Paul E. Anna: High Points
There’s a new locals corner in Aspen and, surprisingly, it is the corner of Hopkins and Monarch. The high-rent district, if you will. The block that has come to be called Restaurant Row because of all the high-end eateries that reside side by side on Hopkins.But down on the corner, two new places have opened up that will not only be catnip to tourists but great hangouts for locals as well. Upstairs in the old Social space at 304 East Hopkins is the ever-popular Aspen Brewing Company. And just below on ground level is the Oy Vey Cafe. Both places are fun, comfortable, affordable and just the kind of places we need in this economy.The Oy Vey Caf, which touts itself as a kosher deli, is that, but so much more. Just opened four days ago, the quaint, homey place is filled with cookbooks and other eclectic items, including an Etch-a-Sketch hanging on the wall as decoration. Oy Vey is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has already established itself as the go-to place for a pastrami sandwich. No less an authority than Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis has been sighted sampling the fare one recent evening. If one is old enough, one may be reminded of the ancient advertising campaign that featured photos of folks who were clearly not Jewish under the line “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s” – Levy’s being a rye bread to die for.The signature breakfast item will surely be the “Nova and Bagel” with beautiful red salmon lox from Nova Scotia, capers, red onion, tomato and cream cheese on an H&H bagel. It is hard to find a better nosh than that.Upstairs is the same brewery that we have come to know and love but in a different and better location. Some were afraid that, by moving the tasting room into a new space, the vibe would change, that the comfortable, unpretentious feel would be compromised by the upscale building.But all hail, the joint remains the same but with a better view. The bar is slightly larger and there are a few more seats but the view of Aspen Mountain is terrific. Still on tap is the Independence IPA and the Conundrum Red, both of which pack a punch. For those looking for a little more bang, there is also a Scottish Ale as bold as it is big.So swing by the corner of Hopkins and Monarch and check out the new digs. Have a beer. Smear some mustard on a Pastrami sandwich. And hang out and talk to folks. It is a great development for this town.
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