When celebrity chef Kelly Liken surprised devoted diners by shuttering her namesake culinary landmark in Vail Village last spring, she vowed to put fine dining behind her. With Harvest, her new anchor restaurant that in June replaced (and already has upstaged) Balata at a newly remodeled Sonnenalp Club in Singletree, she’s made good on her promise.
“Regardless of the price they are paying, people don’t want to sit for three hours through 23 courses—and it’s not what I want, either,” Liken says. “The food and service at the new place won’t be all that much different from the old place. It is just more affordable and relaxed.”
Harvest features comfortable spaces and a menu of mix-and-match plates of veggies, meats, and grains to feed diverse dietary and gustatory desires. Like the view from her new restaurant’s terrace, a photogenic panorama of mountains, greens, and Spanish-tiled rooftops, Liken’s perspective is sunny.
“This is the first place I’ve opened from scratch,” adds Liken, who in 2010 established herself as one of Colorado’s most acclaimed chefs with appearances on Iron Chef America and Top Chef, and by cooking at the James Beard House. “We designed it around the idea of a gathering space where families can meet for a meal without investing a lot of time or money.”
The driving force behind the familial realignment? Liken and her husband/business partner, Rick Colomitz, are parents of Lucy, a very active 2-year-old. Naturally, Harvest has a great kids’ menu. “We give them something delicious and healthful,” says Liken, as firmly as only a mother can. “Besides, if you talk to kids they really don’t want chicken fingers.”
That said, it’s not surprising that the fare at Harvest reflects the farm-to-table pioneer’s longtime commitment to supporting sustainable and organic farmers and ranchers, including the Farm at Knapp Ranch in Edwards, Wynn Farms in Palisade, and Eagle Springs Organic in Rifle. Liken also plans to continue her tradition of buying (and butchering) a steer at the 4-H auction at the Eagle County Fair.
Harvest’s “good honest comfort food” starts with treats like tempura-fried baby artichokes with preserved lemon aioli and roasted mushrooms with house-made ricotta, fried egg, and grilled ciabatta. On the dinner menu (served year-round; lunch will be available during the summer season with many of the same items) juicy pork shoulder roast is served with English peas and pea shoots as well as country ham salad, smoked pork broth, and creamy grits. Main courses include family-style platters of braised organic chicken thighs with sweet and hot chiles, Italian sausage, and fingerling potatoes.
And then there’s breakfast at The Pantry, a casual cafe that opens at 6:30 a.m. daily year-round for coffee, pastries, smoothies, and light breakfast items and stays open all day with ready-to-eat items.
“In the summer we’re going to make frozen fruit pops for the kids,” promises the chef. Which says something about Liken’s new approach with Harvest: she’s serious about food, but also about having fun.
Harvest By Kelly Liken • Sonnenalp Club • 1265 Berry Creek Road, Edwards • 970-477-5353