I was only 19 years old when I moved to the United States temporarily as an intern which lasted for a year. It was my first time getting a “job,” which is why budgeting my expenses were new to me. As a student intern, as much as I’m excited to try different restaurants, I always make it a point to eat at a reasonable price. Exploring this beautiful little town not only satisfied the wanderlust in me, but also my big appetite. The following are just some of the affordable places to eat which are found in Aspen only.
433 E. Durant Ave. Aspen, CO
Open daily: 11am-9pm
If you want to try their local fast food, this is the place to go. They serve burgers and fries, hot dogs, salads, milkshakes and spiked shakes. It’s where we usually dine after work, especially when we crave their truffle fries! I usually order “Summit Burger” or “Grilled Chicken Burger.” The meals range from $7.95 to $9.95 plus a few dollars if you wish to make it a combo with some fries on the side. After you order, you get a receipt with a random name on it, mostly celebrities’ names. It’s just funny when you get called as J.Lo or something.
During summer, they have mini golf that is enjoyed by families who come and dine here. And for winter, they turn it into an outdoor ice skating rink which is fun and remarkable especially for tourists! It’s also just across the bus station which provides free bus rides within Aspen to Snowmass Village.
520 E. Durant Ave. Suite 101 Aspen, CO
It’s the place where you can get some gourmet wraps or burritos for more or less $7 only. They also offer chips and dips, tacos, salads, homemade vegan soups, and smoothies! I’m not a fan of burritos, but my roommate’s favorite was the “Pesto Wrap.” The place has limited seats so, we usually order for to-go. Their smoothies are definitely must try too!
455 Rio Grande PI Aspen, CO
16 Kearns Road, Suite 116A Snowmass Center, Snowmass, CO
Open daily: 11am-9pm
To not add any confusion, Tasters Pizza has two branches in Aspen, one, is in the town itself and the other is in Snowmass. Apart from dining in, we love pizza deliveries too! We usually order the 18-inch “Supreme” or “Big Daddy” pizza worth $23 each for our group. They also allow you to choose two flavors for a single order of pizza. Then you could also add some veggie toppings and cheeses depending on your preference. Their 8-inch pizza only costs $9.50 to $11 depending on its variant.
Meanwhile, their Meat Sauce, Alfredo, and Pesto Chicken pasta which range from $12-$14 are also worth trying. Lastly, their Buffalo Wings with Ranch dressing on the side is the best! When we have it delivered to our apartment, I would sometimes eat it with rice too. For the chicken wings, you have the option to choose from Buffalo or BBQ.
Moreover, they have more appetizer options, salads, calzones, deli and hot submarine sandwiches, and even paninis.
The White House Tavern
302 East Hopkins Avenue Aspen, CO
As soon as you check their menu, please don’t get intimidated easily by their prices. My favorite meal from them is the Crispy Chicken Sandwich which costs $18. BUT, there’s a big but, it can be shared by two. You will never regret it, I swear! There are times when I even order it for myself alone so I can take home the other half.
I also suggest you try the Dip Duo which consists of jalapeno queso, guacamole, and warm tortilla chips. As much as I can remember, the tortilla chips are unlimited, I’m just not so sure about it, now. It costs $15 which is ideal for sharing too! They also serve wide-array of snacks, salads, and other sandwiches.
Despite their small place, they also have a bar where you can enjoy excellent wines, cocktails, and beer.
414 E. Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO
It’s a bar which serves the best craft beer in Aspen. It was unfortunate that I didn’t get to try it since I was still a minor at that time. Aside from beer, they also serve “spirits,” wines, cocktails, appetizers, salads, sandwiches, desserts, and even kids’ meal! I’ll never forget their grilled cheese sandwich which is perfect with their tomato soup. It was the best combo ever, and I highly recommend it.
Breakfast and desserts
665 E. Cooper Ave. Aspen, CO
Open daily: 7am-2:30pm
If you love breakfast food, this is the place to go. They serve breakfast all day thus they also have a lunch menu. They’re known for their oatmeal buttermilk pancakes and crepes. Hence, they also serve various egg meals, fruits and cereals, french toast, waffles, smoothies, health drinks, and other beverages. I love their creamed spinach crepe as well as their waffle with fruits.
French Alpine Bistro – Creperie du Village
400 E. Hopkins Ave. Aspen, CO
Open daily: 11:30 am-Midnight
I know how French restaurants can get so intimidating, especially when it comes to their lavish setting and ambiance. For their soups and meals, it ranges from $11 to $46. However, if you don’t want to spend that much on your lunch or dinner, better try their desserts then.
My friends and I are always in a group of three or more so most of the time we share what we order. We tried their “Schokoladepalatschinke” which we couldn’t pronounce, one of their most popular crepes made with chocolate worth $14. It’s filled with chocolate ganache, dulce de leche, strawberries, bananas, and served with whipped cream. We also had their Fondue Au Chocolat which is everyone’s favorite. I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate fondue? It’s worth $16 which again, is great for sharing too!
Paradise Bakery and Cafe
320 S. Galena St. Aspen, CO
Open daily: 6:30am-9pm
They’re most famous for their cookies, but they also have excellent muffins, brownies, bars, croissants, quiche, gelato, desserts, and hot and iced drinks. No wonder they’ve been in the business for over forty years for serving made from scratch baked goods and gelato. Need I say more?
308 S. Hunter St. Aspen, CO
Open daily: 11:30am-9:30pm
For over 18 years now, Little Ollie’s has been serving the Aspen locals and tourists the best casual Chinese dining experience. Their dishes are mostly for group sharing which best describes the family style dining among Asian countries. They serve appetizers, dim sum, soups, salads, rice, noodles, and numerous traditional and non-traditional Chinese dishes. One of my favorite Ollie’s specialties is the General Tao’s Chicken which costs only $15.95. We usually get an order of chicken, pork or shrimp or beef, veggies and fried rice. You can double each dish depending on your group size. Everything is just affordable and worth it!
And of course, don’t forget to crack open your fortune cookie after your meal!
The cost of living in Aspen is a bit high that’s why eating out can be so expensive. I have a lot more restaurants in mind with exceptional food and service but are pricey. In addition to that, during the off-season in Aspen, most establishments such as the restaurants and hotels are being closed temporarily. However, there are still some shops that are open only with a different opening and closing time. Moreover, As unfortunate as it may sound, some of the restaurants I used to dine in were already closed permanently. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure the newly opened restaurants in Aspen are all worth trying too. Enjoy!