Colorado-raised bison. Creamy bisques. Melt-in-your-mouth barbeque. Vail is a gastro-hub renowned for world-class dining year-round, but don’t let that intimidate you when searching for family-friendly places to eat. Here are some of our top picks for Vail restaurants offering breakfast, lunch and dinner to feed the whole family. And with an abundance of to-go options, we’ve also included our favorite summer picnic spots among Vail’s emerald-green valleys.
Locals’ Tip: Plan to call Vail restaurants in advance or book a table online to be sure they have a seat for you.
Breakfast in Vail
Westside Cafe | West Vail at the Highline Lodge
Fuel yourself for the day’s activities with the Hungry Bear Breakfast — a full plate of eggs, hash browns, pancakes and more. And for the kids? Get them a sugary treat like cinnamon-coated Cap-N-Crunch French toast.
Yeti’s Grind | Solaris Plaza
Yeti’s Grind is a favorite among families — bring your pup and relax before a day of Vail shopping or playing outside. For an on-the-go morning, grab a cayenne-spiced Lone Star latte that’s sure to put some pep in your step and a melty bacon breakfast burrito to share.
Loaded Joe’s | Vail Village
“Load” up with a variety of breakfast sandwiches and wake-me-up drinks at this classic Vail coffee shop. Try their gourmet, Seattle-based espresso or their chocolatey Java Jolt shake. Feeling famished? You can’t go wrong with the Loaded Joe’s pulled-pork breakfast burrito or classic bagel with cream cheese.
The Little Diner | Lionshead
Sample The Little Diner’s specialties like the oh-so-sweet blintz and airy pannekoeken, also known as a Dutch baby. And with a specific menu for children including eggs, toast and hash browns, this locally loved spot is a wonderful Vail breakfast option.
The Tavern on the Square | Lionshead
This bustling, Euro-style eatery will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale with startling views of Vail Mountain as the backdrop. Sip on a Tipsy Snowman, a bold and boozy hot chocolate — or try the breakfast pizza topped with eggs and green onions.
Vail Lunch Spots
Big Bear Bistro | Vail Village
You’ll know you’ve arrived at Big Bear Bistro when you spot its cherry-red umbrellas on the patio. Come for kid-friendly grilled-cheese sammies, daily fresh-baked bread and salads topped with ingredients like zesty cranberries and crunchy walnuts.
Pazzo’s Pizzeria | Vail Village
Pazzo’s Pizzeria isn’t only loved for its pies. Post up at a wooden booth for goodies like the breaded eggplant parmesan sub drenched in marinara. Want to share with the family? Try the 18-inch Pizza de Roma, topped with sun-dried tomatoes, buttery garlic and crisp red peppers.
Vendetta’s | Vail Village
This family-owned Vail restaurant has been dishing up classic Italian fare since waaay back in 1983. Nom on buffalo wings drenched in bleu cheese or dig into a heaping plate of spaghetti and meatballs as you plan your next family activity.
Garfinkel’s | Lionshead
Kick back with Colorado craft beer and a “Colorado Mtn Dog” (that’s an elk-and-cheddar sausage for those not in the know). For the little ones, snag an order of the chicken fingers from the Kids Cafe menu.
Casual Dinner in Vail
Grab a seat under large green umbrellas at Bully Ranch for specialities like the Peak Burger stacked with wagyu beef, soft mushrooms and crunchy greens. We think some kiddos would love Bully Ranch’s margherita flatbread or the creamy tomato-cheddar soup.
Los Amigos | Vail Village
Who can say no to a platter full of grilled carne asada steak, fish tacos with citrusy lime cabbage or a simple (but alluring) cheese quesadilla? If you feel like sharing, grab an order of cheesy nachos or shrimp ceviche.
The Red Lion | Vail Village
Head on over to The Red Lion for a Vail Burger, a half-pound beef patty swimming in melty Swiss cheese, bacon and sweet sauteed onions. The Kiddie Corner menu offers fun treats like dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and the classic PB&J.
Blue Moose Pizza | Lionshead
This New York-style pizza place offers all types of pies. Order the Flying Pig pizza (think prosciutto, Italian sausage, salami and artichoke hearts) and a “Mini Moose” plate of chicken tenders and French fries.
Family-Friendly Restaurants on the Fancy Side
El Segundo | Vail Village
Grab a sweet and citrusy Mexican street corn or dig into a sesame sticky bowl filled with rice, kimchi and garlic slaw — don’t forget to pair it with tangy margarita! Kids have lots of choices, too, like chicken tacos and cheese quesadillas.
Sonnenalp Swiss Chalet | Vail Village
At the Swiss Chalet, relish in authentic schnitzel and dip chunks of bread into ooey-gooey fondue cheese. It’s also a great food experiment for kids to ask the very scientific question: “How much cheese is too much cheese?” (The answer is: There is never too much.)
Russell’s Steakhouse | Vail Village
Russell’s is your go-to for a classic, relaxed atmosphere and plethora of meat-lovers options. Sink your teeth into tender, slow-roasted ribs, then share a white-chocolate-croissant bread pudding with the kids.
Lionshead Chophouse | Lionshead
Tap your foot to live guitar music as you savor the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese or the buttery Creekstone Farm New York strip. The grown-ups can’t have all the fun, however. Get the kids a Bavette Steak of their very own.
Whisk the family away to Germany — these sister restaurants serve Bavarian classics like brotzeitbrett (ornate layers of sliced meats and nutty cheeses) or pork schnitzel. For kids, order the schlawiner (buttered noodles) or the striezi (a juicy bratwurst with mashed potatoes).
Perfect Vail Picnic Spots
Experience your own personal picnic with Grazing Fox at unique locations along Gore Creek, the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and Vail Nature Center. Custom picnics include a “grazing board,” chilled bottled water, a Polaroid camera and games ranging from conversation cards to corn hole. Each experience can be customized with a photographer, balloons, flower arrangements and more.
Other lovely Vail picnic spots include:
- Gore Creek/Covered Bridge: Picnic tables are available on the south side of the covered bridge on both sides of Gore Creek Drive.
- Ford Park: Find welcoming picnic tables under two covered pavilions and others along Gore Creek.
- Gore Creek/International Bridge: Picnic tables are set up on the International Bridge — or scout out a natural area along the creek for your meal.
- Gore Creek in front of Vail Library: Just off the Vail Recreation Path in front of the library, you’ll find several picnic tables with ample shade.
- Pirate Ship Park: A couple of picnic tables and several benches surround the park, so you can enjoy lunch while the kids play.
- Sunbird Park: Picnic tables and benches fill this Lionshead park that offers a summertime water feature to cool off in between bites.