Sun Valley Resort's historic Roundhouse is taking on a whole new character this winter. The addition of the gondola last winter, plus renovations to the building, have set the octagonal restaurant up as the new on-mountain place to dine.

The Roundhouse, built in 1939, was the first day lodge on the mountain, but last winter began attracting nonskiers who could ride the gondola up to the historic building located at 7,700 feet on Bald Mountain for dining. The restaurant has eliminated cafeteria service, but now offers First Tracks breakfasts and seated lunch dining. This winter, it debuts upscale evening dining 6-9 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Dec. 10-Mar. 27.

We checked in with Mike McCormack, manager of the Roundhouse, for a sneak peak at the menu for the new evening dinners. He assured us that several of the favorite Roundhouse specialties will appear, including Roasted Roma Tomato and Cognac Soup, Elk Carpaccio, Warm Baby Spinach Salad, cheese fondue, gravilax, and raclette.

But diners can also look forward to tasting Chef Don Wise's new signature dishes. Wise has designed a new starter--the Savory Lobster Popover with Lemon Herb Sour Cream and Golden Caviar Garnish. "The dish is garnished with chopped lobster claws, and the caviar is a citrus-infused salmon roe with a lemony flavor," added McCormack.

Wise is also creating a new dinner variation of the lunch signature grilled quail dish. The new entree features a stuffed breast of native pheasant with a hunter sauce made from a port wine demi-glace, roasted tomatoes, whole shallots, and mushrooms. Other entrees include filet mignon, elk medallions, rack of lamb, salmon, pasta, and a roasted vegetable Napoleon.

Two of the Roundhouse specialty desserts will also appear for dinners-Linzertorte and chocolate fondue.

Evening dining may be reserved in Averell's Bar and in the main dining room of the Roundhouse Restaurant. "The prime real estate is in Averell's Bar with huge picture windows overlooking Sun Valley. At night, it's really something," said McCormack. "But the main dining room with the four-sided fireplace is so nostalgic."

Roundhouse Gondola evening transportation is included free for dinner guests. Diners need to be prepared to climb 62 steps from the upper terminal of the gondola to the restaurant. McCormack indicated that the resort will have a system in place to assist those who struggle with mobility. Upgrades to the building added an ADA-compliant restroom on the main floor.

The restaurant also serves a First Tracks Breakfast 8:30-10:30 a.m. daily. It includes a hot entrée such as quiche, frittatas, or blintzes plus pastries, breads, muffins, oatmeal with garnishes, fruit platters, coffee, and juice.

Averell's serves up a lunch menu and appetizer favorites while the Roundhouse dining room offers a mainstay quiche of the day and its signature Weiner Schnitzel with Spaetzle and Braised Red Cabbage, among other gourmet dishes. Both open 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with no reservations taken.

More information. Or call 208-622-2012.