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Quandary Peak from the upstairs bar and deck at the Myla Rose Saloon.

The first time Tom Lyons walked into what was then known as the Skiers Edge lodge in Blue River, he was spooked. It was two and a half years ago, and Lyons, who owns a vacation club based in Kansas City, had heard about the lodge as a potential addition to his stable of properties around the United States.

Never mind that Skiers Edge had been vacant for a year, or that much of its appearance—including the dormant restaurant on the main floor—was stuck in the sixties and seventies. Lyons’s interest was piqued; he booked a flight to Denver the following day and, upon landing, drove directly to Summit County.

When he arrived at 11 p.m., the air was frigid, and no one else was around. He collected a key from under the mat and let himself in cautiously. “It was like The Shining,” Lyons recalls with a chuckle. “There were moose heads staring at you, the boilers were hissing, none of the lights worked. I was scared to death; I didn’t sleep at all. But the next morning, the sun was out and I really saw what I could do with this.”

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Grilled trout on a bed of Punjabi couscous and brussels sprouts with lemon-ginger butter.

In the two years since Lyons bought the property, he has rechristened it Lodge by the Blue and has completed a vast renovation, gutting and expanding many of the rooms, refinishing the exterior, coaxing a saltwater swimming pool back to life, and overhauling the lobby. The crux of the work culminated last December with the opening of the Myla Rose Saloon, a restaurant and bar (named after Lyons’s granddaughter) that now serves as the only commercial space between Breckenridge and Alma—and has given the bedroom community of Blue River its own neighborhood hangout, as well as a novelty option for Breck residents who want to explore something different.

For much of the winter, the Myla Rose only opened four days a week—Thursday through Sunday—with happy hour running from 3 to 6 p.m. and the dining room staying open until 9. This spring, however, the restaurant expanded to seven days a week; and people have taken notice. The lodge is usually booked with vacation club members, but on a warm afternoon in mid-May, the sprawling deck buzzed with as many locals as tourists, a common sight of late.

The must-try menu item? A plate of bison poutine—braised bison short rib with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese curds (just $5 at happy hour)—as well as beers from Breck’s Broken Compass and Boulder’s Avery. Order it, and you'll be cleaning the plate two minutes after it arrives. Other favorites include a mix of American and international comfort food, like the Nashville-style spicy chicken sandwich, with nightly specials ranging from vegetable farfalle and lamb meatballs in pesto cream sauce to grilled yellowfin tuna wraps. You can leave very well fed for less than $15. (Tip: Follow the Myla Rose on Facebook to get daily menu updates and the occasional free dessert offer.)

The saloon’s growing popularity highlights a restorative chapter for a 1962 fishing lodge that has at times struggled to find an identity since it was built at the foot of 14,265-foot Quandary Peak, between McCullough Gulch and the towering west face of Red Mountain. The Myla Rose’s cozy bar and sun-dappled patio sit above the dining room, but each seating area features the same jaw-dropping view of Quandary and the sawtooth ridge between Fletcher and Atlantic peaks—two centennial thirteeners at the head of the valley. As Lyons puts it, “Everything we’ve done was meant to bring this place back to its original glory.” Regulars will drink to that, and raise their pint glasses with a toast: Hallelujah.

Myla Rose Saloon

4192 Highway 9, Blue River

970-453-9491

mylarosesaloon.com

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