Aprés Cafe — East Vail

Restaurant Spotlight

“You can aprés anything.”

Wise words from Ahmad Almadhoun, owner and operator of Aprés Cafe, and we couldn’t agree more. Everyone knows aprés-ski, and how about aprés-snowshoe, aprés-shop, aprés-work, aprés-play? East Vail’s newest (and only) eatery is a true celebration of all the reasons to love mountain life, and the crew behind Aprés Café really knows what it means to be local.

Alongside co-owner and general manager Jennifer Lewis, Almadhoun has cooked up an all-star team of longtime Vail hospitality professionals. Both Lewis and Almadhoun, as well as Aprés’ beverage manager Tom Derrico, all worked together for years at the acclaimed Vail Village restaurant Sweet Basil.

“East Vail is a whole different thing,” shares Lewis. “It’s a whole different vibe, which I love. It’s so chill, which is amazing.

In May 2022, Almadhoun and Lewis acquired the space within Vail Racquet Club from the operators of what was Heirloom Restaurant. The only foundation the Aprés team had to work with was the bones of the space with tables and chairs. They turned around an entire restaurant concept in a month, opening for the summer season in June. They painted the wall behind the bar blue like the Colorado sky, created an approachable and delicious menu, ordered top-tier ingredients, put their twist on every detail, then hit the ground running.

“It’s just nice having people that have been in the industry and who know what they’re doing and are willing to adapt and figure it out, all together,” says Lewis.

The space is large with tall ceilings and picture windows. Artwork throughout celebrates what it means to aprés playfully; illustrations reading “Planet of the Aprés” and “The Phantom of the Aprés.” It’s very community friendly, for large groups and small, and an additional upstairs area with a separate bar and patio will be available for use this winter; then, they’ll prep another patio for summer.

Such a solid foundation creates a pure appetite for great food and drinks, and of course, the Aprés team serves it all up just right. Almadhoun orders the best ingredients and keep the menu offerings simple and executed to perfection. Tasty starters and dynamic salads are great to share alongside an order of Aprés’ signature fries. Guests can choose a seasoning, a sauce and a protein for a personalized and unique combination of what could be coined “Rocky Mountain poutine.” Lewis is partial to the Old Bay seasoning with seafood on top.

Aprés Cafe is open 12 to 9 p.m, Thursday through Monday.

Closed Tuesday + Wednesday.

4695 Racquet Club Drive, Vail

Aprés makes their pizza dough and pasta from scratch; it’s a vibe of quality that runs throughout. Almadhoun says some elevated winter additions will include mussels, crab mac and cheese, tabouli with duck confit and vanilla crème brûlée.

Derrico’s beverage program follows suit with house wine selections that are more tasteful than most you’ll see on a by-the-glass list, classic cocktails with top-shelf ingredients and local craft beer from staples like Vail Brewing Company.

Aprés Cafe is no doubt an endeavor sustained of combined hearts and talents, and the support of every guest who comes in and dines is absolutely felt.

“We have friends further down valley, and I don’t expect to see their faces often,” says Derrico, “but for them to have a special occasion four miles away from Vail Village where they’ve never been able to have it before, that’s super cool.”

And remember, you can aprés anything, so there’s always an occasion to head over and enjoy Aprés Cafe.