Asher on Aspen: Schnapps and Schnitzel at Almresi Aspen |

Asher on Aspen: Schnapps and Schnitzel at Almresi Aspen

Shannon Asher
Asher on Aspen

They say when you travel, even the doorknobs look different. Everything is foreign, interesting, and unfamiliar. It’s about this time of year when I find myself searching aimlessly for reasonable, last-minute flights to Europe. I have this overwhelming urge to leave town and travel to an unknown city.

However, I also love finding local places that offer the same sense of escapism and make you feel like you’ve been transported to a different place and time. Recently, I was lucky enough to sample a small taste of Europe at Almresi Aspen.

The charming, family-run restaurant located inside of the Dancing Bear’s mountainside building immediately transported me to a rustic chalet buried deep in the Swiss Alps. With locations in Vail and Stuttgart, Aspen is Almresi’s third location owned by the German-based Thoma family. The eatery offers a tightly edited menu of authentic German cuisine that also includes dishes from Austria and Switzerland.

The smell of fondue and schnitzel wafted through the air as we meandered through the restaurant and found our way to the table. Looking around, we couldn’t stop staring at the decor that so perfectly tied the room together. Upon taking our seats, our attentive server, Tom, presented us with festive cocktails as he introduced us to the space and the concept. He embodied the spirit of Bavarian hospitality wholeheartedly, and it was evident that he was someone who loved his job with every ounce of his being. We appreciated his passion for the authentic German cuisine characterized by the specialties of the Alps. His demeanor was cheery and uplifting as he offered prompt service and extremely helpful advice on what to order.

The international staff dressed in pink-accented dirndls and lederhosen made by an official Oktoberfest supplier. Centuries-old wood from barns and huts imported from the mountains of Austria and Switzerland decorated the interior. Moreover, all decor — including the rustic wood tables, recycled barn wood paneling, red-checked curtains, cozy candles on pedestals, and even the dishes — were all imported from Germany or Austria. I spotted a series of colorful cuckoo clocks that hung near the bar, and it made me smile as I looked around to appreciate the intimate and sprightly establishment.

Our meal kicked off with starters that included the Swiss cheese fondue prepared with cherry brandy and the Almresi Seppi Flammkuchen, a classic tarte flambee served with bacon, onions, and sour cream. Next, we indulged in one of their most popular entrees — the pork shank with mashed potatoes and tasty sauerkraut. For a sweet finish, we opted for the classic German apple strudel with vanilla sauce. The desert effortlessly melted in my mouth as I sipped leisurely on a dry red wine. To round out our alpine experience and wash down the hearty food, we were served a shot of herbal schnapps — the most traditional way to finish a German meal.

Almresi restaurant as seen on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in downtown Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Even though Almresi is now closed for the off-season, the restaurant plans to re-open in mid-December, just in time for the holidays. Given the boisterous Christmas markets that take place in Germany, I can only imagine how the restaurant will decorate and celebrate for the holiday season. Reservations will fill up fast during the winter months, so be sure to book out in advance and call ahead to secure your spot.

Though I might not get the chance to make it to Europe this off-season, I am thankful for places like Almresi that bring a taste of German culture and charm to our quaint mountain town. This dinner was truly an authentic alpine experience, and I can hardly wait to make a return appearance in the wintertime.