Winter Park: Eat, walk to the slopes, ski, eat again |

Winter Park: Eat, walk to the slopes, ski, eat again

by Cyndi McCoy
Winter Park, Colorado

With the new Cabriolet gondola in full swing just outside, the restaurant at the Vintage Hotel is offering guests a journey of the culinary kind.

To cater to the new crowds and please its loyal customers, Five Mountain Tavern, formerly Tipper’s Tavern, has incorporated a new menu. The restaurant is a convenient uphill ride south from the base of Winter Park Ski resort. Intimate, fine dining and views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains add to the personalized Colorado experience and friendly staff.

For starters, there’s the Tavern’s green chili, large-size salads (try the bleu and spinach), and Mountain-High nachos ” big sellers from the appetizers. For a more substantial meal, try the evening special.

Each day chefs Michael Hardman, Jim Cramer and Jake Smith pick out one of the popular items off its seasonal dinner menu to dish up. “It allows us to specialize in a very nice entree every night,” Hardman said.

Diners have come to really like the coffee-braised short ribs, tuna melt, mahi mahi, and fire-grilled pizza, said Christina “C.J.” Judge, general manager. Everything they can make from scratch they will, down to the ravioli and pizza dough. “We go above and beyond to make sure they get great service.”

To cater to the economy, the price range is “definitely not over the top,” Hardman points out. “We try to stay ahead of the times to help the consumer out,” Jude added.

The bar also has enticing specials to welcome visitors. It is a sight to see in itself, having been imported from England and famous for a cigar burn supposedly left by Winston Churchill.

Mary Jane is always on tap and bartenders like Tito Nieto make sure people have a pleasant experience. Bar menu also includes homemade sarsaparilla and bourbon ice cream.

Two “shotskis” await parties of four who want a shot at the same time (not necessarily alcoholic beverages). Bartenders capture the entertainment on camera, which they add to a large, adjacent digital picture frame.

The Tavern, named after the five mountains at the resort, has also begun a game for snow enthusiasts on the mountain. For its debut year, Nieto hides a marked pirate flag somewhere on the slopes. Although “Dead Men Tell No Lies,” the live ones who bring it back receive free prizes to include food, drink or other items. “A ‘Pirate’s Booty’ is what we like to call it,” Nieto said.

Gift certificates are available, as is room and to-go service. Three banquet rooms allow for catering from 18 to more than 150 people. There’s even a snack and beverage trailer near the gondola outside.

Five Mountain Tavern is part of the Intrawest Restaurant Group, at Winter Park South.

“The beauty,” Hardman said, “is that once you finish eating you are already parked and ready to hit the slopes after a ride on the Cabriolet.”

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