In the hypercompetitive Aspen restaurant scene, Mezzaluna has cracked the code for longevity. Operating since 1987, Mezzaluna has been humming along, serving thin crust pizzas and tomato soup for an eternity, by Aspen standards. What's their secret? A friendly wait staff, a reliable northern Italian menu and a relaxed vibe.
Mezzaluna is conveniently located on Cooper Street between Spring and Hunter, right next to fashion emporium Henry Beguelin and directly across the street from Aspen Square. The location is hard to miss - it's got one of the most spacious, street level outdoor eating patios in town, the perfect spot for dinner on a summer night or even a sunny lunch after a morning on the slopes. The interior of the restaurant is dominated by a sizable bar and some colorful 80's style art. It's not a super-chic environment, but that is not the point of Mezzaluna. You go there for the casual, family-friendly atmosphere and good food, not for cutting edge cuisine.
Among the younger crowd, Mezzaluna is a magnet for Aspen professionals who like to stop by for the low key, well priced happy hour, which takes place from 3 to 5:30, just about everyday. A couple small plates, a decent calamari and popcorn shrimp, and a pizza is an excellent meal for two, especially when accompanied by a glass of prosecco.
Cooked on site in a wood burning oven, the pizzas are the star attraction here. The pizzas range from simple to sophisticated, with a crisp, thin crust, never drowning in sauce. Try the procuitto pizza - a thin crust topped with mushrooms, truffle oil, arugula and mozzarella. The basil pesto pizza, with just enough pesto, pine nuts, goat cheese, and diced tomato, is another highlight from the pizza menu. It's the pizzas that keep families coming to Mezzaluna. Grown ups can feast on the more esoteric options while the little ones order up a margerita (or pepperoni) pizza that is more than enough for two.
Regulars at Mezzaluna rave about the tomato soup, which has a light cream base and a touch of basil. It lives up to its hallowed reputation The pastas are serviceable, the most notable being the Penne with Rock Shrimp. The entrée menu is diverse. There's something for everyone-a good grilled salmon fillet, a fine chicken piccatta and a steak frites that's straightforward and delicious.
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