Our Harley Days: First Ride 2010!

This is a list of our favorite eating places in and around Fort Collins and maybe a little further afield… Keep in mind, we don’t go anywhere to eat that gets us out of our comfort zone (blue jeans, sneakers or biker leathers). There’s no rating system here… if it made the list, consider it comes with the highest recommendation.

Vern’s Place
4120 W Cr-54G Laporte, CO 80535
(970) 482-5511
In business since 1946. Rustic, mostly dead decor. Seat yourself and enjoy an ample serving of good ol’ comfort food, breakfast served all day, bakery and gift shop on site, on the way to Rist Canyon, Poudre Canyon, Horsetooth Reservoir and Dam.

Johnson’s Corner
2842 S.E. Frontage rd Loveland, Colorado 80537
(970) 667-2069
In business since 1952. Truck stop, gift shop and more. Home of world-famous cinnamon rolls. I-25 near Loveland, Exit 254, the Johnstown exit — halfway between Denver and Cheyenne, WY. Trust me on this, EAT before you head into Wyoming…

Jose O’Shea’s
385 Union Blvd Lakewood, CO. 80228
In business since 1978. our favorite mexican food place in the Denver area. Trust me – we tried just about all of them. We spent our first year in Denver looking for the best margarita with tolerable mexican food. this is it. Fun decor. reasonably priced. The cream cheese chicken enchiladas are excellent, but so is everything else on the menu. The house Margaritas – yum!

Raising Cane’s
Fort Collins, CO2108 S. College AveFort Collins, CO, 80525
OK – we don’t do much fast food but Raising Cane’s is a regular lunch stop for us. great chicken strips, served up fresh with an excellent dipping sauce. plus, the background story is about dogs – we’re suckers for that sort of thing.

Tortilla Marissa’s
North of the Border Cafe
2635 South College Ave Fort Collins, CO 80525
Our favorite mexican food in Fort Collins. Cozy atmosphere. Friendly wait staff. Excellent, reasonably priced, not your run of the mill mexican food.

BeauJo’s Pizza
1517 Miner St Idaho Springs, CO 80452
In business in this location since 1973. Sure, they have locations all over Colorado now (including downtown Fort Collins) but the original location is an experience you won’t soon forget. The decor is rustic, mining in one of the best little towns just off I-70 in Colorado. BeauJo’s is the best pizza we’ve ever had — anywhere — with a huge variety of pies to choose from. Order by the pound and you better be hungry.

The Village Inn
Located all over Colorado (at least in the major cities), similar to an IHOP. The food is better and more reasonably priced. BIKER ALERT – they have great coffee and scrumptious pie.

666 (no kidding) North Third St Laramie, Wyoming 82072
(307) 721-4813
1947 Dell Range Blvd Cheyenne, WY 82009
3609 E. Lincoln way Cheyenne, WY 82001
For certain, there are a few major chain restaurants near the malls in the big (big is relative term here) cities of Wyoming (Casper and Cheyenne), but we typically avoid that sort of establishment when we ride. Shari’s is a cafe-style restaurant with an open menu, serving breakfast all day, good coffee, excellent pie.

Serious Texas BBQ
201 West 71st Street Loveland, Colorado, 80538
Hwy 287 between Loveland and Fort Collins, just north of Walmart on the west side of the road.
FYI: also a couple of locations in Durango, CO
Being Texans we take our BBQ seriously. unlike many Texas-theme joints up this way, serious Texas BBQ is not a misnomer. Huge windows give the feel of an open air pavilion while the no frills dining area is set up with picnic tables. The food is served up hot and tasty in generous portions on butcher paper. Try the pulled pork sandwich with cherry chipotle salsa. YUM! The sampler platter is plentiful enough for two (well, unless Tim is really, really hungry). oh and the green salsa (jalapeno and pineapple) is outstanding. And yeah, they offer all the salsas in a carry-home jar.

The Mason Jar Family Restuarant
2925 West Colorado Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80904.
At the corner of 30th Street and Colorado Ave. (Old Colorado City)
Directions: From I-25 take exit 141 (Cimarron St, US-24 W)Travel west 2 ½ miles on US 24 to 31st St Turn right on 31st, take the next right on Colorado Ave one block.
Established in 1982. We have been dining at The Mason Jar nearly that long, since the Folks discovered it (probably in 1982). No vacation to Colorado or visit to Colorado Springs is complete without dining once or twice at this wonderful home-style restaurant. they are known for their chicken fried steak, real mashed potatoes and gravy but everything on the menu (which includes catfish) is excellent. Generous helpings. reasonably priced. Casual. Located in old Colorado City (a fun place) just minutes from Garden of the Gods, Van Briggle Pottery, lots of museums and Manitou Springs — right smack in the middle of all the fun stuff.

Marion’s of the Rockies
2805 Colorado Blvd Idaho Springs, CO 80452
Exit 241 A (from Denver) off I-70W

Nice place, cozy decor. very clean. The service was prompt and friendly, the coffee hot and tasty and breakfast was great. Prices were reasonable. We’ll stop by again sometime this summer and check out the rest of the menu… but for now – Marion’s makes the cut. P.S. It’s where the locals eat – always a good sign.

Southwest Grill
1000 Highway 50 West Pueblo, CO 81008
Open 6AM – 9PM 7 days a week

A pleasant start to a ride in southern Colorado. The prices were reasonable, the staff friendly and attentive, it was clean and the food (breakfast) was good. The decor was older, cafe style with blue vinyl booths and a bar up front and lots of tables in the main dining area. there are some very nice, southwest theme wall murals. Lots of locals were dining here.

1401 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur (Hwy 68) Taos, NM 87571

The restaurant, a short stroll from our hotel was decorated in typical southwest style, with lovely tile floors, very neat, very clean. The service was great, the happy hour margaritas were tasty and refreshing, the house margaritas (post happy hour) were outstanding, the food was delicious, well-prepared and plentiful.

Mama Ree’s
17 N Harrison Cortez, CO 81321

Mama Ree’s (pronounced Ray’s) in Cortez, CO is a pleasant surprise. just a short walk from our hotel, this tiny eating establishment is set up in an old, rather unassuming (plain) house just a few feet off the Main drag. It was clean and decorated in cozy Italian style with grapevine and grape clusters adorning the ceiling. It was also very busy, not only with dine-in but take-out orders as well. We did not have to wait for a table. The wait staff appeared to be Mama’s teen-age children. they are friendly and efficient. Mama’s significant other is kitchen boss. Mama is everywhere. The meal was outstanding. While we had the spaghetti (with Mama’s sauce), every plate that whizzed by our noses looked wonderful. first there was the large loaf of just-out-of-the-oven french bread served up with lots of butter. next was an excellent salad called LaGuiseppe, finely shredded cabbage marinated in olive oil and spices and served with a red wine vinegar dressing. YUM! The spaghetti was scrumptious and plentiful. Mama Ree’s offers a decent selection of wines. Wine, not being our cup of tea, it shouldn’t go without saying that the Bud Light we ordered was served at the perfect temperature. A fun thing to note about this restaurant is a thing they do called the Clean Plate Club. Pictures line the walls of all the good little boys and girls (not all of them so little) who have cleaned their plate. Wonderful! We will return – hungry.

The Shaft
29411 W U S Highway 160, South Fork, CO 81154
(719) 873-0102

Make a meal on the beer-battered onion rings! The food (we had BBQ brisket sandwiches) was great, reasonably priced and served up in generous portions. The wait staff were friendly and efficient. The decor is galvanized with some nice folk art murals…

Southern Vittles
200A Silver Street Lake City, CO 81235
Owners: Kelly & Katie Elkins

BIKER ALERT! best damn apple pie I’ve ever stuck in my pie-hole! We enjoyed our pie and ice cream and really good coffee (even in the middle of the afternoon) on the front porch. there is a cozy indoor dining area. they also serve catfish and claim the chicken fried steak is the house specialty in this Biker-Friendly establishment. We will return for the catfish and something on the menu called Texas Toothpicks (beer-battered jalapenos and onions).

Colorado City Creamery
2602 West Colorado Avenue
Old Colorado City
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

Homemade Ice cream – homemade waffle cones… lots of other eats – all served up quick and friendly. Small dining room but why bother? It is Colorado – eat outside! The shady patio in front has plenty of tables and benches. The creamery has been in business over 30 years – there’s a single word reason for that. YUM! oh, and there’s plenty of parking round back.

The Outpost Cafe
1011 S Main
Lusk, WY 82225

Just about the only place we found to eat in Lusk, WY and we are glad we stopped… It’s an old cafe, with cafe decor – ’nuff said. It was seat yourself. Breakfast was hot, portions were plentiful, reasonably priced and the bustling waitress kept our cups brimming with strong coffee. The place was booming with local business and travelers, including several bikers who agreed – great place for breakfast.

The Jolly Restaurant
Hwy 287 82 E
Wichita Falls, TX 76307
(940) 767-8536

We recently revisited the Jolly Restaurant while out on a ride with Dad during a visit to Texas. Being from that area, we’ve dined there many times in the distant pass. The atmosphere is still rancher/trucker (it is a Truck Stop), the service is friendly and fast and the food is served up in plentiful country-style fashion (pancakes hang off the side of a large dinner platter). you can get your chicken-fried steak deep-fried or grilled and the gravy is really good.

The Pancake House
640 E Pancake Blvd (no kidding!)
Liberal, KS 67901-4318
(620) 624-8585

What a pleasant surprise! The atmosphere was right out of a childhood memory of Sunday morning trips to the Pancake House with the folks. We had a good ol’ country style breakfast with delicious buttermilk pancakes served up hot and tasty. The menu offered pancakes in dozens of different flavors. The coffee was good, the service was excellent and the prices so reasonable, we had to double check the ticket. It was busy (appears to be a favorite with locals).

McBride Land & Cattle Company
501 Scott Street
Wichita Falls, TX 76301
(940) 322-2516

Always a favorite, we revisited McBride’s with the Folks on a recent trip to Texas. Of course, we arrived early before the evening rush. they specialize in steak and potatoes (dinner comes with a garden salad) so if you’re looking for a gourmet experience – this isn’t the place. I usually have shrimp. The atmosphere is always clean and cozy, the service is good and the prices are reasonable.

New Moon Bakery & Cafe
One West first Street
P. O. Box 1548
Nederland, CO 80466
(303) 258-3569
The New Moon Bakery, located next to the historic Town Hall and across from the Visitors’ Center, is usually a must-stop for us when traveling the peak-to-peak highway. they offer an excellent selection of home-made pastries, muffins, scones and cookies baked fresh daily, as well as quiche and assorted other breakfast and light lunch items. much to Tim’s delight the -regular- coffee is great although they offer a full espresso bar. The giant Jackpot cookie is a scrumptious concoction of oatmeal, cranberry, and white chocolate. YUM! The cafe has a small indoor seating area, with free wireless internet as well as a cozy patio.

More listings coming soon.

Our Harley Days: First Ride 2010!