Claire at Claire’s

My name is on the door of this Estes Park eatery

The cheerful yellow building with green trim and a wrap-around porch in downtown Estes Park has my name on the sign. Claire’s on The Park  is a place that, of course, I have been wanting to try after a hike in nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. but in the warm months, there’s always a wait to get the restaurant, so I figured in addition to its wonderful name, the food must be really good too.  Last Sunday was warm, we had houseguests from Maine and made an après-sightseeing oppotunity to try Claire’s for a late breakfast/brunch. Mugs for coffee, bare tables and even a look of serious eating prevailed.

Even though the restaurant was uncrowded early in the afternoon, the service was deliberate. The portions were hugem but the quality didn’t always match the quantity.  At least when I see lines from now on, I’ll know that for my taste, I’m not missing a lot.

The Food

Spinach Benedict with a lot of good Hollandaise. Getting the English muffin well-toasted, as requested took two tries. The Hollandaise elevated the dish.
Huge covered vegetable omelette covered with cheese sauce, sided with a lot of farm-style cubed potatoes and two pieces of toast that the kitchen doesn’t bother cutting in half, is a tummy-filling excursion in eating .
Instead of ham or Canadian bacon, the Rocky Mountain Benedict (I think that’s what it is called) comes with sausage and regular bacon. Cottage cheese rather than fried potatoes on the side here is an effort to mitigate the high-fat damage.

Claire's On The Park on Urbanspoon

6 thoughts on “Claire at Claire’s”

  1. I'm not really clear from your review whether you'd recommend it or not. My wife and I are spending the weekend in Estes Park. Should we make sure to visit Claire's.

  2. Sorry, Todd. I didn't mean to be mysterious. I didn't write a review but rather just a quick description with hastily snapped photos.

    We all had breakfast items and yes, I'd recommend visiting in the morning — especially if you like big traditional breakfast or brunch entrees. Those who us whose choices included potatoes were able to eat only about half, so a lot of spuds were wasted. If your tastes run more toward freshly baked goods or lighter items, there are more suitable places.

    A few other comments:

    – Convenient in-town location one block from Elkhorn Avenue.
    -Inviting outdoor dining, which we didn't select since there was a bit of a breeze. Another time — if we can get a table.
    – Pleasant homey ambiance. Super-comfortable chairs.
    – Accommodating to all ages from toddlers to grannies (or greatgrannies).
    – Perfectly poached eggs. Two of us had one of the several eggs Benedict options. The Hollandaise was nice and smooth — and there was a lot of it. I had asked for my English muffin to be well-toasted. It came out lightly toasted and pale. I commented about it to my companions. The waiter overheard and offered to take it back and have the kitchen remake it. I said that wasn't necessary. He insisted and took it away. The do-over also had a pale, lightly toasted muffin. No big deal, but worth noting — since you asked.
    – We were there this past weekend, and I know it was early in the season, which would explain spotty service. When we arrived, very few tables were occupied. We were seated at a table in the front of the restaurant and other that water,we were then ignored for about 10 minutes. We finally got one server's attention. Of course, we weren't at his table, and eventually our waiter appeared. As I indicated, it's early in the season and the staff is probably all new. I expect they'll be sharper by the time summer crowds arrive.

    As for other meals, I can't really say. My impression is that Claire's serves large quantities of American classics at all meals — more comfort food than anything for adventurous eaters. So if you go, arrive with an appetite.

  3. Good to hear you enjoyed the food. It's one of the few places we've walked out of based on terrible service (and never did get our breakfast).

  4. My husband really loved the food. He's a fan of classic American dishes. I prefer lighter fare (and smaller portions. Your esperience with the service, Anonymous, might indicate that my giving the waitstaff the early-season benefit of the doubt might have been misplaced. Hope others will weigh in on this.

  5. Beth and I didn't make it to Claire's last weekend, so I can't offer an opinion on the service. It turns out we stayed in a B&B, so breakfast was already provided for us.

Comments are closed.