The Snow Lodge evolves with new Northern Italian menu
Evolution and change have become hallmarks of Jayma Cardoso, founder and creative director of The Surf Lodge Brands.
“I get bored easily,” she said with a laugh.
In 2019, Cardoso decided to branch out from her successful The Surf Lodge, Montauk, concept to create The Snow Lodge in Aspen in collaboration with New York City bar Dante. Snow Lodge originally opened at the bottom of Aspen Mountain in the space now occupied by Chica and managed to stay afloat during the pandemic, mostly due to après ski offerings.
“We went from some great ideas in 2019 to let’s test the waters and see what happens to COVID and navigated something none of us knew what to do or how to do it. Somehow, we survived. It’s like the most incredible community. Everyone embraced us from day one,” Cardoso said.
Then two years ago, her longtime friend and owner of The St. Regis Aspen, Stephane De Baets, approached her with an offer she was skeptical of at first but ultimately couldn’t refuse.
He acknowledged the success The Snow Lodge was having at its location at the base of the mountain, but made the argument that her business couldn’t grow much beyond après. He asked her to consider moving operations to The St. Regis and creating three distinct experiences where she could experiment with different concepts: a supper club with music in the main restaurant, an outdoor tent concept, and continue offering après ski.
“I was worried, thinking, ‘Who’s going to come to an après that wasn’t ski in?’ I thought it was a risky, terrible idea” she admitted. “But I said, ‘OK let’s do it,’ and it has exceeded all our expectations. And having the bigger venue is also really fun.”
In the two years since opening, The Snow Lodge has become more than a restaurant. Cardoso and her team often refer to it as a “cultural destination,” showcasing art from local galleries, this season partnering with Aspen’s Casterline|Goodman Gallery, which provided work from Alex Katz, Richard Serra, Stanley Whitney, Jim Dine, David Yarrow, Rafa Macaron, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella and Alison Van Pelt to adorn the supper club walls.
Musical entertainment has always been part of the backbone of the brand, and this winter is no different, with The Snow Lodge offering curated musical performances from electronic DJ sets and live piano players to acoustic concerts by up-and-coming bands.
“Aspen has so many amazing restaurants that I’m always thinking, ‘What can you do that is different?’” said Cardoso. “When we put a program out, we’re not thinking about one targeted demographic. It is generally based on what my mood is or what we feel the community will embrace. It’s a mix of music. It’s a mix of art. It’s a mix of foods. Without trying to we’re reinventing the wheel.”
Just as the business and entertainment offerings have grown and evolved over the past couple of years, so has the menu.
According to Robert Sieber, culinary director of The Surf Lodge Brands, this year’s offerings are inspired by an off-season trip he took to Northern Italy that included Milan, Tuscany, Florence, Bologna and Modena. He brought back a greater appreciation of authentic, classic dishes executed with high quality ingredients, he said.
Some of the highlights of the new menu include veal Milanese, osso bucco and vegetarian lasagna.
Sieber said he tries to source as much as he can locally, noting “the meat in Colorado is incredible.” The one thing he hasn’t changed since their days at the base of Aspen Mountain is sourcing the meat for their burgers from T-Lazy-7 Ranch, calling it “the most delicious, wonderful product” he’s used in his 15-year career.
Due to high demand and positive feedback, Sieber has also expanded The Snow Lodge’s caviar service, now available in both the reimagined Blue Room and the restaurant, including the smoked mozzarella sticks with Kaluga caviar and the “caviar potato,” a baked potato with crème fraiche, chives, and an ounce of caviar.
The Snow Lodge is usually closed on Tuesdays, but will open for a special Valentine’s Day dinner, though Sieber said it will not be a prix fix menu, so the regular menu will be available with a couple special additions.
“We’re going to do some specials,” Sieber said. “A truffle gnocchi, a two-and-a-half-pound lobster for two, thermidor style, a 32-ounce Bistecca allá Fiorentina, and then obviously a decadent dessert — a chocolate, salty caramel layer cake with strawberries and cream. I’m excited about that”
For more information: https://www.thesnowlodge.com/
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