Whether you’re meandering along downtown’s picturesque Riverwalk or coming off a challenging trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll find ample options for refueling in the charming town of Estes Park. Estes Park has its share of restaurants with fabulous outdoor seating areas overlooking mountain vistas and steakhouses catering to the foodie with options of game meats such as yak and elk. But traveling a bit further off the trodden path reveals small, hometown restaurants filled with good eats and friendly locals. For a good meal and an authentic experience, consider adding these top 5 local only Estes restaurants to the dining menu!
Mountain Home Café
Fuel up before you hit the trail with breakfast or lunch at this hometown café. This family owned and operated café offers a wide variety of menu items that will provide the boost you need for pushing your way up a challenging summit. Tucked away in the Stanley Village strip mall, don’t let this Estes restaurant’s exterior deter you. For breakfast, fuel up on omelets, scrambles, items from the griddle, and comfort food items such as biscuits and gravy. For those who like to start the day out on a sweet note, their French banana pancakes smothered in a brown sugar sauce are finger licking good. For a savory start, try the migas – sauteed corn tortillas stuffed with scrambled eggs, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, jalapenos, cheese, refried beans, and salsa. They also offer a lunch menu with salads, wraps, burgers, and sandwiches, as well as Mexican-inspired dishes.
Claire’s Restaurant & Bar
Grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Claire’s, where you’ll find dishes created to order and made with fresh ingredients and locally sourced products, often purchased from the Estes Valley Farmer’s Market. Their seasonal menu means that even if you’ve been here before, there’s likely a new creation to try. Pull a stool up to the bar or snag a table on the outdoor deck where you can watch the world go by. The eggs benedict or blueberry lemon pancakes are favorite ways to start the day at Claire’s. For lunch and dinner, choose from a number of sandwiches, burgers, and entrees from the land and sea. If you have yet to try some of Estes Park’s wild game meats, Claire’s offers an excellent wild game meatloaf, made with elk, bison, and beef, and then wrapped in a layer of bacon.
Big Horn Estes Restaurant
Settle in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at this Estes Park mainstay that’s been serving locals for nearly 50 years. Big Horn serves up large portions of comfort food for all meals of the day. For breakfast, indulge in a tall stack of pancakes or a hearty breakfast burrito. For lunch and dinner, items from the hickory smoker, such as pulled pork or brisket topped with BBQ sauce are favorites, served alongside a hearty portion of homemade chips. The country fried steak is also a comfort food favorite, topped with homemade gravy and enjoyed alongside the house soup and salad bar. Perfect for diners getting ready for the day’s adventure, this eatery also offers a Big Horn Deal where they prepare your picnic lunch to enjoy on the go while you indulge in breakfast!
Notchtop Bakery & Café
This unassuming café tucked away in the Upper Stanley Village Shopping Center serves up outstanding meals for breakfast and lunch. They focus on using as many organic ingredients as possible, leaving behind processed foods and high fructose corn syrup in favor of non-genetically modified bread and flour, cane sugar, pure vanilla, slow roasted meats, and everything made from scratch. For breakfast, choose from a wide assortment of hash, breakfast sandwiches, benedicts, and items from the griddle. There is a large number of gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options available. For lunch, enjoy a burger, pita bread sandwich, or a variety of specialty sandwich options.
Bird & Jim
Enjoy scenic views of Rocky Mountain National Park when you dine at Bird & Jim, where you can snag a table in the modern, vaulted ceiling dining room or on the outdoor patio. Bird & Jim prides itself on an artisan approach to cooking with a menu that uses locally sourced ingredients. Their goal of local, sustainable, and healthy eating results in fresh, delicious dishes that bring locals back for more. Start your meal off with a bowl of smoked pheasant chowder, made with sherry wine and fresh herbs. The selective menu offers a hand curated selection of burgers, bowls, and entrees. The single lamb rack is excellent, as well as the buffalo burger made with great range bison and topped with tomato-bacon jam and arugula on a brioche roll.
Broaden your dining horizons when you enjoy a tasty meal at the best restaurants in Estes Park! Contact us to learn more today!