Dining at The Stanley Hotel: Cascades Restaurant

by Grace Boyle on February 2, 2012

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Nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, sits the historic Stanley Hotel. Opened since 1909, The Stanley Hotel is most notably known for its inspiration to Stephen King’s, The Shining and even where Dumb and Dumber filmed some of the movie. It has been featured as one of America’s most haunted hotels and their ghost tours prove they walk the talk.

I’ve visited The Stanley before but hadn’t heard much about their in-house restaurant, Cascades. I recently sat down to dinner and a night with the ‘ghosts’ to learn about their new food, beverage program and staff.

Let me take you on a culinary tour.

As we entered the Cascades off the lobby of the hotel, the aesthetics are like an old saloon with a gleaming copper ceiling and wooden interior, but don’t be fooled. The food is creative and sourced locally, with a feel of classic American. The tables are covered in white tablecloths and around us, people were celebrating in groups, on dates and birthdays.

Executive Chef Richard Beichner has been with Cascades for the last 8 months, with 20+ years of cooking under his belt from around the country and Mark Orttel, the Director of Food and Beverage has been with The Stanley for the last 10 months. Together, with their staff, they’ve re-surged with a new beverage and food program.

Mark cruised through the restaurant, laughing with the regulars, shaking hands and hugging and warmly meeting with first-time guests.

We saw a table with a plethora of wine bottles on their table, with Mark talking with them and pouring wine into glasses. When Mark came over to us he mentioned, he likes the opportunity to let guests have a small taste of all the wine, before they choose a bottle or glass. I love that idea.

You truly are welcomed and meant to feel comfortable at Casacdes.

First thing I noticed about the menu? Their clearly marked gluten-free items and a variety of fish, vegetarian and meat.

Here’s what we ate:

Rock Shrimp Tempura – CRISPY DEEP WATER SHRIMP FLASH FRIED/ MEYER LEMON AIOLI/ CHOPPED SCALLION

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad – MORALES FARMS RED AND GOLD BEETS/ HAY STACK MOUNTAIN GOAT CHEESE WHITE BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

Smoked Pheasant Chowder – PHEASANT BROTH/ TOASTED CORN/ WILD RICE/ FRESH CREAM

New Bedford Scallops – SEARED SCALLOPS/ PUMPKIN PUREE/ CHARRED RADICCHIO/ HOUSE CURED PANCETTA MAPLE CANDIED PUMPKIN SEEDS

Wild Mushroom Risotto – SMOKED IN-HOUSE CHICKEN and SNAP PEAS

Atlantic Salmon – SEARED SALMON/CARAMELIZED ROMENESCO/CREAMED LEEKS/PINOT BUTTER SAUCE

Alamosa Striped Bass – SEARED COLORADO BASS FILET/ TOMATO CONFIT/QUINOA/ SUGAR SNAP PEAS PICKLED RED ONIONS

The Desserts:

The next time you’re looking for an adventure and the novelty of a unique, beautiful hotel think of Casacades at The Stanley. From Denver and Boulder it’s an easy day-trip and it’s a nice place to take guests from out of town, because of the history. The food truly wowed us and I loved learning how they made virtually everything in-house, from scratch.

Find them:

 http://stanleyhotel.com  | http://stanleyhotel.com/dining/cascades/

Facebook.com/TheStanleyHotel

333 Wonderview Avenue  Estes Park, CO | 800-976-1377

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  • http://twitter.com/jrmoreau James Ryan Moreau

    One of the best meals ever. The sticky toffee pudding was easily my favorite desert I’ve had in recent memory and the Stanley Hotel is surreal to walk around in. Wish we could have spent more time!

  • Toni @ Boulder Locavore

    How fun Grace! I think I’ve only had Easter Brunch at the Stanley and that has been many years now. I have always been enchanted by it after reading The Shining and hearing an interview with Stephen King that he was there on the off season to write the book and was inspired by hearing ‘someone’ on the catwalk as well as the party scene (which he apparently heard taking place though the place was vacant). It’s such a statuesque sight up on the mountain.

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      Agreed! Their new menu items really are great and I had fun learning about the process and local purveyors they use.

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