Lauren McElroy embraced grab-and-go long before Covid made it the hippest way to have dinner. “Our whole concept was kind of confusing to those expecting a typical ‘restaurant’; then Covid hit, and suddenly I was the innovator,” says the chef/owner of Lauren’s Kitchen (laurenskitchenedwards.com), a catering company that operates a small storefront across from the Bookworm at the Edwards Riverwalk serving ready-to-eat salads, party snacks, and heat-and-eat entrées. McElroy’s chicken salad (made with hard-boiled eggs) and lasagna Bolognese have cult-like devotees; other takeaway favorites include her bean-free, Texas-style chili and a ketchup-sauced meatloaf attesting to McElroy’s Southern roots.

Foods of Vail (foodsofvail.com) is an Avon-based full-service caterer with a takeaway outlet that’s celebrated for its gourmet comfort foods: think to-die-for beef Bourguignon and exquisite soups. “We make our stocks from scratch, meaning that we start with soup bones that we roast in-house,” explains chef/owner Tracey Van Curan. Desserts (such as the banana pineapple chocolate chip bread and award-winning chocolate chip cookies) are also standouts. Likewise, Avon’s Vin48 (vin48.com) will make its culinary staff (chef/owner Charles Hays and sous chef Spencer Lewis) available to prepare your choice of the wine bar’s specialties—from seared Colorado lamb loin with butternut squash gnocchi to chocolate hazelnut bread pudding with mezcal caramel—in the privacy of your home or condo.

Other restaurants have developed special takeaway menus with items that travel and reheat well. Avon’s Northside Kitchen (thenorthsidekitchen.com) is where you’ll find “the best enchiladas you’ll ever have,” promises owner Jim Pavelich, whose Take-N-Bake Family Meals (served in aluminum trays with enough to feed six, for $32) include lasagna and chicken Marsala. Even the restaurant’s extensive wine cellar (with respectable labels from California, Oregon, France, and Italy) is available to go, at below-retail pricing, with dozens of bottles arrayed on tables at the front of the house, not far from the doughnut case. In Vail Village, La Nonna Ristorante (lanonnavail.com/menu/cook-at-home-menu) offers two bake-at-home lasagnas and a half-dozen cook-at-home pastas with as many signature sauces.

Crave finer take-home dining? Both La Tour (latour-vail.com) and Splendido (splendidorestaurant.com) package many of their signature culinary masterpieces to go. You provide the candlelight, though, and the romance.

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