Mawa’s Kitchen |

Mawa’s Kitchen

by Jeanne McGovern photos by Anna Stonehouse
The details: 305F Aspen Business Center • 970-710-7096 • Price: $12 to $16 for lunch; $9 to $15 for breakfast/brunch. Ambience: Casual dining room for breakfast and lunch with natural light and lively kitchen. Patio seating available all summer. Signature dishes: French tartines — try the smashed avocado or the crispy proscuitto and seasonal fruit; arugula and quinoa salad with pomegranate, squash and pepitas; rainbow qiuinoa pancake; homemade breads, soups and desserts. Not to Miss: Fresh salads, sandwiches and soups at reasonable prices; Excellent selection of gluten-free dishes;  Summer outdoor seating.

With a mix of cultures influencing its cuisine, Mawa’s Kitchen is a bright and beautiful display of fresh, tasty food without a lot of frills.

Mawa McQueen, the chef and owner, likes to note that there’s nothing “foo foo” about her menu. She takes pride in using fresh, nutritious ingredients.

“No foam and all that,” she says. “No fuss with the ingredients.”

The results are creative and packed with flavor — with prices that won’t break the bank.

McQueen was born in Ivory Coast of West Africa and grew up in Paris. Her cuisine melds together African, French and American influences. She takes seemingly simple ideas like tartines — French, open-faced sandwiches on fresh, rustic bread — and elevates them beautifully. The avocado version, for example, packs a hint of curry flavor with cilantro, pomegranate and lime. A hummus version comes with roasted red peppers, capers and olives.

McQueen is firm in her dedication to quality. For privately catered events such as weddings or private dinners, she caps the number of people at about 100 because anything beyond that hurts the quality of the food, she says.

She started her catering business in 2006 and expanded to private dinners in 2014. She remodeled her commercial kitchen space in the Aspen Business Center to include a dining room in November 2015. It’s a cozy space with an open kitchen that guests walk through as they enter the restaurant.

Mawa’s is now offering a weekend brunch, featuring classic dishes with her own twist. Her smoothie bowl ($12) is a delightful blend of avocado, kale, a little honey and almond milk or rice milk. She tops it with chia seeds, granola, banana, kiwi and raspberry. Another smoothie bowl features almond milk, peanut butter, dark cocoa powder and avocado, blended and topped with banana, dates and honey crisp puff cereal — a protein-rich meal with good fats, she notes. It tastes like creamy chocolate peanut butter pudding.

Gluten-free breads — all made in-house — are available for dine-in or takeout, and she offers gluten-free desserts, too — don’t miss her delicious carrot cake.

In a hurry? Order takeout sandwiches, salads (salmon Nicoise, quinoa and arugula, and others) or her popular lunch box. And orders over $100 get free delivery around Aspen and Snowmass.

“Food is not complicated,” she says. “I’m not fancy. I like good, healthy food.”

top to bottom: Mawa’s Benedict with Maine smoked salmon, served on potato latkes with sauteed spinach and classic hollandaise sauce; Farmer’s Market crudite with hummus and jalapeno ranch dip; famous French toast with gluten-free bread, berries and Vermont maple syrup.