Food is probably the last thing on your mind on the day after Thanksgiving. However, it might be that you’d rather not hear about turkey or mashed potatoes, so I will avoid those subjects.
Finding a restaurant in Estes Park isn’t hard, but finding a place with good food and service is another matter. This is, after all, a touristy village and good staff members are hard to find in a tiny mountain town. When we finally found a restaurant with the food we like and great service, we went there every time we ventured into Estes Park.
For us, that’s Poppy’s Pizza & Grill. I am addicted to their trout pizza, the beer selection has been thoughtfully assembled and service is always top-notch. On our recent visit, however, our options expanded.
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We stayed at YMCA of the Rockies, so had multiple decisions on where to eat; we could cook a meal at our cabin, eat in the dining hall or cafe or go to Estes Park. We decided to do all three.
On the first night, we went to Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew, which is about five minutes from the YMCA of the Rockies. GoogleMaps took us to the restaurant’s golf course location and we had to backtrack. If you’re staying at the YMCA be sure to go to the Smokin’ Dave’s on Morraine Avenue.
The place was packed. We sat at the last table available in the entire joint and I figured service would be slow. I was wrong. I ordered the wild salmon Reuben and iced tea and Ryan ordered a platter of barbecue and a beer. Our food arrived within minutes. Granted, barbecue has already been cooked but still, service was mind-boggling fast.
Honestly, the salmon Rueben is an odd taste combination for me and I wouldn’t order it again but it came with a pile of delicious fries. The barbecue plate was tasty and we especially liked the side of jalapeno hushpuppies. Prices are average for barbecue.
The next morning, Ryan made a pot of coffee and a fire in the fireplace while I made a breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage. Having a full kitchen in our Dale View Cabin at YMCA of the Rockies allowed us to enjoy a lazy morning.
Our plan was to spend a few hours at Fall Back Beer Fest in the afternoon. After dog park time with Fritzi and exploring the offerings at the YMCA, we had a quick lunch in the Aspen Dining Room. Eating at the YMCA of the Rockies is easy and affordable.
The buffet-style dining makes it easy for everyone in a group to find something they like. I had a bowl of lentil soup and Ryan made a huge salad.
After the beer festival and a trip to the Estes Park Dog Park, we wanted pizza. If pizza is on the list of everyone in your party, I highly recommend Antonio’s Real New York Pizza. It is owned by a friend and was opened five years ago. They recently moved into a large building on Big Thompson Avenue.
The owner moved from Long Island to Colorado and brought with him the love of real New York-style pizza. I can’t put my finger on it, maybe it’s the honey instead of sugar in the crust or the quality ingredients, but this Estes Park restaurant makes tasty pies.
We ordered The Grandfather to-go, along with a large house salad. We took it all back to our cabin at the YMCA of the Rockies and feasted. By the way, a large salad is big, really big. It was plenty for two salad-lovers like us, and of course, the pizza was scrumptious. Antonio’s is a must-try in Estes Park.
The next morning we had to pack up and go home. We decided the easiest thing would be to have breakfast at Aspen Dining Room. I’d had their biscuits and gravy at the YMCA of the Rockies’ Granby property, Snow Mountain Ranch, so I was on the look out. These biscuits and gravy are my go-to here and they didn’t disappoint. Breakfast is my favorite meal at a buffet and this one is no exception.
Estes Park is a great getaway town and I highly recommend the YMCA of the Rockies. Eat in, eat out, go to the dining hall—all options are available and we all like having choices, especially when it comes to food.
Thank you to YMCA of the Rockies for hosting us on the trip.