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.
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.
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.
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.