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Top Restaurants in Grand Lake, Colorado

On a mid-June weekend in Grand Lake, Colorado, my days spent hiking, kayaking, and window-shopping along the wooden boardwalks in town, led to one hungry girl. In particular, two top restaurants in Grand Lake fit the bill for tasty, filling meals that don’t break the bank.

Grand Lake Lodge sits perched on a hillside above Grand Lake, where the views are absolutely stunning. This historic lodge offers cabin accommodations that make an excellent base camp for exploring not only the town of Grand Lake, but also Rocky Mountain National Park. The lodge is located just before the National Park entrance on Highway 34, which becomes high-altitude Trail Ridge Road, that traverses the park.

View of town and lake from Grand Lake Lodge.

View of town and lake from Grand Lake Lodge.

But even if you don’t need lodging in Grand Lake, I do recommend eating dinner at Grand Lake Lodge, not only for the fabulous vistas from the enclosed porch just off the Main Lodge dining room (definitely ask for a table here), but also for the contemporary American mountain fare.

Totally tasty buffalo meatloaf with cheesy mashed potatoes.

Totally tasty buffalo meatloaf with cheesy mashed potatoes.

After sharing a generous platter of assorted artisan cheese, honey-smoked salmon, crackers and candied cashews ($14) with friends, I went for the locals’ favorite buffalo meatloaf with asiago mashed potatoes ($18). I’m pretty sure I nearly licked my plate clean. Other options for entrees include Cajun pork chop, Atlantic salmon, a 12-ounce rib-eye and rainbow trout. Other items I eyed (for my next visit!): the spinach cranberry salad and Colorado lamb burger.

During my Grand Lake getaway, I ate both breakfast and lunch at the Blue Water Bakery, just off the main drag, not far from Headwaters Marina. In fact, one morning, I wanted a cup of coffee after kayaking and before taking a scenic boat tour on Grand Lake, but there was a line out the door of the bakery/cafe, and I didn’t have time to buy a cup, lest I miss my tour.

That's blue sky bakery at the end of the wooden boardwalk, not far from the water.

That’s Blue Water Bakery at the end of the wooden boardwalk, not far from the lake.

So I returned for lunch after my boat tour to fill up with a veggie melt with pesto on focaccia flatbread. The lunch menu here is vast: cold sandwiches, hot sandwiches, creative grilled cheeses, salads and chili — including Frito Pie. But it was the baked goods that caught my eye: cinnamon rolls, croissants, scones and muffins galore. I couldn’t leave without a little fruit crumble dessert.

The next morning before hiking, I scooted in for a breakfast wrap to go — veggies, egg, cheese and potatoes all wrapped up in a sun-dried tomato tortilla. If I’d had time, I might have ordered an eat-in meal, such as a meat-filled egg scramble, eggs Benedict, a bowl of homemade granola or stuffed French toast. Seating here is casual — first come/first served — with a few tables outside and free wi-fi.

Another bakery/cafe that comes highly recommend by blogging pal Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer is the Fat Cat Cafe. Alas, it wasn’t open while I was in town — I’m told business hours can be erratic. I’ll try to stop in for the locals’ favorite scones and coffee the next time I’m in Grand Lake!

I am one of three Colorado bloggers exploring the sights of Grand County, Colorado, this year, courtesy of the Grand County Colorado Tourism Board. See our adventures on Twitter with the hashtag #VisitGrandCounty.

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12 Responses to “Top Restaurants in Grand Lake, Colorado”

  1. 1
    Jam @icoSnap says:

    The buffalo meatloaf looks so delish!

  2. 2
    Tom Hess says:

    Another reminder that I need to visit Grand Lake in the near future.

  3. 3
    Lisa Hann says:

    If you get a chance .stop by the Trail Riders Motel.
    You cant beat their Grand County hospitality. Granby Colorado

  4. 4
    Barbara Meyer says:

    These two are among our favorites, too. Hopefully, you also had the chance to attend one or more of the musical theatre productions by our wonderful professional company at Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. If not, please do come back. They are not to be missed!

    • 4.1
      Kara Williams says:

      I was SO SORRY to miss a theatre production. Was there Sun-Tues when they were “off.” Yes, will need to return!!

  5. 5
    Thomas says:

    Never heard of or seen buffalo meatloaf but it does lunch delicious. So many places to visit and eat I need to get started traveling soon.

  6. 6
    Jamie says:

    The buffalo meatloaf looks so tasty, hope I can make it one day to Grand Lake.

  7. 7
    Janice says:

    Mmm…these sound like reason enough to go to Grand Lake (one of the few places in CO I haven’t been to yet).

  8. 8

    Some days, OK MOST DAYS, you make me want to up and move to Colorado.

  9. 9
    Laura says:

    I am tempting to taste the buffalo meatloaf looks delicious.Grand lake lodge looks promising i would love to have meal at them.Thanks for sharing.

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