Pepi's Bar and Restaurant in downtown Vail Village, Colorado Photo Credit: Suzy Guese
For those that have been to Austria or Germany, you cannot help but crave schnitzel upon coming home. Well at least I can’t. The search for that breaded veal or any hearty German or Austrian dish normally comes up with a handful of choices in Denver. However just under two hours from the city in Vail, Pepi’s Bar and Restaurant lends the taste and feel of Austria for lunch or dinner.
The streets of Austria and Switzerland can be experienced in Colorado. Vail exudes a European element right down to the opulent fur coats worn by some of its more wealthy visitors. Languages spoken around Vail Village vary, with some you cannot even place. Vail exemplifies an international village right in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. Pepi’s Bar and Restaurant may be one reason why Vail has become so European.
Since 1964, former Austrian ski racer Pepi Gramshammer and his wife Sheika have served visitors and locals with tastes of Austria in cuisine and atmosphere. Pepi’s Bar and Restaurant maintains just one of the aspects to the Gramshammer complex in Vail. Pepi and Sheika also run Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer and Pepi Sports. The three establishments all hug each other in the middle of Vail Village.
Prices are somewhat high for a Wiener Schnitzel, but the portion of food is far from European. Pepi’s Bar and Restaurant serve classic European specialties of Goulash, Bratwurst and Jaegerschnitzel for lunch and dinner. On a weekend, expect Pepi’s to be packed with awkwardly walking ski boot wearing diners or families out for a special Saturday lunch. Reservations are encouraged by calling 970-476-4671 or face a little bit of a wait on busier days.
Even if you are not hungry, the exterior of Pepi’s and the Hotel are worth stopping for a picture. Travelers may have to do a double take as to which country their ski boots are standing. The bright yellow/orange color of the building along with European touches give off Austria to those who cannot afford the plane ticket or headache through security these days. Strap on the lederhosen. Suddenly Austria is not so far from Colorado.
For more information on Pepi’s Menu, visit their website.