People

Who

Love

To

Eat

Are

Always

The

Best

People

THE HISTORY OF

~Julia Child

Sweet Basil Logo 1970s
1977-1982
Vail Overlook 1977
Aerial view of Vail Village, Circa 1970's (Before the Vista Bahn)
June 1977
Jimmy Carter is President.
Star Wars premieres in theatres.
Kevin Clair opens a 47 seat restaurant in a location that was considered off-the-beaten-path because it wasn’t located on Bridge Street. The original wooden sign still hangs on the door of the Sweet Basil office!
Sweet Basil Sign 1970s
1980
A strong ‘sense of team’ has always been a cornerstone of working at Sweet Basil. In the summer of 1980, Clair organizes the first Basil Softball Team to play in the Vail recreation league. A tradition that continued for 28 years.
Sweet Basil Team 1970s
Crew from the 70's
The Menu
Sweet Basil’s early menus had  something for everyone! Lunch options included Monte Cristo Sandwiches, Chilled Pasta Salads and three different kinds of omlettes. Dinner choices, like Boeuf Bourguignon included rice, a house salad, bread and butter. All for only $5.95.
Sweet Basil Menu 1970s
Sweet Basil Logo 1980s
1982-1989
Sweet Basil Dining Room 80s
Sweet Basil Bar in the 80's
1984
Sweet Basil’s first remodel.  The kitchen moves upstairs to an empty office space adding 39 seats to the bustling dining room.
Tom Wolford
Former Chef: David Walford (Above)
1984
David Walford becomes Executive Chef and is the first in a line of 39 former Sweet Basil employees to move on to own their own restaurants! (see the 6° of Sweet Basil for this remarkable list)
Sweet Basil Patio 80s
Front Terrace of Sweet Basil (80's)
1986
Another expansion encloses half of the outside patio facing Gore Creek Drive to gain more space inside, placing the final number of seats at 110.
Sweet Basil Dining Room 80s
Front Section of Dining Room
Back Section of Dining Room
The Menu
The mid 80’s saw an evolution in Sweet Basil’s menu adding a more sophisticated flare.  Lunches offered croissant sandwiches and salads with dinners moving in the direction of Medallions of Veal with a wild mushroom sauce or Duck with a zinfandel sauce.
Sweet Basil Menu from 1986
1987
Matt Morgan (today’s owner) is hired as a busboy at Sweet Basil.  He is 23 years old.
Matt Morgan, Owner of Sweet Basil
Young Matt Morgan (Above)
Sweet Basil Logo 90s
The Third Logo of Sweet Basil
1988-2013
Fletcher MacNiel, Designer of Current Sweet Basil Logo
Sweet Basil Logo Artist: Fletcher Macniel (Above)
1988
Long time beloved bar patron, Fletcher Macniel, designs a logo on the back of a bar napkin one afternoon that soon becomes the Sweet Basil logo of today. He draws inspiration for the logo from the ski race world.
Vail World Ski Championships
1989
Vail welcomes the world by hosting the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships. Photo of our team watching the fireworks outside the restaurant during opening ceremonies.  Rush Erhart, David Wolford, Mike Greenstien, Michael Glennon.
Old Team Photo Sweet Basil
Restaurant Crew in the 80's (above)
1993
Sweet Basil becomes the first restaurant in Vail to be completely smoke free.
Thomas Salamunovich, Former Chef at Sweet Basil, Current Owner of Larkspur Restaurant and Larkburger
Former Chef: Thomas Salamunovich (above)
1994
Thomas Salamunovich is recruited from San Francisco to become Executive Chef after David Wolford leaves to open Splendido in Beaver Creek.
Former Manager: Sam Ferraro (above)
1995
Long-time beloved staff member, Sam Ferraro, is hired as a server at Sweet Basil and later becomes manager in 2003.
1998
After moving through the ranks of positions at Sweet Basil, then manager Matt Morgan is asked to become the first ever Managing partner with Kevin Clair.
Old Photo of Kevin Clair (Left) and Matt Morgan (Right)
Left: Kevin Clair, Right: Matt Morgan
The Menu
The menu at Sweet Basil during this period really found it’s stride with a more elegant upscale style. In 1989, Chef Wolford put the first Saffron Angle Hair dish on the menu that turned into a cult classic.  Each Chef that followed put their own twist on the dish adding scallops, shrimp and finally lobster. A version of this classic has been on the Sweet Basil menu ever since.
Seafood Saffron Linguini
Seafood Saffron Linguini (above)
1999
Bruce Yim is promoted to Executive Chef after Salamunovich leaves Sweet Basil to start Larkspur Restaurant and later the Larkburger restaurant chain.
Bruce Yim
Bruce Yim (above)
2000
After a clothing store to the west of Sweet Basil goes out of business, Morgan and Clair assume the lease and expand the back side of the restaurant.  The seating is now 160 and includes a private dining room. The kitchen also gets a major overhaul adding pantry and prep space.
Sweet Basil Private Dining Room Photo
Private Dining Room (90's)
Private Dining Room (Now)
Sweet Basil 25th Anniversary Newspaper
2002

Sweet Basil celebrates it’s 25th anniversary with a limited edition Brut Rose from Iron Horse.

2006
Paul Anders is hired to be Executive Chef bringing his talents from the Brown Palace and replacing Yim, who leaves to start his own restaurant in Tuscon, AZ.
Executive Chef Paul Anders
2007
Sweet Basil focuses more on the dining experience and ambiance rather than maximizing seating, taking out three large booths to create a showpiece in the dining room: the glass wine room. Seating goes from 160 to 130.
Sweet Basil Wine Room
2007
Giada De Laurentiis from The Food Network tapes an episode in Vail and at Sweet Basil.
Paul Anders & Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network
Left: Paul Anders, Right: Giada De Laurentiis
2008-Present
With the financial crisis of 2008 leaving the Vail community reeling, Sweet Basil launches programs to give back to the locals. Love our Locals: an educational series open to the public teaching cooking techniques, wine pairings and craft cocktail making.  Manners Matter: K - 4th grade classes from local schools learn the finer points of dining etiquette at home as well as in a restaurant.  Friday Enrichment: local middle schoolers get hands on cooking classes in the Sweet Basil kitchen.
Love Our LocalsMatt Morgan talking to children in Love Our LocalsLove Our Locals Kids
2012
Morgan and Clair open Mountain Standard in the lower level of Sweet Basil.  The tavern-style restaurant is designed to be a more casual experience focusing on shared and wood-fired items. Anders is promoted to Executive Chef over both restaurants.
2012
During the construction of Mountain Standard, a back patio is is added overlooking Gore Creek for dining al fresco in the summer months.
Mountain Standard Under Construction, Matt Morgan & Paul Anders
Mountain Standard under construction. Left: Paul Anders, Right: Matt Morgan
2013
The first ever Sweet Basil cookbook is launched and sold at local bookstores, online and in the restaurant. It sells out in 11 months.
Sweet Basil Cookbook
The Menu
Under Chef’s Yim and Anders, the menu during this time added some Asian influences as well as more locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The instant success of Mountain Standard inspires Ander’s to include more sharable items on Sweet Basil’s menu. The ‘fine dine’ white tablecloths are removed from the dining room as well, giving the restaurant a more contemporary feel.
Sweet Basil CuisineSweet Basil Cuisine
2014-Present
(Left) Matt Morgan, (Middle) Paul Anders, (Right) Kevin Clair
Left: Matt Morgan, Middle: Paul Anders, Right: Kevin Clair
2014
Under Chef’s Yim and Anders, the menu during this time added some Asian influences as well as more locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The instant success of Mountain Standard inspires Ander’s to include more sharable items on Sweet Basil’s menu. The ‘fine dine’ white tablecloths are removed from the dining room as well, giving the restaurant a more contemporary feel.
40th Birthday for Sweet Basil
2017
Sweet Basil celebrates its 40th birthday in high fashion with a 300 person party of ex-chefs, employees, and long-time guests.
40th Birthday for Sweet Basil
2017
Matt Morgan buys out Kevin Clair completely, leaving Clair to fully retire and travel the world and prompting Morgan to change his business cards to include a 'nod' to his beginnings at the restaurant.
Matt Morgan's Business Card
2019
Taylor Frankel is promoted to Executive Chef becoming the youngest and first female Executive Chef in Sweet Basil's history.
Former Manager: Sam Ferraro
2019
After 24 years, adored manager, Sam Ferraro, retires from Sweet Basil and moves away from the mountains to Denver. Missed by guests and staff alike.
Chef Taylor Frankel
Chef De Cuisine, Sweet Basil: Taylor Frankel (Above)
2020
Sweet Basil’s Sous Chef Maria Busato is awarded Chef of the Year by Colorado Restaurant Associations. Later that year she is promoted to Chef de Cuisine at Mountain Standard.
Chef Maria Busato, Colorado Chef of the Year 2020
Chef De Cuisine, Mountain Standard: Maria Busato (Above)
2021
Sweet Basil undergoes it’s 12th remodel adding updated tables and chairs and changing the entry and flooring by the bar.
Sweet Basil Logo 1970s

1977-1982

Vail Overlook 1977
Aerial view of Vail Village, Circa 1970's (Before the Vista Bahn)

1980

A strong ‘sense of team’ has always been a cornerstone of working at Sweet Basil. In the summer of 1980, Clair organizes the first Basil Softball Team to play in the Vail recreation league. A tradition that continued for 28 years.
Sweet Basil Menu 1970s

June 1977

Jimmy Carter is President.
Star Wars premieres in theatres.
Kevin Clair opens a 47 seat restaurant in a location that was considered off-the-beaten-path because it wasn’t located on Bridge Street. The original wooden sign still hangs on the door of the Sweet Basil office!
Sweet Basil Sign 1970sSweet Basil Team 1970s
Crew from the 70's

The Menu

Sweet Basil’s early menus had  something for everyone! Lunch options included Monte Cristo Sandwiches, Chilled Pasta Salads and three different kinds of omlettes. Dinner choices, like Boeuf Bourguignon included rice, a house salad, bread and butter. All for only $5.95.
Sweet Basil Logo 1980s

1982-1989

Sweet Basil Dining Room 80s
Sweet Basil Bar in the 80's

1985

David Walford becomes Executive Chef and is the first in a line of 39 former Sweet Basil employees to move on to own their own restaurants! (see the 6° of Sweet Basil for this remarkable list)
Back Section of Dining Room

1986

Another expansion encloses half of the outside patio facing Gore Creek Drive to gain more space inside, placing the final number of seats at 110.
Sweet Basil Patio 80s
Front Terrace of Sweet Basil (80's)

1987

Matt Morgan (today’s owner) is hired as a busboy at Sweet Basil.  He is 23 years old.
Matt Morgan, Owner of Sweet Basil
Young Matt Morgan (Above)

1984

Sweet Basil’s first remodel.  The kitchen moves upstairs to an empty office space adding 39 seats to the bustling dining room.
Tom Wolford
Former Chef: David Walford (Above)
Sweet Basil Dining Room 80s
Front Section of Dining Room

The Menu

The mid 80’s saw an evolution in Sweet Basil’s menu adding a more sophisticated flare.  Lunches offered croissant sandwiches and salads with dinners moving in the direction of Medallions of Veal with a wild mushroom sauce or Duck with a zinfandel sauce.
Sweet Basil Menu from 1986
Sweet Basil Logo 90s

1988-2013

1988

Long time beloved bar patron, Fletcher Macniel, designs a logo on the back of a bar napkin one afternoon that soon becomes the Sweet Basil logo of today. He draws inspiration for the logo from the ski race world.

1989

Vail welcomes the world by hosting the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships. Photo of our team watching the fireworks outside the restaurant during opening ceremonies.  Rush Erhart, David Wolford, Mike Greenstein, Michael Glennon.

Vail World Ski Championships

1994

Thomas Salamunovich is recruited from San Francisco to become Executive Chef after David Wolford leaves to open Splendido in Beaver Creek.
Former Manager: Sam Ferraro (above)

1999

Bruce Yim is promoted to Executive Chef after Salamunovich leaves Sweet Basil to start Larkspur Restaurant and later the Larkburger restaurant chain.
Bruce Yim
Bruce Yim (above)

2000

After a clothing store to the west of Sweet Basil goes out of business, Morgan and Clair assume the lease and expand the back side of the restaurant.  The seating is now 160 and includes a private dining room. The kitchen also gets a major overhaul adding pantry and prep space.
Private Dining Room (Now)
Fletcher MacNiel, Designer of Current Sweet Basil Logo
Sweet Basil Logo Artist: Fletcher Macniel (Above)

1993

Sweet Basil becomes the first restaurant in Vail to be completely smoke free.
Old Team Photo Sweet Basil
Restaurant Crew in the 80's (above)
Thomas Salamunovich, Former Chef at Sweet Basil, Current Owner of Larkspur Restaurant and Larkburger
Former Chef: Thomas Salamunovich (above)

1995

Long-time beloved staff member, Sam Ferraro, is hired as a server at Sweet Basil and later becomes manager in 2003.
Old Photo of Kevin Clair (Left) and Matt Morgan (Right)
Left: Kevin Clair, Right: Matt Morgan

1998

After moving through the ranks of positions at Sweet Basil, then manager Matt Morgan is asked to become the first ever Managing partner with Kevin Clair.
Seafood Saffron Linguini
Seafood Saffron Linguini (above)

The Menu

The menu at Sweet Basil during this period really found it’s stride with a more elegant upscale style. In 1989, Chef Wolford put the first Saffron Angle Hair dish on the menu that turned into a cult classic.  Each Chef that followed put their own twist on the dish adding scallops, shrimp and finally lobster. A version of this classic has been on the Sweet Basil menu ever since.
Sweet Basil Private Dining Room Photo
Private Dining Room (90's)

2002

Sweet Basil celebrates it’s 25th anniversary with a limited edition Brut Rose from Iron Horse.

Sweet Basil 25th Anniversary NewspaperExecutive Chef Paul Anders

2008

Giada De Laurentiis from The Food Network tapes an episode in Vail and at Sweet Basil.
Love Our LocalsMatt Morgan talking to children in Love Our Locals

2012

Morgan and Clair open Mountain Standard in the lower level of Sweet Basil.  The tavern-style restaurant is designed to be a more casual experience focusing on shared and wood-fired items. Anders is promoted to Executive Chef over both restaurants.

2013

The first ever Sweet Basil cookbook is launched and sold at local bookstores, online and in the restaurant. It sells out in 11 months.
Sweet Basil CookbookSweet Basil Cuisine
Sweet Basil Cuisine

2006

Paul Anders is hired to be Executive Chef bringing his talents from the Brown Palace and replacing Yim, who leaves to start his own restaurant in Tuscon, AZ.
Sweet Basil Wine Room

2007

Sweet Basil focuses more on the dining experience and ambiance rather than maximizing seating, taking out three large booths to create a showpiece in the dining room: the glass wine room. Seating goes from 160 to 130.
Paul Anders & Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network
Left: Paul Anders, Right: Giada De Laurentiis

2008-Present

With the financial crisis of 2008 leaving the Vail community reeling, Sweet Basil launches programs to give back to the locals. Love our Locals: an educational series open to the public teaching cooking techniques, wine pairings and craft cocktail making.  Manners Matter: K - 4th grade classes from local schools learn the finer points of dining etiquette at home as well as in a restaurant.  Friday Enrichment: local middle schoolers get hands on cooking classes in the Sweet Basil kitchen.
Love Our Locals Kids

2012

During the construction of Mountain Standard, a back patio is is added overlooking Gore Creek for dining al fresco in the summer months.
Mountain Standard Under Construction, Matt Morgan & Paul Anders
Mountain Standard under construction. Left: Paul Anders, Right: Matt Morgan

The Menu

Under Chef’s Yim and Anders, the menu during this time added some Asian influences as well as more locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The instant success of Mountain Standard inspires Ander’s to include more sharable items on Sweet Basil’s menu. The ‘fine dine’ white tablecloths are removed from the dining room as well, giving the restaurant a more contemporary feel.
Sweet Basil Cuisine
Sweet Basil Logo 2014 - Present

2014-present

2014

Paul Anders is brought in as Chef/Partner over both Sweet Basil and Mountain Standard.

40th Birthday for Sweet Basil40th Birthday for Sweet Basil

2019

After 24 years, adored manager, Sam Ferraro, retires from Sweet Basil and moves away from the mountains to Denver. Missed by guests and staff alike.
Former Manager: Sam Ferraro

2020

Sweet Basil’s Sous Chef Maria Busato is awarded Chef of the Year by Colorado Restaurant Associations. Later that year she is promoted to Chef de Cuisine at Mountain Standard.
Chef Maria Busato, Colorado Chef of the Year 2020
Chef De Cuisine, Mountain Standard: Maria Busato (Above)
(Left) Matt Morgan, (Middle) Paul Anders, (Right) Kevin Clair
Left: Matt Morgan, Middle: Paul Anders, Right: Kevin Clair

2017

Sweet Basil celebrates its 40th birthday in high fashion with a 300 person party of ex-chefs, employees, and long-time guests.

2017

Matt Morgan buys out Kevin Clair completely, leaving Clair to fully retire and travel the world and prompting Morgan to change his business cards to include a 'nod' to his beginnings at the restaurant.
Matt Morgan's Business Card

2019

Taylor Frankel is promoted to Executive Chef becoming the youngest and first female Executive Chef in Sweet Basil's history.
Chef Taylor Frankel
Chef De Cuisine, Sweet Basil: Taylor Frankel (Above)

2021

Sweet Basil undergoes it’s 12th remodel adding updated tables and chairs and changing the entry and flooring by the bar.
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