Famous for its extensive wine list and exquisitely prepared food, Pinons has consistently remained a local, and celebrity, favorite since 1988. It was also my father’s first choice when taking his family out for a meal.
This past October, feeling the need to revisit that slice of life from my past, I made a reservation before the restaurant closed for the off-season. As I made the call, I wondered if perhaps I should let my memories stay just that, memories, lest I be disappointed.
Walking into the mountain elegant setting, designed by Cathers Home, I thought, just for a moment, how nice it would have been had we left the boys at home. Growing up I spent my summers visiting Europe, my mother’s homeland. We dined at the finest restaurants and, as far as I remember, behaved magnificently. But my boys are a bit more wild and, dare I say, less refined. This is not to say they don’t appreciate a good meal but, as they constantly remind us, as if we need reminding, they are boys and boys are not good at sitting still for very long.
Before we sat down, we said hello to the Chef/Owner Rob Mobilian, and his wife Beth. They were celebrating the 75th birthday of Beth’s father. I felt a pang for my father who would have loved celebrating his 81st birthday dining on the heated outside patio on Grilled Prime New York Strip Steak and Nana Mia’s infamous Lemon Chiffon Pie.
The family entity, and their involvement in the community, is part of what makes Pinons stand out over the other local restaurants. Rob, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, will modestly tell you that it all began in his mother’s kitchen. Beth, a petite package of strength and confidence, is responsible for their community philanthropy. With a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology, she holds strong to the belief that what you receive is clearly reflected in what you give. She is also deeply connect with local non-profit organizations such as Aspen’s Pathfinders for Cancer and The Buddy Program.
It was before she got her degree that Beth and Rob met at the bar at Pinons. Rob, and the restaurant, quickly became a part of her every existence. It wasn’t easy building a family and starting a restaurant, but they persevered and now, Twenty-four years and two children later, they have managed to sustain their golden status as one of Aspen’s best. Beth attributes their success to her hard working, meticulously efficient husband and their extended family; Chef Kevin Ribich, Maitre D’ Jim Andre and many of the other staff members who have been with them from the inception.
As for our experience, Pinons was better than ever. My favorites, the Freddy Salad and the Duck Quesadilla with Portobello mushrooms, still stood tall and my father-in-law said the Herb Roasted Rack of Colorado Lamb was possibly the best he had ever tasted. I found the meat so tender I would have sang had the kids not put the kabash on it.
As locals, wanting to experience the plethora of new restaurants that open up in the valley, we tend to forget to revisit our old time loves. We also forget that Pinons has an affordable bar menu and is a great place to meet up with the other regulars to dine together before a night out on the town.
I am glad that I went back to discover that Pinons brings the quality to the table that we all search for and that must not ever be forgotten.