A COLORADO CHEF EMBRACES LOCALLY SOURCED INGREDIENTS WITH A DELECTABLE NEW MENU AT BEANO’S CABIN.
Chef Mackenzie Nicholson. PHOTO BY: ERIC DUNN
The plates are exquisite. PHOTO BY: MADISON MILLER
A LUXE LOG CABIN perched in a meadow on the slopes of Beaver Creek (beavercreek.com), Beano’s Cabin was once the homestead of Frank “Beano” Bienkowski, a Polish immigrant who grew lettuce on-site and sold it down the road in Avon. The cabin’s history is interpreted through a five-course tasting menu highlighting hyperlocal Colorado cuisine. Chef Mackenzie Nicholson, a Colorado native who’s been at the helm of Beano’s since last summer, intentionally incorporates arugula, rainbow Swiss chard, and other lettuces that might have grown in the garden a hundred years ago.
Beano’s architecture transcends the log cabin. PHOTO BY: RIC STOVALL/ALL COURTESY OF BEAVER CREEK RESORT
Summertime guests are invited to take a horseback ride up to the cabin, taking in breathtaking views of Grouse Mountain and Larkspur Bowl on the way—and perhaps catching a glimpse of the kitchen’s garden. In planning crops, Nicholson had to take into account Beaver Creek’s weather and elevation. “We want vegetables that are going to be hardy enough to withstand our cold temperatures, even in the middle of summer, and things that can be harvested over and over before they go to seed,” she says. “We’re really trying to fend for ourselves in terms of local ingredients.”
The summer menu will feature wild game such as rabbit, duck, venison and elk. “I’m really big on supporting local farms and ranches,” Nicholson says. Main courses will be complemented by beets and rhubarb grown in the garden, locally sourced mushrooms and a full pickle wall, preserved by Nicholson’s staff. Garnishes include edible flowers found on the mountainside near the cabin, and foraged raspberries will appear in salad dressings and sauces. Nicholson also ferments local honey sourced anywhere from five to 20 miles down the road to use as a finishing touch on many of the dishes at Beano’s.