Well, your last turn was at 2, your quads are shot, and it’s time to call it a day so you can recover in time for the next pow day. The ever-so-slight problem? You’re not getting home anytime soon. Instead of parking it—literally—on I-70 and cursing the thread of burgundy streaking across your maps app, might we recommend taking a load off?

Below, we’ve picked out our favorite roadside hideaways for grub and bevvies. Replenish lost calories, wet your whistle, and kick back while you wait out the mayhem. Friendly reminder: No one enjoys you when you’re hangry.

Best Restaurants off I-70

If you’ve found yourself coming down from Vail, Copper, Breckenridge, Winter Park, or even just Echo Mountain, you’re not alone—and you probably know it. Here, our favorite highway escapes along the I-70 corridor from Glenwood Springs east to Golden.

Glenwood Springs

Photo courtesy of Glenwood Canyon Brewpub

You’ve got a long drive ahead, but instead of filing into the aisle of Subarus and Jeeps, channel your inner Peyton Manning and call an audible in the form of Glenwood Canyon Brewpub (402 7th Street, Glenwood Springs). Their short rib pot pie or elk jalapeño sausage mac and cheese will quickly help you forget your traffic woes, especially when washed down with a Hanging Lake light lager. Plus, the kid’s menu is the stuff of eight-year-old dreams and served on a take-home Frisbee, so the whole family can enjoy the pit stop.


Photo courtesy of El Segundo

Instead of fighting the crowds to leave after a weekend spent in Vail, settle into a seat at Los Amigos (400 Bridge Street, Vail) in Vail Village near the base of Gondola One. You will pay Vail prices for objectively meh food, but hear us out: Time it right and a window seat provides A+ rubbernecking of gapers optimistically opting for the black-diamond Pepi’s Face instead of the green-circle cat track. Dinner and a show! Also nice: The margarita menu is three columns long.

Looking for a more upscale menu? Check out El Segundo (223 Gore Creek Drive, Vail) along Gore Creek in the Vail Village and toast your day’s turns with margs and guac. The eclectic menu features everything from 24-hour-brined and slow-roasted carnitas to Korean barbecue-style wagyu beef tacos—plus more than 100 tequilas, which your passengers will enjoy. Or, if that’s not quite your speed, check out the more affordable, mouthwatering Westside Cafe (2211 North Frontage Road West, Vail) just off the frontage road in West Vail for red elk chili burgers and pints before hitting the road.


Photo by Kirsten Dobroth

If you choose to try to cut down to U.S. 285 from I-70 through Leadville, do not miss High Mountain Pies (115 West 4th Street, Leadville). Made in the highest incorporated city in America, these pizzas are wacky and so worth it (try the Crocodile: barbecue sauce, mozz, shrimp, jalapeños, bacon, and cream cheese). If you’re a more cautious eater, there’s always the build-your-own calzone, a sub on a baguette, or a plate of wings to tide you over before you brave the road again.

Frisco, Silverthorne, and Dillon

Prosit in Frisco
Photo courtesy of Prosit

Most folks peeling off I-70 before the Eisenhower Tunnel file into gas stations and fast-food joints—don’t follow them. Just off the highway, Outer Range Brewing Company’s strip-mall-adjacent location (182 Lusher Court, Frisco) means parking is easy, and there’s plenty of seating spread throughout its two stories and multiple dog-friendly patios, one of which is outfitted with cozy yurts in the winter. Place an order for self-described Thai-ish fried chicken and a side of poke tots at Bird Craft’s food window before snagging one of the state’s best hazy IPAs. (Stock up on tallboys on your way out; we recently paid $19 for a 16-ounce can at a LoDo bar.)

If you’re coming from Breck, consider stopping off at Prosit (313 East Main Street, Frisco) before hitting I-70. An authentic German beer hall, Prosit’s carb-heavy menu of brews, sausages, and pretzels is sure to satisfy the hangriest passenger for less than $20. Sports fan? Slip into nanobrewery Syndicate Brewing Co. (203 Summit Place, Silverthorne) for funky Scotch ales, sweet Belgian tripels, heady double IPAs, and nitro pours while you catch the game; they have NHL Center Ice and NFL Sunday Ticket.


Photo courtesy of Cabin Creek Brewing

Cabin Creek Brewing (577 Twenty-Second Street, Georgetown) might be the best-kept secret on I-70. Tucked in Georgetown (population: 1,000), this lakeside pub serves up killer views down Clear Creek Canyon and even more decadent delights worthy of flipping your right-hand blinker, from loaded Colorado tots (applewood bacon, green chiles, queso) to elk bratwurst cooked in Argentine amber lager. And the house-brewed beers? They’ll help you forget about the interstate altogether.

Idaho Springs

This little mining town packs a culinary punch with fan favorites like Tommyknocker Brewery (1401 Miner Street, Idaho Springs) and Beau Jo’s (1517 Miner Street, Idaho Springs)—so don’t be surprised if you hit another queue on your quest for relaxation. You might have better luck at lesser-known Westbound and Down Brewing (1617 Miner St, Idaho Springs), which dishes up a fried chicken sandwich that’s to die for, or Smokin’ Yards (2736 Colorado Boulevard, Idaho Springs), one exit later. There, it’s all about the barbecue: brisket and legendary sides like fried pickles and country-style mac and cheese.


Photo courtesy of Over Yonder Brewing

You’re so close, we know—but if you need one more beverage to ease your traffic temper (or you know there’s no food in the fridge at home), Over Yonder Brewing (18455 West Colfax Avenue #103, Golden) can turn things around. Tip back a local brewski while you browse the charcuterie boards and gourmet sandos of neighbor Launch Café, which will deliver to your table at the pub. You can also step next door to Vice Kitchen (18445 West Colfax Avenue #104, Golden) if you want something a little more upscale: wine, whiskey, and entrees like elk tenderloin, bison ribeye, and a “fig and pig” flatbread.

Best Restaurants off U.S. Highway 285

Whether you’re homebound from Crested Butte or you booked it south to U.S. 285 right as weather put the kibosh on I-70, you’re in for slow goings here, too. Luckily, some of our favorite watering holes litter this route. Here, our favorite highway escapes along the U.S. Highway 285 corridor from Buena Vista east to Conifer.

Buena Vista

The Lariat in Buena Vista
Photo courtesy of the Lariat

Whether you’re sneaking over from Crested Butte or Monarch Mountain, Buena Vista has the treats you need to fuel up for the ride home. Hit up Eddyline Brewery (102 Linderman Avenue, Buena Vista) for beer and wood-fired pizza (we like the Numbers, which is sprinkled with bacon, sausage, and pepperoni). Or carbo-load at the historic Lariat (206 East Main Street, Buena Vista), where green chile mac and cheese and a short-rib blend burger highlight a menu that will make you want to move to the mountains. Another option: Toast a perfect adventure with a cocktail and dessert at the Deerhammer Distillery (321 East Main Street, Buena Vista), where views of the Collegiate Peaks swallow you whole.


If the wind picks up, U.S. 285 can shut its doors at the Fairplay exit. Consider yourself lucky: Millonzi’s (501 Front Street, Fairplay) high-elevation Italian fare rivals Mile High City offerings (try the bolognese pappardelle). For a Southwest extravaganza, head to Salado (456 Front Street Suite B, Fairplay) for cactus fries with a side of sweet onion prickly pear sauce, a Navajo taco with traditional fry bread, stuffed poblano peppers, or the blue corn-crusted trout.


The Shaggy Sheep
The Shaggy Sheep. Photo by Lisa Blake

Add virtually no mileage to your itinerary when you stop at the Shaggy Sheep (50455 U.S. Highway 285, Grant), a roadside haunt serving lunch and dinner, plus “small bites” like burgers and wings, during the winter season. Best bet for weary travelers? An overflowing bowl of house green chile and one (OK, two) $4 Fat Tires.


While you may be tempted to simply stop for gas and keep on going, Bailey offers up a scrumptious diversion if you’re over the two-lane traffic: the Cutthroat Cafe (50455 U.S. Highway 285, Bailey). Chow down on the best down-home cooking along the 285 corridor with delicious entrees like chili dogs, country-fried steak, and loaded baked potatoes. If you’re headed back early, catch the breakfast menu until 2 p.m. on weekends—the French toast and chili relleno will have you thinking less about the road and more about the next time you can return to the Cutthroat.


Beers from the bottle shop at Snowpack Taproom and Pizzeria in Conifer
Photo courtesy of Snowpack Taproom and Pizzeria

You might be close to home, but don’t pass up a shrimp po’boy, Nashville hot chicken, or Philly cheesesteak pita wrap. Rocky Mountain Wraps (25997 Conifer Road Units A & B, Conifer) serves up the cure to road rage with a fast-casual menu that allows for ordering ahead. Snowpack Taproom and Pizzeria (11863 Springs Road #210, Conifer) dishes up everything from Detroit-style pan pies to a chimichurri flank steak sandwich on a rosemary roll; their bottle shop also hosts an impressive collection of boutique Colorado beers if you want to buy a celebratory drink for enjoying when you finally make it home.