Willits Town Center is a residential/commercial development located between Basalt and Carbondale and just west of El Jebel. In the past few years it has seen a huge growth in locally owned restaurants, breweries and distilleries, shops and a boutique hotel. It is becoming a place where you can stay down valley, walk to restaurants and then be able to easily get to both downtown Basalt and Carbondale where there are many more options to try. You can have a great experience without having to stay in Aspen or in Snowmass Village. My recommendations include:
Woody Creek Distillers: At 60 Sunset Drive in Basalt, right off of Willits Lane. Make sure to visit their stunning, contemporary tasting room. They are known for their vodka from locally grown potatoes. Once one of the largest potato growing regions in the US at the turn on the 20th century, it has recently re-emerged with the the growing of the crop by Woody Creek. As a non-vodka drinker, I really liked the taste. However, the highlight for me was their very smooth and excellent Young Colorado Whiskey made with four grains and their 100% Rye Whiskey.
At 941 E. Valley Rd., Mezzaluna from Aspen has opened a new Willits location. Open for lunch on weekends and dinner daily, they feature a large number of Italian pastas, starters and entrees.
Nearby, at 351 Market St., is the Wiener Stube, located between between Capitol Creek Brewery and Mezzaluna. The restaurant operated in Aspen for 45 years but closed in January 2011. The building where it rented space was demolished to make way for the Aspen Art Museum.
Capitol Creek Brewery: Recently opened is the Capital Creek Brewery at 371 Market St. This is a fun, contemporary brew pub that features their own beers including ales and IPAs, other locally sourced beers, wine, cocktails and seasonally sourced dishes for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.
After reading a great review for its food on my most recent trip to the Valley, I met a friend for lunch on the outside terrace I really enjoyed their Reuben sandwich and gazpacho. I also liked their Endo Brother Hazy Pale Ale with its berry and citrus notes.
Opened in the summer of 2021, is the new The Arts Campus at Willits/TACAW at 400 Robinson St. This performing arts facility that features theater, film, lectures, music, dance, comedy and more. There is also after-school programming for local children. They recently opened Tabl, a new cafe, featuring Colorado ingredients for a continually changing seasonal menu. It is open for much from Wednesday through Friday.
Nearby is the Movieland 7 which features current film releases.
Element Hotel: Located at 499 Market Street, this is a new hotel that is designed as an extended stay experience by Starwood Hotels. There is an attractive lobby, an outdoor pool and patio with outdoor grills, an indoor pool and fitness center, laundry facilities, evening socials, complementary breakfasts ad a branch of Four Mountain Sports. Many of the rooms have fully equipped kitchens. You can stay here, walk a block to buy your food at the nearby Whole Foods or visit the several restaurants in the complex. Off the lobby is Sundae Ice Cream. Their small-batch artisan ice cream, is made onsite. They also have a location in the Snowmass Base Village.