Penny Pinching

Our Favorite Affordable and Kid-Friendly Eateries

Just because this is Aspen doesn't mean dining out has to be expensive.

By Amanda Faison July 26, 2018 Published in the Midsummer/Fall 2018 issue of Aspen Sojourner

Chefs at Bamboo Bear

Anyone who has been in Aspen for a long while fondly remembers In & Out, the closet-size sandwich shop on Main Street. Grateful Deli (233 E. Main St., 970-925-6647) took over the space eight years ago and continues the tradition of quick service, bang-up sandwiches, and affordable prices (everything is under $10). Pay homage to In & Out with the Minglewood: chicken curry salad with banana peppers on a freshly baked roll from Louis Swiss Bakery.

More sandwiches await at Big Wrap (520 E. Durant Ave., 970-544-1700), the ever-popular, cash-only spot where one $8 wrap is enough for two meals. Our go-to is the To Thai For, with tofu, peanut sauce, jasmine rice, and slaw in a chile tortilla (take it from us and skip the odd addition of black beans).

For a Vietnamese fix, pop into Bamboo Bear (730 E. Cooper Ave., 970-710-2094,, where the portions are so large—be it the bánh mì, the crispy chicken plate, or the pho—that a single dish will often feed two or three people. Don’t leave without ordering a Thai iced tea poured over crushed ice.

Down by Clark’s Market, Tiki Mana Grill (300 Puppy Smith St., 970-710-2381, serves bowls of congee, a comforting, savory rice porridge, topped with green onion, ginger, and a poached egg. It’s a full meal for $7.95. Aside from pastries (doughnuts! kouign-amann! French macarons!), Annette’s Mountain Bake Shop (420 E. Hyman Ave., 970-544-1806) also serves the best veggie sandwich—caponata and mozzarella on a baguette—for $9.50 and soup du jour for $5. Check the restaurant's Facebook page for daily specials.

Beyond Kids’ Mac and Cheese

We’re of the mind that the kids’ menu trifecta (the tired combo of limp chicken fingers, Kraft macaroni and cheese, and frozen pizza) should be banished forever. Instead, take well-behaved kiddos to the Velvet Buck (315 E. Dean St., 970-429-9644, in the St. Regis for steak frites with seasonal vegetables. The coriander carrots and pepper yogurt brussels sprouts on the regular menu are hits too.

Adventurous minis should head to Tanuki (300 E. Hyman Ave., 970-987-0813, in the alley behind Bootsy Bellows. Kids will love the mural and the duct tape sign, as well as the pot stickers and salt and pepper shrimp with cheesy grits. 

Continue to expand culinary horizons at Bangkok Happy Bowl (300 Puppy Smith St. #202, 970-925-2527, with Thai fried rice and orange chicken. And for the littles who fall apart at the mere mention of something new, well, a cheeseburger with tater tots at CP Burger (433 E. Durant Ave., 970-925-3056, should head off a tantrum. At least there’s mini golf next door so parents can eat their kale salads and falafel burgers in peace.


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