By Katie Rapone, editor
Each month, Mile High CRE will highlight a new place to “dine or recline” in the Centennial State. September’s feature is the new Stoke & Rye restaurant located inside the award-winning Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa Avon, Vail Valley.
Previously Maya, a modern Mexican kitchen by acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval, the restaurant underwent a major renovation that began in April 2022, transforming it from a rather understated space, into a bright and airy modern American grill that capitalizes on the location’s breathtaking views and is more in keeping with the overall design of the resort.
Denver-based Semple Brown Design was the interior designer & architect for the renovation and Ann Benson Reidy & Associates served as art consultant. The restaurant officially opened on June 19, 2022.
Semple Brown was assigned the task of reimagining the restaurant’s layout and functionality. “The original restaurant layout was not lining up well along the glass and so our focus was on capturing the amazing views of the mountains for as many seats as possible,” says Georgia Brown, associate at Semple Brown. “One of the things we thought a lot about was how the space would feel in the snow and how the space would feel in the summer. We designed a bright space because the eye has a hard time adjusting to the white outside with a dark interior.”
The result is a spacious yet inviting dining room that embraces the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains with earthy textures, rustic mixed metal design elements and botanicals. Guests can also enjoy unmatched views of Beaver Creek Mountain and the Eagle River on Stoke & Rye’s expansive patio, which offers multiple fire pits and a full-service outdoor bar.
Designing a restaurant within a resort comes with its own set of unique challenges, both logistically and from a design perspective. Construction was carried out during the down season. “We completely shut the restaurant down for 2+ months to complete the major renovation,” said The Westin Riverfront’s GM Brian Harrier. “The Stoke & Rye space is much brighter – it has lighter floor boards and paints. We also added a blonde brick fire wall that separates the dining space from the lounge/bar area.”
In addition, supply chain disruptions forced Semple to make many last-minute alterations. “We actually ended up designing the furniture before we designed the finishes because of the long lead times for furniture,” says Brown.
In the redesign of the space, Semple took into careful consideration all of the resort’s components, to build a unique, coherent experience. Brown felt fortunate that the design firm had previously participated in the redesign of the Westin Riverfront’s lobby, which made designing the restaurant an easier transition. “It’s about making something feel like it fits within the larger portfolio, as well as making it feel special,” added Brown.
A global pioneer in contemporary Latin Cuisine, Chef Richard Sandoval’s Stoke and Rye restaurant somewhat breaks the mold for the acclaimed chef, when placed among his expansive portfolio of restaurants located across the US and in nine other countries.
“While the core of our portfolio is and always will remain with Latin concepts, there are a handful of American brands like Stoke & Rye or Asian restaurants like Zengo that celebrate culture through other types of cuisine,” explains Sandoval. “One of the biggest challenges was creating a concept that resonates with both the Vail Valley locals and the diverse mix of travelers.”
Sandoval spent more than a year working to finalize the menu for Stoke & Rye. The menu reflects the Colorado landscape while embracing Chef Sandoval’s creative stylings. Dishes are genuine, time-honored, and traditional — slow roasting in wood embers, braising, preserving, and smoking techniques bring the true flavors of America’s great foods. Hand-cut steaks and chops, flamed tomahawk, shucked oysters, seafood towers, rack of lamb with an herb crust, and house-smoked line caught Colorado trout comprise the menu highlights, which also features a dynamic pastry program.
Drawing an international crowd, guests of The Westin Riverfront seek a unique dining experience. Which is why he features dishes like the 52 oz. Tomahawk Steak on the menu. “It is definitely a showstopper – it is flamed tableside with moonshine whiskey. It really is a dramatic presentation that draws in the entire dining room,” says Sandoval.
Many of the dishes at Stoke & Rye are made to be shared, such as the Raclette. Also served tableside, this comforting dish includes cured meats, roasted potatoes and grilled house made focaccia.
To keep the locals coming back, Sandoval changes up the Stoke & Rye menu seasonally to add in new dishes that highlight the amazing, locally-sourced Colorado ingredients.
To find out more about Stoke and Rye, visit: https://www.stokeandrye.com
Photos courtesy of Stoke & Rye