Sauce on the Blue, tucked away in an unassuming Silverthorne highway retail strip, is road-trip worthy. In fact, it’s just the place to spend a late-summer afternoon after shenanigans in the mountains.

On a recent record-nudging-hot Front Range Tuesday, my son and I ventured out with a friend and her golden doodle to the backside of the Gore Range, 18 miles north of Silverthorne, to hike Lower Cataract Lake. The narrow, two-mile alpine loop is an incredible wildflower-dotted visual treat—if you haven’t made it up there, put it on your short list before the cold weather sets in.

After schlepping my 30-pound toddler up rocky climbs and over bridged creeks, we hungrily beelined for a kid- and pooch-friendly patio to relax. Locally owned and with affordable lunch selections on the menu, Sauce on the Blue turned out to be the ideal post-trek venue.

Our multi-course Italian feast began with a family-style organic arugula and spinach salad ($13) tossed with balsamic-drizzled strawberries, crumbled goat cheese, and sticky candied walnuts. Next up was a garlicky, pesto-slathered caprese sandwich ($10) built from thick discs of creamy mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, and baby spinach leaves on toasted bread. The Caesar salad that came with the sandwich was deliciously textbook, with thick shavings of Parmesan and a subtle, salty anchovy whisper in the pepper-flecked dressing.

We probably should have stopped there, but as we sipped our Aperol spritzes and watched the boy and dog playing on the grass next to the peaceful Blue River, we couldn’t help but covet the pizzas being whisked to other tables. We ordered a 10-inch Supremo ($12) and were rewarded with a substantial pie topped with applewood-smoked bacon, fennel-spiked sausage, earthy wild mushrooms, and caramelized onions. Overindulgence with an old friend aside, it was summer dining as it should be.

358 Blue River Pkwy., Silverthorne, 970-468-7488

Lisa Blake
Lisa Blake
Lisa Blake is a freelance writer and children's book author living in Breckenridge. When she's not writing about food and mountain adventures, she can be found on the river with her son, pug and husband.