CHEF MATT VAWTER BRINGS ELEGANT COMFORT FOOD TO 9,600 FEET IN BRECKENRIDGE.
Rootstalk is a cozy spot on Main Street in Breckenridge. PHOTO BY PATRICK MURPHY
SITUATED INSIDE a cozy Victorian built in 1898 during Breckenridge’s gold and silver mining boom, Rootstalk is a warm and inviting new spot that opened last winter. The restaurant is the creation of chef Matt Vawter, a Summit County local who polished his cooking skills at Denver’s Fruition restaurant and Mercantile Dining & Provision at Union Station.
“When I walked into this space for the first time, it just had that Breck charm,” Vawter says. “We feel like we are welcoming guests into our home.” A home with views: The front door looks out on Main Street and an aspen-lined patio. Out the back door, it’s full-on mountain views framed in Colorado’s signature blue sky.
The seasonal menu at Rootstalk—divided simply between snacks and large plates—reflects the ski town’s chill vibe fused with alpine joie de vivre.
“These dishes are all about slow cooking, pots on the stove all day, braising meats and root vegetables,” Vawter says. “It’s soulful stuff.”
The quintessential Rootstalk snack is braised rabbit pot pie: Housemade pastry crowns root vegetables, celeriac veloute and foraged mushrooms with a Burgundy truffle salad. Another hefty snack pairs Spanish octopus with sofrito-roasted potatoes, saffron aioli and nduja (spreadable salami).
The entree-sized large plates are as much about the accompaniments as the proteins. With these main events, Vawter elevates the familiar to sighworthy heights. Perfectly seared New York strip steak, for one, comes with a braised short rib and potato gnocchi ragout.
Can’t decide? Opt for a chef-chosen five- or seven-item tasting menu with wine pairings. “We try to miss no detail, but it’s genuine hospitality, never stuffy and pretentious,” Vawter says. 207 N. Main St., Breckenridge, 970.453.9124, rootstalkbreck.com
Spanish octopus with sofrito-roasted potatoes. PHOTO BY PATRICK MURPHY
“These dishes are all about slow cooking, pots on the stove all day, braising meats and root vegetables. It’s soulful stuff.” –Matt Vawter, owner and executive chef at Rootstalk