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Aspen’s new dining darling Betula

If you haven’t yet experienced one of Aspen’s new culinary kids on the block, now is the time to check out Betula. Located in the old bb’s space at 525 E. Cooper and brought to you by chef Laurent Cantineaux and architect/restaurateur Juan Carlos Perez Febres, this new space is here to stay. Juan Carlos and his wife Aurelie came to Aspen as part of their honeymoon three years ago, looking to experience the exact opposite of the traditional beach get away. What they found delightfully surprised them, and they quickly knew they wanted to be a part of the community.

Modeled as a spin-off of their wildly successful St. Barth’s restaurant Bonito, it's easy to see why Betula has gotten such a warm welcome into the food scene. Betula (the Latin name of the French Aspen tree) is absolutely stunning, a cozy-chic take on a Victorian-style mountain cabin that instantly makes you feel warm and welcomed while keeping it light and airy at the same time. It’s hard to pick a favorite part of the restaurant and pretty much impossible to get a bad table...the views of Aspen Mountain are incredible from the patio and the perfect backdrop for your selfie with a Yellow Paloma (trust us on this one: do not pass go, do not collect $200, just order the drink). A couch the length of the entire dining room warmly sucks you in; bonus points if you score the corner couch next to the kitchen where you can watch Chef Cantineaux and his teamwork their magic.The living room is adjacent to the dining room and is an intimate space with a fireplace, more cozy couches and where the DJ booth lives.

The French Pan American menu stand-outs include the ceviche “Bonito” with melt in your mouth striped bass and sweet potatoes, and the Suckling Pig Pork Confit will take you on a ride with flavors of ginger, shiitake mushrooms, and sweet & sour jus blending perfectly. Make sure you save room for dessert as the rising star pastry chef Sylvain Bortolini most certainly has some tricks up his sleeve...the Lemon Citrus Tart and Royal Chocolate Cake are not to be missed.

“I wanted to create an instant connection for our guests. Betula has the same soul as Bonito, but it’s the mountain home version and Bonito is the beach house. We want to offer an experience: not just food, but food, service, vibes, music, ambiance...so that you feel comfortable and it’s laid back.” Juan Carlos says of the decision to open in Aspen. We’d say they nailed it and we look forward to many meals to be shared and memories made at Betula.

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Michaela Olson