Chef Kelly Liken Shares Fifteen ‘Can’t Miss’ Food Experiences In Vail, Colorado

Welcome to EAT THIS CITY, your weekly tour of the best restaurants in one of our favorite cities, as chosen by world-class chefs.

This week we jet off to Vail, Colorado. Known for its world-class skiing, Vail is also a gorgeous summer destination, offering hiking, mountain biking, rafting and kayaking, and most importantly — come on, this is Eat This City — food. Taking us on our culinary adventure is Chef Kelly Liken of Vail’s eagerly anticipated, newly opened Harvest.

If Chef Liken looks familiar to you, it’s probably because she’s a former competitor on Iron Chef and Top Chef D.C, as well as a James Beard nominee for Best Chef Southwest in 2009, 2010, and 2011. She’s been featured in Food & Wine and Bon Appétit, and participated in the James Beard celebrity chef tour. But while she’s garnered national acclaim, she is proud of the Coloradan roots she’s sown, and of the role Harvest fills in Vail’s food community.

Says Chef Liken:

We believe that people want good quality food, creative food, at an affordable price point where the whole family is welcome. A true neighborhood gathering place where we can enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed atmosphere.

I am passionate about local, fresh produce and the seasons as they ebb and flow. All of my menus reflect that, whether fancy fine dining, or neighborhood casual.

Appetite whet? Let’s check out Chef Liken’s fifteen can’t miss food experiences in Vail!



Vendettas has the best pizza in Vail. It is perfectly greasy and the crust is just the best. It is perfect after a long day at work.


Loncheria Primabere

Loncheria Primabere in Eagle. It is a drive-up Mexican joint. You can walk up to the window and order. They have pozole and on weekends they have sopes, tacos, and roast chicken; just the best.



Osaki is by far the best. It is a tiny sushi place in Vail Village. It is owned by Takshi Osaki, a third generation sushi chef. It has 20 seats, tops, and is amazing. Omakase menu! Whatever they choose to serve, eat it! It’s awesome!


The Little Diner

The best street food I have ever had was in China. I tried Shanghai soup dumplings and they blew my mind. As far as a hole in the wall in Vail is concerned, The Little Diner is the best hole in the wall breakfast place. If you don’t get there early you have to stand in line to get seats, there are only a handful and the food is excellent!



Rimini Gelato is in Lionshead and Beaver Creek. They have homemade gelato and it is amazing. It is a great place to go with a family. I take my daughter to get their hot chocolate after skiing.


Grouse Mountain Grill