Ski Tip Lodge in Keystone ranked No. 6 in country by OpenTable diners | SummitDaily.com

Ski Tip Lodge in Keystone ranked No. 6 in country by OpenTable diners

Krista Driscoll
kdriscoll@summitdaily.com
Courtesy of Keystone Resort
Courtesy of Keystone Resort |

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Ski Tip Lodge is located at 764 Montezuma Road in Keystone. To read reviews about the restaurant or to make an online reservation, visit www.opentable.com/ski-tip-lodge-restaurant. For reservations by phone, call (800) 354-4386.

Your mental Rolodex of well-known foodie destinations likely includes hot spots in major metro areas from Los Angeles and New York to Chicago and Las Vegas, but you might be surprised to find that one of the top-rated dining experiences in the country sits right in our own backyard.

OpenTable, a restaurant reservation and review website, recently named the Ski Tip Lodge in Keystone among its Diners’ Choice 2014 Best Restaurants in America, rating the iconic mountain chalet No. 6 based on an analysis of more than 5 million reviews of more than 20,000 restaurants across the United States.

Bryan Baker, executive chef at Ski Tip Lodge, was ecstatic about the ranking, which puts the Ski Tip among such company as SeaBlue Restaurant & Wine Bar in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Sushi Nakazawa in New York City.

“It’s huge! Are you kidding me?” he said of the honor. “Just look at our geographical location and the restaurants we are being compared to. I thought to myself last year when I received the biggest award of my life, being top 100 in America, ‘How can we go further?’ Well, another year of hard work, consistency and doing what I love, and look, we went from being recognized nationally in the top 100 to being ranked in the top 10.

“Personally, I’m not sure if it has really sunk in yet; you still might have to give me a minute.”

EXCELLENT FOOD, SERVICE

Baker began his tenure with the Ski Tip in 2004, departing in 2008 and returning once again in 2012 to lead the culinary team. He said the opportunity to express his artistry through the menu’s ever-changing, innovative offerings is what drew him to the restaurant.

“My goal when developing my menus for the evening is to provide my guests with a variety of dishes composed of the highest quality ingredients that I have put my creativity, passion for food, knowledge of the culinary arts and my honesty into,” he said. “I don’t view the Ski Tip Lodge as ‘cutting edge.’ We work really hard to produce cuisine that rivals our competition and sets us apart from the rest.”

OpenTable reviewers raved about Baker’s fare and were equally complimentary of sommelier Megan Morgan’s “thorough and delightful commentary” and friendly demeanor, one commentator describing her pairings as a “wine-lover’s dream.” Morgan said the Ski Tip’s wine list has come a long way from the 20 labels of domestic, highly recognizable wines that were available when she first started working there.

“I feel that it is my charge to allow our guests the pleasure of enjoying phenomenal wines from every corner of the world,” she said. “With a menu that changes on a daily basis, it is necessary for me to have many bottles to play with. I’ve increased the wine list to over 500 selections to ensure that I am able to please every palate and pair with every plate.”

Beyond the palate-pleasing fare, reviewers also dwelled upon the Ski Tip’s impeccable service, stating that the staff members were “genuine” and “always add a personal touch to make you feel welcome.” Both Baker and Morgan said the OpenTable ranking was due in no small part to the professionalism of the restaurant’s staff.

“Our front of house staff is not just awesome, they are exceptional,” Baker said. “I believe my style of food and the flavor profiles of my dishes combined with the knowledge and passion for great service my front of the house team possesses is a recipe for success.”

Morgan, who has been at the Ski Tip for 24 years, the past 10 as sommelier, said everyone on staff strives to provide the best possible service, food and overall experience.

“We are able to provide a seamless dining experience from start to finish; every aspect of dinner is amazing, from the food on the plate to the wine in the glass to the ambiance enveloping our guests in this cozy and historic setting,” she said.

IN THE PUBLIC EYE

Being a member of OpenTable means that the general public has had the opportunity to evaluate the Ski Tip Lodge on a daily basis since the restaurant joined the website in September 2012. Baker said the advent of online reviews has created a very vulnerable period in time for chefs in general and especially for him at the Ski Tip, where guests have very high expectations.

“It forces us to operate with very high standards,” he said. “My goal is for every one of my guests to have the experience of a lifetime. I want them to leave so impressed with the food and the level of service that they can’t resist writing about their positive experience. Apart from that, being a member of OpenTable gives the public accessibility to reservation and information about our establishment that they didn’t have before.”

“It’s been said that success is the sum of small efforts repeated every day,” reads OpenTable’s introduction. “The Top 100 Restaurants in America represent the establishments where creativity, consistency and hospitality meet at every meal, every day.” That consistency, combined with years of hard work, has brought the Ski Tip to a new level of national recognition, something Baker said everyone in the industry should strive for.

“For many years, we have been considered a ‘hidden gem’ here in Summit County; many of our guests discovered us by word of mouth,” Morgan said. “With the advent of social media and OpenTable, many more people from all over the U.S. have discovered us. It is so exciting to me that the word is out and more people are able to enjoy the personalized Ski Tip experience.”


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