Let’s eat! Dillon’s got the goods — in so, so many ways
This is the way we like to think about food here in Dillon: There’s a lot to do, and the air is quite thin compared to, say, Newark or Tuscaloosa. With the human body exerting itself beyond normal means, you need to feed it often and well.
So, yeah — we’ve got you covered. In the forms of breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour, mid-day snacking, bedtime snacking, a quick something for watching the sailboats, to-go meals for the sunset at Marina Park, backpack meals for the trail, appetizers for your pontoon cruise and savory food-truck somethings for your weekend concert at Dillon Amphitheater.
And then there’s the beer. Trust us.
Dillon is home to two award-winning breweries that conveniently have full-scale restaurants attached. In the heart of town, Pug Ryan’s dishes out prime rib, seafood, steaks, ribs and a bit of vegetarian fare, in addition to elixirs such as Peacemaker Pilsner, Deadeye Dunkel and Old Crow Cream Ale. Bonus: Canned beers for hiking and boating.
You may have heard of the Tiki Bar, a satellite of Pug Ryan’s that is delightfully lakeside at the Dillon Marina. You can get Pug’s craft beers at this seasonal favorite, in addition to Rum Runners and an array of pub food. Lots of high praise has been earned here in the form of various best-of lists: Sunset magazine rated it the fifth best deck in the western United States and, more recently, The Denver Post listed it among the top five beach bars in Colorado.
You’ll find the Dillon Dam Brewery off U.S. Highway 6 on Little Dam Street. They offer Dam Good Beer (their words, your experience) in multiple selections, including Zuma Zen and Grapefruit Double IPA. Big burgers, pub favorites and full-on dinners such as Honey Sriracha Salmon and Great Plains Bison Sirloin round things out.
Back in the heart of Dillon on Lake Dillon Drive, the Arapahoe Café (and Pub Down Under) has what you need for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’ll find some of the best flowers in Summit County on their patio, and classic Colorado knotty pine inside. One of the cool things about the Arapahoe Café is that it was moved from the old Town of Dillon to its current site in 1960, lest it be bulldozed for the coming Dillon Reservoir. Anyway: Award-winning barbecue, huge selection of burgers, salads, apps and an array of dinner entrees.
If you’re looking for a little bit of everything, the Red Mountain Grill on Anemone Trail may be your ticket. Boasting a happy hour that runs from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, the Grill has plenty of signature cocktails with an array of apps and lighter fare to accompany. Chef specialties include steaks and ribs, and you can also choose from authentic street tacos and south-of-the-border favorites.
In town at 119 La Bonte St., the new White Boots café is getting enthusiastic reviews for its Mexican specialties, salads, sandwiches and hearty breakfasts that include big-ol’ skillets, Elvis Enchiladas and chicken fried steak.
If you’re looking for casual, reasonably priced and authentic Mexican fare, check out Tacos Tequila in the bowling alley building in the center of town (135 Main St.). “Bomb tacos,” in the words of one reviewer who promises to come back.
Looking for lighter/veg fare? Cafe ProFusion, at 119 La Bonte St., features Indian/Asian and gluten-free cuisine. Options include curries, vegetarian stew, soups and meat dishes that include braised baby back ribs and pot roast panang.
Adriano’s Bistro, at 240 Lake Dillon Drive, serves up classic Italian fare. Pasta, yes, but more: pan-seared prime rib with a lobster tail, chicken dishes, an array of pizzas and a chocolate mousse listed as “a ten-pound whipped chocolate bar.”
Right across the street from the Dillon park downtown, Cameez Frozen Yogurt, Coffee and Crepe Cafe at 135 Main St. is here to scratch your itch for snacking. Pick your toppings, and have a crepe or a soup to go.
A vacation isn’t right without Pizza Night, and Jersey Boys Pizza & Deli has that all set up for you. Located at 149 Tenderfoot St., the crew produces classic pizza in a zillion configurations, as well as appetizers, salads, pasta and a side of meatballs.
Heading north up U.S. Highway 6, you’ll find a bevy of eateries in the vicinity of City Market. If you’ve got to have fish or shrimp tacos, Chimayo Mexican Grill is your place. The rellenos and enormous burritos are a bonus.
A bit north of City Market, but still in the Dillon environs, you’ll find your standbys that can bring comfort to the weary traveler. Smashburger has lots of big burgers and fries, and if you’re wondering what suds to have, they’ll help you out with beer pairings. In other words, the Truffle Mushroom Swiss goes with the Fat Tire. Nearby, you’ll encounter Noodles & Company, which has quick bowls of Penne Rosa, Pad Thai and Wisconsin Mac & Cheese, to name a few. If you need a salad or sandwich, no problem!