I’m amazed that a restaurant as long-established as Fontenots, and with such a great reputation, has had so few reviews from the potentially thousands of diners who have eaten there over the past 20 years. It’s actually #2 of the 31 Winter Park Colorado restaurants featured on Trip Advisor, but 28 reviews in over 2½ years aren’t that many. I eat there all the time – lunch, early bird dinners, dinner at the bar or just dinner – inside and out. To help those of you vacationing in Winter Park make at least one dining choice, let me give you some insight.
One true test of a Winter Park restaurant’s popularity is how long it has been in business. Pretty much all Resort restaurants – regardless of standard of food or service – can do well in winter and peak summer time periods, but in order to survive, it has to rely on the local population to sustain it during the slow times. Fontenot’s truly is a local’s favorite, and has been since 1990.
I remember my first year in the valley – winter 1991 – joining a line of hopeful diners stretching from outside the entrance along the sidewalk, in blizzard conditions, waiting to be seated inside. The place was packed, but the food was so good people would rather endure this short-lived hardship than go elsewhere. Fontenot’s has gone through an expansion and two moves within the town of Winter Park in search of a better location but ultimately an improved dining experience for their patrons.
Now situated in Kings Crossing Place on the Main Street of Winter Park, Fontenots is the complete opposite of pretentious and ostentatious, and epitomizes the Winter Park Ski Resort state of mind providing a laid-back, small town friendly atmosphere. Check here for a map of Winter Park Colorado. Owned, managed and run by local families since inception, you can be assured of friendly staff and great tasting food.
Dubbed a “fresh seafood and grill”, Fontenot’s has stayed true to its roots by maintaining the Cajun mentality – in both décor and menu items. Lunch has always been probably the #1 choice for locals over the years, with fabulous soups, the traditional Gumbo, and an array of Po’boys (Louisiana style sandwiches on homemade French bread) including catfish, oyster, Alaskan cod, Philly, scallop or shrimp to name but a few.
For dinner, my favorite appetizers are Ashian nachos, andouille sausage links, fresh crab & crawfish cake and the coconut shrimp – but that’s just me. Highly recommended entrees are the Rajun Cajun Combo (fried catfish, crawfish etouffe and fried shrimp) seafood bouillabaisse or the crawfish etouffee.. Listen closely to the specials and the catch of the day, as these may well sway you from the menu!
Prices are very reasonable, considering this is predominantly a seafood restaurant. Lunch ranges from $7.00 to $12.50, apps $8.00 – $15.00, and the norm for entrees is in the $18.00 – $25.00 range.
Fontenot’s focus is on a friendly, relaxed and casual dining ambience, with great tasting hearty meals and should be on your list for at least one Winter Park Colorado restaurant choice during your vacation. For a complete look at their menus, go to http://www.fontenotswp.com.