Day 190: Review of Vail’s Tavern on the Square (a sort of vegan dining option)

I dined at Tavern on the Square on Day 190 of the Nowhere To Be Project. The Tavern is a casual yet upscale dining option in Vail. It is attached to The Arrabelle, a luxury hotel owned by Vail Resorts (Rock Resorts) located in the Lionshead corridor. The prices are a bit inflated in keeping with the local norms. I was alerted to the fact that they offer a full vegan menu by the “Vanilla Bean” app and decided to give it a go for dinner.

We dined outside on the patio with a lovely glass of Malbec and a breathtaking view of the mountain which was alight with stunning fall colors. After we were seated, I asked the server for the vegan menu. He apologetically confessed that it has been scaled down significantly for the off season. He went on to list a few salads, a hummus appetizer, the Impossible Burger, and sorbet as the obvious vegan options. I chose the Impossible Burger with a side salad.

I’ve eaten many Impossible Burgers and they are always enjoyable. This one, although extremely dry, was tasty. The bread to meat ratio was really off though, with way too much bread. My husband had a cheeseburger which came with the same huge bun. The difference being that his burger had about four times the amount of meat that my Impossible Burger did, making the bun a much better fit for his meal. A vegan cheese option and/or a vegan “special sauce” would definitely add some flavor to the Impossible Burger and might help to reduce the dryness.

The service was very attentive and the million dollar view was well worth the trip. I’ll more than likely visit Tavern on the Square again, if for no other reason than to lay eyes on their elusive “vegan menu”.

Day 42: Grease the Wheels

Today, day 42 of the Nowhere To Be Project, was spent orchestrating the shift from winter to spring in our mountain home. It is finally time to drag out the patio furniture and begin planting the flowers that will color the summer. Vail mountain officially closed to skiers yesterday and everyone in town is feeling as if spring is finally official. Sadly, the seasonal workers who tend the mountain and care for the many guests of Vail are mostly on their way out of town. I doubt they really want to leave, but really aren’t given much of a choice.

It Takes a Village

The seasonal workers who operate ski towns are lured with the promise of a free ski pass and an epic mountain life. Needless to say, these workers are extremely under appreciated. They work long hours for meager wages. They serve a very demanding clientele (of course they are demanding, they pay $200 a day just to ski!!!). The luckiest employees may obtain housing in town, but pay astronomically high rents to bunk with three, four or even five of their counterparts. Most are forced to live on ramen noodles and peanut butter because they have very little money left after paying rent. Other than the ski pass, they receive very few (if any) benefits as seasonal employees. When the mountain closes, they’re unemployed until June when summer operations begin. This is the norm for many in the hospitality industry. Not surprisingly, turnover is very high in this field. Burn out is common.

My professional knowledge of industrial organizational psychology tells me that happy employees bring higher profits. Why doesn’t Vail Resorts see this? If employees knew that they’d have a free meal during their shift, they might be more willing to patiently deal with difficult guests. If they were guaranteed affordable housing, they might feel more invested in the community (e.g. rent should be no more than one-third of monthly wages). If they knew they could see a doctor when they are ill, they would not end up missing a week of work with an untreated cough or cold.

These problems are glaring to me as someone who lives in a resort town and travels incessantly. I try to grease the wheels somewhat by overtipping hard-working hospitality personnel when I can. The responsibility should not lie with the guests, but in many cases it does. Remember this the next time you encounter a helpful restaurant, hotel, resort or theme park worker. Some employees may not be able to accept tips, but they would most definitely benefit from a good review or positive feedback to a supervisor. Feeling appreciated is a powerful predictor of performance. Spread the love!

Thank the Staff!

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