It seems as if the whole world has been on a fried chicken sandwich kick this summer—myself included. So while the aroma of slow-roasted pork tempted me at Edwards’ new upscale sandwich shop, Craftsman, I couldn’t resist the fried chicken banh mi. That delicious creation—crispy bird, chicken liver pâté, jalapeño, and pickles served on a brioche bun—was the perfect introduction to Craftsman.

Married couple Janelle and Chris Schmidt opened Craftsman on July 28, and the line to order at the concrete counter hasn’t subsided since. Chris, who worked at the now-closed Squeaky Bean in Denver as well as Sweet Basil and Mountain Standard in Vail, wanted Craftsman to be a casual place with an attention to detail in line with his fine dining background.

The airy space features white subway tile and an open kitchen. One wall is emblazoned with a quote from chef Thomas Keller: “Hard work and dedication to craft will right all wrongs.” It serves as both a reminder for the staff—and a clue to customers—that these are no ordinary sandwiches.

“Although we have a heavy focus on sandwiches, I’m not letting that dumb down the cuisine,” Chris explained. “We apply the same techniques that we did at (Mountain) Standard or Sweet Basil to make these amazing sandwiches.”

In addition to that fried chicken bahn mi, there’s also a wild mushroom “pastrami,” with Gruyère cheese, house-made sauerkraut, and arugula on rye. It’s tasty enough to turn even the most vehement carnivore into a fungus-loving fool. You’ll also find a selection of non-sandwich items that range from anything-but-boring salads to fried oysters to Chris’ famous pimento cheese, which developed a cult following at Mountain Standard.

Craftsman is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and is well worth the drive from anywhere in the Vail Valley. Grab a seat at one of the community tables or belly up to the bar—the tap list is as fun as the menu. Chris personally acquires kegs from Front Range breweries such as Odd 13 Brewing Inc. and Cerebral Brewing, the likes of which aren’t typically seen in the high country. 

56 Edwards Village Blvd #112, Edwards, 970-926-5833