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To round out the report of our quick trip at the end of 2013 to ski in Aspen, I wanted to share a little bit about the family friendly joints we ate at in town. This may seem tangential to a travel/miles and points blog (and maybe it is), but if you are anything like me then eating out is not only a necessity at times when you are on the road, but it is something that can be a pretty fun part of the trip. If you want to read the rest of the report from our trip to Aspen, here are the previous posts:
Even though the first images in your head when someone says Aspen might be of a hangout for the rich and famous, the reality is that there are lots of families who look just like us skiing and eating at the restaurants we visited. Maybe they are gazillionaires in their real lives, but at dinner they just look like tired, warmly dressed, skiing families.
We walked into this Italian joint without reservations for dinner during the busy season between Christmas and New Year’s, and as you likely would guess, we had a bit of a wait for a table. This was a very lively and busy casual joint, but the staff was all very nice and kept us in the loop on how long the wait would be. That said, I suggest making a reservation.
The food here was pretty good, but what sold me on the place was that they let kids make their own pizzas. They bring out the sauce, cheese, and whatever ingredients your kid wants and let them go to town.
I think you normally get a paper chef’s hat to wear while you make your pizza, but we missed out on that part of the production. Still, it was really fun for our daughter to “make” her own pizza. After she had arranged the toppings, they cooked it and brought it right back for her to enjoy!
The name of J Bar may scare you off from bringing the kids, but when we went there for lunch one day the place couldn’t have been better for us. It is short for “Jerome Bar” and is located in the historic Hotel Jerome. The bar is not just a bar, but full restaurant that feels like a place a bit out of the Old West.
J Bar has a pretty extensive kid’s menu compared to most places, and the food we tried both from the real menu and the kid’s menu was very good. Compared to some other restaurants in Aspen, the prices were pretty fair.
The spicy edamame really is spicy, but it was very good.
The venison chili, kid’s grilled cheese, and burger with fries also got thumbs up from our crew! The veggies that came with the grilled cheese got a thumbs down from our tiny taster, but all in all it was a very good meal in a great setting.
On our last night in town we had learned from the err of our ways of not having a dinner reservation, and got a reservation through the hotel conceirge for sushi at Kenichi. Aspen actually has several sushi restaurants, and this is certainly not the trendiest or most expensive, but it was pretty tasty and very busy. It has been around since 1991 and has locations in a couple of other cities, like Austin. It was located on the bottom floor of a shopping center that was essentially below ground level.
The below ground level location coupled with the dim lighting made pictures inside virtually useless, but I will tell you that the seating was pretty tight, but the sushi was good. I would recommend requesting a booth when eating with a family there as the tables were very close to each other and tough for a squirmy kid. I would also go earlier in the evening as I suspect this place gets more lively as the evening progresses. I think our meal for three there came in at around $100, including tip.
And if all of these sound like they aren’t family friendly enough options for your crew, there is always the friendly neighborhood McDonalds. It is located very near the outdoor skating rink. Even McDonalds looks prettier in Aspen.
Like everything else, food ain’t cheap in Aspen, but it is pretty good, and the restaurants we ate at were all very accommodating to families. There are several other family friendly joints in town we didn’t get a chance to try on this trip such as Little Annie’s, Boogie’s, and more.
If you have eaten with a family in Aspen, please share your favorite joints!