Flagstaff House and Element 47 on magazine’s top-tier awards list
Of only 69 restaurants on the planet that received this year’s Wine Spectator magazine’s Grand Award, two are in Colorado. And one of them, Boulder’s Flagstaff House, has held the top ranking for an astonishing 30 consecutive years. Is that a record? The other is Element 47 in Aspen’s Little Nell Hotel, which had won before under its former name, Montagna at the Little Nell.
The two could not be more different. The Flagstaff House is family-owned and family-run, the family being the Monettes — Don, his sons Scott and Mark, and other family members who have worked or still work there. It sits up on Flagstaff Mountain with commanding views of Boulder and the plains to the east. It is formal and traditional, and literally and figuratively rising high above the rest of the local restaurant pack. Element 47 was named for silver’s position on the periodic table of elements for, after all, Aspen was a silver-mining town. As Montagna, the restaurant looked formal and traditional. Its makeover turned it into a sleek, modern space in the forward-looking “Design” manner. The hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain just steps from and its fine-dining restaurant are owned by the Aspen Skiing Co.
Wine Spectator’s highest honor is reserved for restaurants with stratospheric wine selections, typically at least 1,500, making them worthy destinations, both their extraordinary wine lists and wine service. Of course, their food is the peer of the wine programs. The tier below the Grand Award is Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, given this year to 850 restaurants worldwide, 28 of them in Colorado.