Known for its fine dining and elite trained chefs, Aspen Snowmass also boasts plenty of affordable alternatives among its 100-plus eateries. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to satisfy the family after a long day outdoors or just don’t want to hassle with making reservations weeks in advance, here are a number of options to find a meal for under $30.

Ajax Tavern

Ajax Tavern, Aspen
Ajax Tavern, Aspen

Relax on Ajax Tavern’s expansive patio after a hike up Aspen Mountain (or any number of mountaintop activities) and enjoy Aspen’s longest happy hour. From 2:30–6pm, this casual fine dining restaurant offers 50 percent off its “For the Table” menu selections, which include the ever-popular truffle fries, moules marinière, and assorted charcuterie. Accompanied by $3–$4 beers or $8 frozen cocktails, it’s the ideal way to toast a perfect summer day.

520 Grill

Fast, convenient, friendly and delicious, 520 Grill is the locals’ go-to spot in downtown Aspen for affordable handcrafted fare for the whole family. Chef owner Troy Selby whips up a wide selection of burgers, grilled sandwiches, salads, kids meals, and more — for dine-in or takeout. Our recommendations: Wahoo fish tacos, sweet potato fries, and the kale and quinoa salad.

Farm to Table Tuesdays

Make dinner a fun family evening on the mountain with Farm to Table Tuesdays (through August 13) at Elk Camp on Snowmass. Ride the Elk Camp Gondola for free and enjoy an organic, farm-fresh, à la carte menu at the market-style restaurant. Grab a local beer at the bar and top off the evening with a sampling of outdoor family activities or a Lost Forest adventure. Just don’t forget a warm layer for after sunset at 10,000 feet!
Farm to Table Tuesdays
Farm to Table Tuesdays

Butcher's Block

For an elevated picnic experience, whether it’s on the lawn outside the Benedict Music Tent or way out in the backcountry, you’ll want to stock up at the Butcher’s Block. A downtown Aspen institution since 1972, this gourmet market and deli offers an extensive menu of made-to-order hot or cold sandwiches, homemade soups and salads, and dessert.

Fuel Café

True to its name, Fuel, a small counter-service eatery on the Snowmass Mall, will fuel you up for your daily adventures. Start your day with a breakfast burrito or bagel loaded up with fresh ingredients, or one of the best smoothie bars in the valley (a must-try is the Oat to Breakfast). Or grab some of Fuel’s creative paninis, wraps, or sandwiches — including several vegetarian options — for a take-out lunch.

New York Pizza

Sometimes a quick slice is all you need, although New York Pizza is a whole lot more. A funky upstairs eatery on Aspen’s downtown Hyman Mall, this local staple offers a selection of giant slices, whole pies, hot sandwiches, and generously healthy salads. Dine in, take out, or get it delivered — this joint is open until 2am.

Bamboo Bear

Authentic down to the décor, Bamboo Bear is owned and operated by an award-winning chef and his Vietnamese wife. And the food delivers: Vietnamese specialties inspired by family recipes include a variety of generous pho bowls and bahn mi sandwiches, plus Korean dishes (including homemade kimchi) and specials from other Asian countries.

Jour de Fête

Deli-bakery Jour de Fête defies the stereotype that quality food is inherently pricey. Owner Olivier Mottier, who is from France, infuses the vast menu with that deeply flavorful French touch, while his El Salvadorian chef gives it that at-home feel. From a selection of French pastries and American omelets for breakfast to an impressive variety of hot entrees and market salads for lunch (and much more), there’s something for everyone in a quaint convenient setting in downtown Aspen.

The Crêpe Shack

Born in Ivory Coast and raised in Paris, The Crêpe Shack owner Mawa McQueen brings to her newest Roaring Fork Valley eatery (she has three) the flavors and skills of living and cooking on three continents. Choose from a variety of sweet or savory breakfast and lunch crêpes — made with gluten-free buckwheat batter — grilled cheese sandwiches or soups.

The Artisan

One of the first restaurants in Aspen Snowmass to serve seasonal, regionally sourced cuisine, The Artisan is a casual gourmet dining experience in the Stonebridge Inn in Snowmass Village — with a downright reasonable menu. Try the famous Artisan Angus beef burger — a local favorite — or anything off the “House Fare” menu. Or mix and match starters and sides for a sharable family-style meal. The Artisan also serves breakfast and a generous happy hour.

Hickory House

It’s worth venturing out from the Aspen core for a meal at the Hickory House, a barbecue joint on the west end of Main Street with plenty of local character and out-of-this-world ribs (they were once featured on Oprah). Its large dining rooms and casual vibe augment the down-home menu, which also includes steaks, fried catfish, pulled pork and brisket, and all the usual sides and salads.

About the Author

Catherine Lutz
Catherine Lutz

CATHERINE LUTZ

Catherine Lutz is an Aspen-based freelance writer and editor who helps craft stories and content for the Aspen Institute, Aspen Sojourner magazine, Powder magazine, and many others. An avid skier, paddleboarder, and mountain biker, she’s now vicariously experiencing a second childhood through her two young children in one of the best places on the planet to raise a family.

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