Festival" weekend Jan 28th. I know Vail and Beaver Creek don't always "mix" well for some (its a local thing) but just figured I'd let you know.

                I would normally recommend the event without reservations (the Grand Tasting is Saturday night) however this year they have changed from being co-sponsored by Bon Appetit to Food and Wine. I don't know if this changed happened late in the planning game or if Beavercreek is just changing the "mood" of the event but in my opinion the caliber of the chefs and the theme of the other events seems to have gone . . . . south. So I'm skeptical, but will be there again for the event as I have loved it in the past.

                1. re: thimes

                  unfortunately I'll be leaving before then.

                  I'lll be back throughout the season though.
                  What are your thoughts on the Taste of Vail in April? The "picnic" event at the top of the mountain?

                  1. re: minto

                    I have been to the Taste of Vail. I enjoyed it, it was very sunny the last time I was at that event - always fun.

                    I'll try to be diplomatic about events in the valley. I do enjoy them and they are fun diversions from the regular routine. That said they aren't always the best "value" (as little is in the valley). Along the same lines, the same event from year to year can change dramatically in quality and value. They also have a rough time estimating how many people are going to show, so some years an event is enjoyable and the next year it can be so crowded that it is just unpleasant. While I'm sure the organizers are thrilled from the revenue it can really make you not want to go to the event again. So its hard to make a blanket statement about an event.

            2. re: minto

              Minto: If I were you, since you're coming from DIA and driving right past Denver en route to Arvada Costco and DIA, as long as you're not in a huge hurry I'd take a quick detour into Denver for lunch. No sense starting off a vacation with a Costco hot dog! There are a zillion good lunch options that would probably only take you 20 minutes out of your way.

              If you'd rather not detour to Denver, then my personal favorite stop en route to Vail is Chimayo in Silverthorne. Fast casual burritos and tacos (Chipotle style), but they specialize in fish and they're excellent. There's also a Smashburger in Silverthorne, which is great for a burger fix. Both are good driving food. Not fancy, but tasty.

          2. Might want to look into Q4U in Frisco. I enjoyed multiple visits when I traveled that area on business, and that's saying a bunch coming from this Texas boy.

            1. If you like authentic diners, Jenny's is not to be missed on the way from Denver to Vail (people actually time their travel on the I-70 to correspond to Jenny's opening days and hours). The people working there are wonderful, the atmosphere is perfect, the food is very good and the pies are awesome (and we don't typically like pies).
              Jenny’s tel. 303-569-2570 (to make sure that they are open before you get off the I-70).

              Jenny's Restaurant
              4 W Park Ave, Empire, CO 80438

              1 Reply
              1. re: aledm

                Kermits is a dive, but good. Get a bowl of green chili to share. And yeah, if weather permits, make way for the harley's. In Vail, the shuttle bus is free and goes to City Market at west Vail. If you want to avoid bad crowds on vail mtn, (but half the mtn isn't even open right now - I was there last week - the back bowls aren't open. booooooo) head to the back bowls - Belle's camp specifically. It's a little cabin that serves hot food, and they have a public grill. I had one of the most romantic lunches of my life there - met a ski instructor, he packed bratwurst, buns, radish salad and ciders and we made lunch up there and enjoyed my gorgeous state. Yum. Come back when we have more snow.