The Mirabelle restaurant celebrates its 40th anniversary

The Mirabelle restaurant is located in a historic farmhouse built by farmers in 1898.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Beaver Creek’s Mirabelle Restaurant celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, 23 of which have been under the direction of Chef Daniel Joly.

The Mirabelle Restaurant is located at the foot of Beaver Creek, just before the gated entrance, but at first glance it’s hard to tell it’s a commercial restaurant. The charming farmhouse is a historical landmark built by farmers in 1898 and was once an active ranch when Avon was home to cabbage and potato growers.

“If I start digging here to plant, I’ll find a whole piece of a (a) farmer’s tool,” Joly said. “This little area here, it has a lot of history.”

It was the history of the property that attracted Chef Joly in the early 1990s. He and his wife had recently immigrated to the United States from Belgium to work at a restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, but been directed to an alternate route after a hurricane flooded the restaurant. Joli followed a lead to the Vail Valley in 1991, where he began working under the Mirabelle’s original owner, a Frenchman and local resident Luke Mayo.

When given the opportunity to purchase both the property and the restaurant in 1999, Joly knew it was the perfect location for the style of cuisine and atmosphere he had always envisioned for his own establishment.

Chef Daniel Joly prepares a dish in the Mirabelle kitchen.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

“The difference with Mirabelle is that she just has a soul,” Joly said. “It’s an old building, people live here, it’s part of what Vail was before it became a famous resort, and I think a lot of people relate to it.”

After the purchase, Joly and her family moved onto the property and still live on the second floor of the ranch house. He said he intended to make every customer feel like a guest in his home, which he is in many ways.

“It makes people rethink fancy restaurants, because I think we’re very humble, very intimate,” Joly said. “When you walk into a restaurant, you don’t want to be like, ‘What silverware should I use?’ We want to put people at ease, it’s very important.

Focus on ingredients

In keeping with the background of its two owners, Mirabelle’s cuisine typically has French and Belgian influences, though Joly said the driving force behind the menu is the quality of the ingredients.

Owning the property allows Joly to take advantage of investments and resources that are not available to most restaurants in the Valley. In 2017, he installed a greenhouse just behind the restaurant where staff can grow and pick fresh herbs and vegetables to use in their dishes. Much of the produce used in the dishes is grown on site, and Joly makes it a priority to use seasonal ingredients.

Chef Daniel Joly trims the fresh herbs in the restaurant’s greenhouse.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

“I’m not a magician, all I am is a chef,” Joly said. “If I get something really good, it’s very easy to make it taste good. I can’t make a can of beans taste like caviar. Our job is to represent the farmer and be specific about buying the best we can, buying organic and all that good stuff, and giving it to the customer.

The chef’s respect for the quality of ingredients is reflected in his dishes, where he says he tries to elevate the experience of a central ingredient on every plate, rather than overloading the palette. Meats, fish and vegetables are enhanced by cleverly crafted sauces and toppings, which swirl together to create an entirely new flavor profile while keeping each element clearly identifiable.

The food and atmosphere have earned Mirabelle countless five-star reviews from satisfied customers, as well as many of the industry’s most prestigious accolades. Most recently, the restaurant received a four-star rating from the Forbes Travel Guide for 2022.

Although reviews and accolades are clear indicators of success, Joly doesn’t take too long to bask in the glory. Instead, he focuses on maintaining the same level of quality for every person who walks through the doors of Mirabelle.

“We’re only as good as our next meal, that’s what I tell my guys,” Joly said. “If today we serve two people and we do well, we have done something good. If tomorrow we serve 100 people and we do well, we have done something well. That’s my philosophy.

Meats, fish and vegetables are enhanced by cleverly crafted sauces and toppings, which swirl together to create an entirely new flavor profile while keeping each element clearly identifiable.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Family ties

La Mirabelle is a family business, and this sense of community also extends to its staff. Walking into the restaurant at the end of the day, it’s normal to find Joly sharing laughs with her staff members over a glass of wine in the cozy common area. Some staff members, like the 32-year-old bartender, have been at the restaurant as long, if not longer, than Joly himself, and are equally keen to maintain its culture and quality.

“It’s so hard to find good staff now, and we’re so lucky,” Joly said. “So many people have been with us for years, and they’re staying with us, and for me that’s really a sign of success.”

With all the dramatic changes that have taken place in the valley over the past 40 years, Joly knows that the land he owns has become a gold mine, but he has no intention of selling. He knows he is preserving an important piece of history and wants to maintain the authentic experience of a family business amid the growing presence of international brands and big bucks in the Valley.

The Mirabelle farm maintains a warm and intimate atmosphere.
Chris Dillmann/Courtesy Photo

“I think it’s really cool to have something before when it was a farming town, to have something that goes from that generation to the generation that we’re in today. I think as a human being you are touched by that,” Joly said. “If I can create something really cool for the community while making a good living, I think in the long run it would be greatly appreciated.”

The next generation

When Joly started working at La Mirabelle, he was 26, a recent immigrant with no money and very few connections in the United States. Today, 30 years later, he is grateful for all the opportunities that have presented themselves and proud of how far the restaurant has come.

“Some people say, ‘Oh, you lived the American dream, it worked out for you,’ and I think in some ways I agree with that, but along the same lines, I worked hard the whole time and never stopped,” Joly said. “It was a fun ride, and we were very lucky with everything that happened to us, being an immigrant in this country and doing what we do.”

Looking ahead, Joly said he hopes to become a mentor and bring in the next generation to help build the next 40 years of Mirabelle’s future.

“I want to put myself in a position where I can maybe help somebody younger, like I was helped,” Joly said. “I don’t want to be 90 and be the old chef blocking up my kitchen. I want to try and breed as best we can and see how we can make it even better. That’s what keeps you going in this industry, is always questioning yourself and saying, ‘What did I do right? What can I do better? »


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