Sayonara Tap House, Huhlooo Mad Creek BBQ
After 25 years, Tap House Sports Grill is no more. Instead, two-year owner Patrick Groves is opening it up anew this winter as Mad Creek BBQ, serving up Texas barbecue featuring smoked brisket, chicken and ribs and an array of sides. And even with a new barbecue menu and name, the biggest change will be ordering at the counter — just like sauntering up to a chuckwagon on the trail — and getting your grub on a tray. The only thing different than the Old West? Getting a buzzer for your table. The move will let Groves operate the restaurant with fewer staff in this day and age when employees are hard to come by. Giddyup for some good old fashioned grub!
Gondola Cars, Yurts Back
What was designed as a solution for COVID protocols is coming back this winter, with both Mountain Tap and Aurum downtown bringing ack their gondola cars and yurts, respectively, for comfortable “outside” dining and imbibing. Aurum scored a brand new yurt in December with several upgrades over last season; this year they’ll feature just one, 16-foot yurt with more amenities, including better heating, lighting and a Scandinavian design. Mountain Tap, meanwhile, is bringing its gondola cars back (ahem, from Killington, not Steamboat), complete with speakers for private tunes with your IPAs and wood-fired ‘za’s. “They’ve been hugely popular and they’re broken in and much more comfortable now, kind of like comfy worn-in jeans,” says co-founder Rich Tucciarone. “A few families regularly ‘press glass’ for them.”
Food Truck Time: Meet The Boat Yard
Like your grub from a truck? Food truck aficionados rejoice at the new Boat Yard at 831 Yampa St., between Aurum and Backdoor Sports. Brought to you by Snow Bowl, the space is reserved for food trucks, creating a venue for quick meals on the go or hanging out and enjoying. “We feel it’s an important thing to provide for the community,” says partner Corey Wagner of the quarter-acre space that’s planned to host five food trucks, tables and open areas along the river. But don’t freeze waiting for it in line; the jury’s still out on winter operations.
Hasta Luego, Azteca
It was a great run, but after nearly 20 years Azteca has thrown in the restaurant towel, or dish rag, by shutting its doors. The belly-fill burrito joint teamed up to share a space with Clyde’s Pies in the bottom of the Ghost Ranch building at 56 Seventh St. this summer, after owner Jonas Gabriel closed his long-running Mex restaurant on Ninth Street last November, where he’d been slinging cilantro for 15 years. But he shut down the operation in late summer, with no plans to re-open. Now, if you want fish burritos “the good way,” you’ll have to make them yourself.
What Happened to the Ghost Ranch Bar?
Bar historians rejoice (or cringe)! The Ghost Ranch bar, which reportedly came from the Black Hills and was the one where “Rocky Raccoon met his match,” was sold by the building’s owners to a bar broker who has plans to re-sell it. “We ended up getting conflicting stories on where it came from,” says building partner Cam Boyd. “One said Montana, and another said South Dakota. But it was as classic of a bar as you’ll find anywhere out West.”
Joose on the Loose
When Manic Training moved from its sweaty digs on Downhill Drive to the old newspaper building on Curve Plaza, it left adjacent smoothie and health food café Joose high and dry. Cucumber cool, owner Izzy Mecca didn’t flinch, moving to an even better location downtown caddy-corner from the library at 1306 S. Lincoln Ave. Now you can stop there after your ride for a pre-emptive strike against those toxins you’re bound to ingest later at your après. The specialty drink hub offers a variety of cold-pressed juices made from plant-based ingredients, as well as smoothies and coffees including Bulletproof. It also serves up breakfast bowls, salads, soups, wraps and other grab-and-gos.
Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse Sold
Say hola to Darren and Carroll Zamzow, the former owners of Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse, in Baja, Mexico, next time you see them. The two sold their bar, restaurant and cabin rental operation this fall to Chris Jones, owner of Vista Verde Guest Ranch. And with a place in La Ventana, Mejico, they’ll likely be spending some time squeezing some limes there. Jones plans to rebrand the roadhouse as the Steamboat Lake Outpost and will continue to offer its lodging, guided trip, meals, bar and snowmobile rentals. Previous Roadhouse manager Katie Grosso will stay on board, with Vista GM Ben Simms serving as business manager. And it still makes a great getaway from the grind of the big city life in Steamboat.
Paying It Forward…with Pancakes!
Chef hats off to Sharon Stone, owner of Sharon’s Restaurant at 2851 Riverside Plaza. With the help of an anonymous donor, the 32-year restauranteur served free breakfast and coffee for over a year to those affected by job losses due to the pandemic. The original donation enticed others to contribute, which kept the program going. “I just love helping out how I can,” says Stone, adding the free breakfasts included a choice of biscuits and gravy with eggs, baby pancakes with eggs or a breakfast burrito with green chili or salsa. Just don’t show up in your Bogner one-piece.