|In quality and variety of restaurants, Snowshoe and Petoskey (Mich.) run
a close race. Where Snowshoe has a clear advantage is convenience --- all
its eateries are within a walk, shuttle ride or ski descent from your lodging.
Every skiier in the region grieved when Snowshoe abolished Aunti Pasta’s after the 2003 season. It was probably the mountain’s best restaurant, great for breakfast before hitting the slopes and a hearty dinner coming off them. It was the most affordable full service restaurant, a great family stop while also serving food that matched anything at the more upscale establishments. Even the best executives make bad decisions, and the planners who ended Aunti Pasta’s run were guilty of colossal poor judgement.
But the mountain still offers 17 restaurants, several of them really good. Two are out on the slopes.
|The Boathouse Grille sits along the lake at the foot of the Northern Slopes,
right by the Ball Hooter Lift. With its wood stove, music and hearty lunches,
The Boathouse is a good mid day haven. But try to ski until about 1:30.
The crowds make the Boathouse pretty unmanageable from 11:30 until then.
Arbuckle’s Cabin serves the hard core at the base of the Western Territory. Since only the best skiers can make it down the hill, the folk at Arbuckle’s are rather an elite crew. There’s a pot bellied stove to take the chill off on hostile days, and the soups and stews, served in a bread bowl, will be one of the highlights of your weekend.
There are various pizza, ice cream and fast food outlets, and two Yurts (Mongolian tents) erected as slopeside convenient stores.
A Stellar Coffee bar is in Rimfire Lodge, offering a dozen hot brews and the accompanying pastries.
In the center of the village is the Shaver’s Food Court, a cafeteria with soups, vegetables, main courses, breads and desserts. The variety and prices are good, but the quality compares to a good high school food service.
For dinner our favorite is The Red Fox over in Whistlepunk. You definitely need reservations. This is an adventure in good eating. Go with several friends, order as many different items as possible, and share around. Not to be missed are the Dakota Pheasant Ravioli, Green Tomato Martini, Elk, Wild Boar, Salmon-Scallop Merge, and for anyone on a diet the Vegetarian Potpourri. Figure on $7-8 for the appetizers and $20-30 for main courses. You’ll remember this as long as you do the skiing.
Rosie’s Cantina at Top of the World is a Mexican restaurant with a menu short but great. The Quesadillas are worth the stop.
Eli’s Tavern, also in Rimfire Lodge, is noted for its Grilled Quail
and Sweet Potato Chowder.
And for couples wanting to celebrate a special occasion with a unique experience, make advance reservations to ski, sleigh or snowmobile out to Sunrise Backcountry Hut. You really ought to spend the night, but if necessary you can arrange to be brought back after dinner. You’ll enjoy magnificent scenery, enter the Hut to the smell of fresh baked bread, warm up by the wood burning stove, and relax in log furniture. Then you’ll sit down to a gourmet meal by candle light. You won’t beat this at any ski resort in the Rockies.
Despite the isolation and everything being brought in by snowmobile, the dinners are all gourmet. You don't have much selection but you don't need much. It's like eating at a friend's house where you accept what they serve you but it's all delicious.