A mix-up in Snowmass dining options both on and off the mountain | AspenTimes.com

A mix-up in Snowmass dining options both on and off the mountain

A rendering of the Sam's restaurant on Sam's Knob provided by Aspen Skiing Co.
Courtesy photo/Aspen Skiing Comp

The mix6 restaurant in The Collective and other One Snowmass dining options aren’t the only new places to eat this winter in Snowmass. Locals can look forward to a few other new and improved options with Aspen Skiing Co.’s restaurant rebrand on top of Sam’s Knob and the Westin Snowmass’ revitalized Double Black Noodle Bar menu.


When it comes to new ideas for on-mountain dining in Aspen-Snowmass, Jim Butchart, executive chef and culinary director for Aspen Skiing Co., is always ready with a running list of “concepts” to explore.

This winter, Butchart is checking one of those concepts for Snowmass Ski Area off the list with the opening of Sam’s, the Italian rebrand of Sam’s Smokehouse on top of Sam’s Knob.

“Italian is so popular all around the world and Snowmass doesn’t have a lot of Italian options,” Butchart said. “People will be able to choose their own experience and either sit down for a two-hour lunch or just stop in for a quick bite.”

From homemade bread, pasta and grandma-style pizza, to an expanded bar, live-action kitchen and slipper room area where people can choose to kick their boots off and “tuck in,” Butchart feels the new Sam’s will have something for everyone to enjoy.

“From the time you enter the door you’ll see how things are different. Everything we did was really thoughtful,” Butchart said. “It’s going to be the kind of place where you either order way too much food or feel like you have to come back again and again.”

As Butchart talked about the new Sam’s lunch spot and what restaurant goers can expect on Sam’s Knob this winter, it was clear the $2.5 million rebrand didn’t happen over night.

Butchart said the new Italian eatery has been in the works for about two years and that he’s planned every aspect of the new restaurant down to the ceramic dishes sitting on each table.

He’s also visited a handful of top Italian restaurants in places like New York City and Chicago for menu ideas, taken notes from cutting edge airport dining options and had one last trip to Italy in the fall before Sam’s debut Nov. 28.

“I’m super excited, this was a really fun concept to work on,” Butchart said.

The casual, high-quality culinary experience Butchart and his staff have planned for Sam’s aligns with the executive chef’s broader ambitions to change the way people eat on the mountain.

“Many people have this expectation that on mountain dining means overcooked burgers and food that sits beneath a hot warmer all day,” Butchart said. “Yes, we still serve chicken fingers and burgers, but how can we make sure they’re the best?”

Opting for grass-fed beef, locally sourced foods and choosing to compost in every Aspen-Snowmass restaurant is part of how Butchart aims to achieve his goals. But he and his staff also look to offer new, unique dining experiences for locals and visitors like Sam’s.

“I definitely like to push the boundaries on what’s expected and what’s possible with dining on the mountain,” Butchart said, smiling.


While Sam’s is set to serve up homemade Italian-style pastas, the Double Black Noodle Bar at the Westin Snowmass Resort is rolling out its new and improved homemade ramen and pho.

According to David Miles, executive chef, the noodle bar open for just three months last season is back with a new, from-scratch menu that will debut in early December.

“The noodle bar is totally different with homemade ramen and broths,” Miles said. “We also plan to keep really low prices to drive more locals in the door. We want it to be the spot for locals.”

The revamp of the ramen and pho spot is one of the Westin/Wildwood resort complex’s efforts to improve its culinary offerings, host more community-driven events for locals and guests, and boost both the nightlife and apres ski scenes in Snowmass Village.

“With our six outlets, we want to own apres-ski in Snowmass,” said Jeffery Burrell, general manager for the Westin Snowmass Resort and Wildwood Snowmass Hotel.

The Westin Snowmass Resort, which boasts five restaurants and a conference center, and the Wildwood Snowmass, a retro hotel with a popular village bar of the same name, are both owned by the Starwood Capital Group. Burrell explained.

Burrell said locals and guests can look forward to all of the Westin/Wildwood complex restaurants and bars being open early in the season, along with special events throughout the season like chef’s table dinners, family movie nights, live music and more.

“The goal of our apres-ski programming is for people of all ages to have fun and relax and to make our part of the mountain more active like it used to be,” Burrell said.