Step into The Wild Fig restaurant on any given night, during high season (or off season for that matter), and you will find this elegant, intimate and sophisticated bistro overflowing with patrons agonizing over just what to order because the selection is so amazing it is hard to choose only a few! Think back to a favorite dining experience you may have had on your travels to Spain, Italy, Greece or a charming Mediterranean seaside cafe where you have lingered over the sumptuous wine, decadent food and unique ambiance of your newest epicurean delight and this may well be the same feeling you get at this little slice of heaven right here in Aspen when you dine at The Wild Fig.
For husband and wife owners Craig and Samantha Cordts-Pearce The Wild Fig was a huge financial gamble not to mention a complete labor of love. They rolled the dice and it paid off big but it wasn’t always easy. Craig (originally from South Africa ) and Samantha (a born and bred New Yorker) met it Aspen while working at various service industry jobs around town 20+ some odd years ago. Frustrated with other establishments they were currently working for both Craig and Samantha had a vision of how they could improve upon the way things were done here in Aspen and decided to open their very first establishment together. With a new baby on the way and a growing family to support this was a huge risk both personally and professionally. Opening a restaurant in a ski town is quite challenging. Quite obviously rent and location are a huge factor, slim labor and the seasonality of a tourist driven town is also a concern, however, both Craig and Samantha firmly believed in their concept and went full steam ahead! Against all odds the combination of talent, hard work and sheer determination led to the opening of The Wild Fig in 2003 and has remained in the same spot since day one.
Over the years both Craig and Samantha (both who have at times themselves been bartenders, waitstaff, and managers at other establishments) have perfected the way things are seamlessly run not only at The Wild Fig but at the 3 other establishments in Aspen that they currently own and operate. So what is behind the success of the restaurant that started it all for this Aspen original dining hot spot, The Wild Fig ? Excellent Food, Excellent Service and Excellent Design. I decided to indulge to see (and taste) for myself what others had been telling me in town was hands down one of their favorite restaurants in all of Aspen.
Upon my first visit to The Wild Fig on the eve of a month long off season break I wandered inside this Aspen original not expecting the entire restaurant to be completely packed for that time of year. If I were to have been blindfolded upon my arrival and not known what zip code I was in my natural assumption would be that I was in some other city, perhaps Paris or Rome. The warm and inviting ambiance and attention to every detail was fresh and exciting! As my dinner companion and I cozied up to a corner booth we were both greeted by our friendly server and pondered over our many choices from the boutique wine list, specialty crafted cocktails and appetizers to start off our meal with. The menu is seriously unbelievable! If I were to dine here every single night for a week I still do not think I would be able to taste half of the mouth watering choices that were tempting my taste buds. I ask the waiter “what are some of the most popular items?” and he quickly points out a few that have already caught my eye from the Nightly Risotto to the Steak Frites. Other famous menu items such as the Fish In A Bag are also tempting me to order along with other scrumptious and popular recipes including the Whole Fish Of The Day that has been on the menu from day one I am told. Once our final entrée selections had been decided upon my dinner date and I enjoy the atmosphere as we sipped our drinks eagerly awaited our chosen appetizer, the Butcher Board, which an insanely delicious sample platter of cured meats, cheeses, marinated figs, mixed olives and grilled ciabatta which is simply to die for served with an impeccable presentation! I have narrowed down my selection and painstakingly decided on the Lobster Ravioli with hand made pasta while my dinner companion settled on the Kale Salad paired with the Roasted Chicken. Once the menus had been taken away I was already in my mind deciding on what I am going to try on my next visit before the main course even arrives at our table! In my book that is a sign of an exceptional dining experience! PS…there may just be another Wild Fig restaurant on the horizon so stay tuned!
Craig and Samantha Cordts-Pearce currently own and operate
The Wild Fig, Steakhouse No.316, The Monarch and CP Burger.