For the past two summers, New York City’s top-ranked restaurant Eleven Madison Park has created one of the hardest reservations to score in the Hamptons with its popup EMP Summer House, an eatery with reservations exclusively for American Express card members. Now it’s popping up—way up, at 8,000 feet—in Aspen, Colorado with EMP Winter House, the first round of reservations (December 15th through January 31st) available this Thursday. “When we were looking for something to do with our team during renovations in 2017, we thought 'let’s do as New Yorkers do and go to the Hamptons for the summer,'” says EMP co-owner Will Guidara, who cites simply falling in love with the concept as their reason to do it again. “In this case, we thought let’s do as people who have houses in the Hamptons do and go to Aspen for the winter.”
The pop-up will be located in the 90-seat dining room of the Chefs Club at the St. Regis Aspen Resort, the space redesigned with furs, antlers, trees, and even Christmas lights—part Swiss chalet, part holiday market (Guidara describes it as “refined rusticity”). And the entire staff will be the same as EMP Summer House. “We love the idea of the same sommelier who brought you the wine list at your beach house restaurant doing so at your mountain house restaurant,” says Guidara. EMP is collaborating with the Chefs Club to feature a wine program with 250 options, including 20 wines by the glass.
There will also be an outdoor yurt village with eight private-dining yurts for 4-8 people as well as outdoor seating for après-ski cocktails like bourbon spiced cider (served in a Thermos) and, yes, even a house-made shot ski. But ski-bumming this is not. “The idea is to create these cool private dining rooms, a whole village of them, and make it feel like a winter wonderland where people can have cheese fondue after skiing or a whole roast dinner,” says Guidara.
The menu, inspired by chef Daniel Humm’s Swiss roots, will be almost entirely new and different from the dishes at Eleven Madison Park or EMP Summer House—veal schnitzel, beef stroganoff, and spätzle are just some of the hearty offerings. “It’s meant to be warm and comforting, stick to your bones kind of food,” says Guidara. And given EMP’s ultra-luxe reputation, there will, of course, be items like foie gras, caviar and whole black truffle (“to be used at your discretion,” says the menu).
American Express is the only accepted form of card payment and reservations can either be booked using the card ator, for those with a Platinum card, through the Platinum Concierge service. Reservations for later in the season are available January 1st (for February) and February 1st (for March and April).