by Tracy Greenhalgh
Copper Mountain’s brand new breakfast eatery, Toast & Co., (located in Center Village across from Copper’s iconic Fire Ball) will warm your chilly morning and satisfy your cravings for all things savory, sweet, and even boozy.
This inviting and cozy enclave, appointed with comfy couches and chairs (plus table and bar seating) exudes an understated hip, vintage flair. Strains of bluegrass and coffee house tunes float through the air mingling with the titillating scent of a hearty breakfast cooking on the griddle and stove.
“It’s like a cross between a diner, your grandma’s living room and a speakeasy with abundant bottles of whiskey perched on the shelf–-it’s super comfortable,” says Dustin Ford, Toast & Co.’s general manager, chef and chief mixologist.
Toast & Co. is open for breakfast Monday - Thursday from 8am until 2:30pm. and 7:30am until 3pm on Friday – Sunday. At 3pm you can slide back in to relax and enjoy one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted libations after a nice, long day on the hill.
Toast & Co. offers a variety of breakfast options from the griddle – like caramelized pineapple pancakes, pumpkin ginger cakes, and my favorite, the stuffed French toast will satisfy your decadent sweet tooth. My plate of stuffed French toast had me drooling as I dug in to the raspberry cream cheese stuffed baguette which was sliced, grilled and topped with salted caramel Grand Marnier whipped cream, fresh fruit and Vermont maple syrup. It was fabulous.
If savory is your favorite, they’ve got you covered. I made an excellent choice with the classic: eggs, thick-cut cherry wood smoked bacon, scallop cut potatoes and peppers, and sourdough artisan bread plated on eclectic, patterned china alongside floral cloth napkins and rustic flatware. I also ordered a mouthwatering side of grapefruit brulee with carmelized brown sugar.
If you love benny’s, you’ve got four to choose from – classic, veggie, Mexican inspired and smoked salmon. My friend chose the yummy salmon option and the golden hollandaise sauce was heavenly. Huevos rancheros, pork chicharrones with chorizo and eggs, and chorizo hash will satisfy your hankering for Mexican, and for the vegetarians there’s a tofu scramble. A variety of classic and modern breakfast sandwiches will deliciously fuel you for a quad-burning morning on the mountain.
Of course Toast & Co. offers the caffeine lover’s staple of premium barista-made coffees, but you can also get morning mixology specialty drinks, along with rotating wine and draft beers on tap.
Ford, who has worked with the wedding and banquet department at Copper Mountain for the past ten years, made the move to Toast & Co. four months ago, bringing along his vision for incorporating an extensive cocktail program into the restaurant.
“I wanted to bring in prohibition style drink recipes and a diverse selection of booze, so we swung further into that direction and I was excited to ignite that flame,” says Ford.
“We offer a wide variety of whiskey and other spirits, so our guests can sit down and try some nice, neat pours. We offer 21 signature cocktails, and prohibition era cocktails. We’re not looking to bring people in for ten 2$ beers and shots,” says Ford.
“We’re currently developing an extensive European purveyed charcuterie program to interface with small plates and our cocktail menu,” says Ford. Look for the launch of this après ski dining experience around January 26th.
“Our staff is excited to sample and get to play with the charcuterie board this weekend,” says Ford.
When I asked for a description of a couple of his favorite cocktail offerings, here’s what he told me:
“Not Another Notch – A drink made of gin aged in barrels treated with honey, along with a nice local vodka, Leopold Bros. Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur, Lillet Blanc (an aperitif wine) shaken and served in a martini glass. It’s mixed with four straightforward alcohols that make for a smooth, easy drinking, beautiful and spicy floral cocktail. I came up with the idea for it while sitting next to my wife on couch,” says Ford.
“Our Fashioned – this drink was created in the spirit of an old fashioned, mixed with AD Laws 4 Grain Straight Bourbon, Colorado blackberry thyme simple syrup, Angostura bitters, a blood orange twist and a big rock. It’s got a mountain flair and doesn’t take away from this bourbon. You want to keep the flavor of that nice glass of bourbon, so it’s just lightly accented with the simple fruit syrup,” says Ford.
Ford is from Denver and tended bar there a few years ago, which ignited his interest in mixology.
“When I was bartending in downtown Denver I served alongside some knowledgeable bartenders, servers and chefs in some great spots. Because the bar and kitchen mingled, we were all into pursuing and expanding food and drink pairings and talking booze. It was an overflow of knowledge and inspiration, focusing more on mixology and the taste of finer drinks and the foundation of cocktails,” says Ford.
Ford understands such things as the etymology of the word cocktail, that the Sazerac was the first published cocktail in North America, and that the Negroni is an example of a prohibition style drink. He’s part historian, part chemist, and you can definitely trust his instincts on your libations.
When asked about his vision for Toast and Co., Ford says, “I would like to see it be everything it currently is for daytime dining, always progressing. We offer the best breakfast at Copper in the best atmosphere, with the best people, the best place to sit and enjoy a meal,” says Ford. “I want to carry that ambience and experience from day into night, to harbor a spirit of enjoying the privilege and ritual of dining. I want people to be able to relax and sit for a couple of hours, to talk with each other and take a load off, and just enjoy some fine drinks. No shoddy cocktails allowed.
Like a fine spirit, this restaurant is already a gem, and it’s only going to improve with age.