What’s in a Name?

Bubba-Yampa SadwichCo
Bubba-Yampa SadwichCo

Town’s Weirdest-sounding Food (and Drink) Names

Steamboat is full of foods that speak to the soul, but how do they advertise their near-spiritual goodness while crammed onto a menu that will only be glanced at and then cast aside and smudged with ketchup? This is where the importance of a name comes in. So, behold our tribute to the delectable diction behind some of town’s odder-named dining and drink choices.

Holy Spicoli, Back Door Grill

Most dishes at Back Door Grill make great hangover food, but perhaps none are as functional as the Holy Spicoli. The burger comes complete with American cheese, a corn dog, fried egg, bacon, lettuce and fry sauce. It’s named for “Spicoli,” a.k.a. Cole Townsend, an employee from Back Door’s early days. After a long night out and about, Townsend would habitually find himself at one of Steamboat’s local Kum & Go convenience stores, loading up a corn dog with nacho cheese. “It got to the point where at both Kum & Go’s in town, I knew how to change the cheese dispenser,” Townsend says. When Back Door randomly received a box of sample corn dogs, Townsend knew what to do. He created a corn dog sandwich that, over time, evolved into the hearty heap of protein known as the Holy Spicoli today.

The Goomba, How Ya Doin’ Pizza n’ Eatz

The Goomba
The Goomba

The Goomba sandwich at How Ya Doin’ Pizza is stuffed full of ham, pepperoni, salami, provolone, banana peppers, lettuce, tomato and onion, all smothered with Italian dressing. And it comes with fries or a house salad. “It’s my favorite sandwich on the menu,” says How Ya Doin’ general manager Sean Moore. “It’s got a lot of flavors, and it’s got a little kick to it with the banana peppers. It’s like a traditional Italian with a step up.” While the restaurant’s team doesn’t quite remember how the name came to be, the sandwich was invented by an employee who liked to keep things unique, Moore says. If you really want to dig deeper, a Goomba is also a fictional mushroom-like species from Nintendo’s Mario franchise; Sicilian for “mate” or “fellow,” referring to Italian-American men; and means “mushroom” in Hungarian or “chestnut person” in Japanese. But we’ll just take the sandwich. 

Bubba’s Special, Yampa Sandwich Company

Bubba-Yampa SadwichCo
Bubba-Yampa SadwichCo

This sandwich is too extravagant to put on the formal menu, but it’s been a local’s favorite for years. Yampa Sandwich employee Taylor Leary invented the snack when he worked there as a high school student, dressing it up with roast beef, chipotle mayo, avocado, roasted red pepper, cheddar cheese and tomato. The sandwich is one of Yampa Sandwich Co.’s secret menu items that are named for their clever creators. “It’s all community driven,” says co-owner David Pepin. “When you can tie your community and employees into menu creation, it makes it fun.”

A Couple Oddly Named Drinks

Unsteady Yeti, The Barley Tap and Tavern

This cocktail is a mix of iced chai, nutmeg, Colorado cream and rum, which makes it perfect for warming up after stumbling around in the snow — or ice cold Yampa River. “You get to have a lot of fun with bar stuff, because you get to be more cheeky,” says owner Justin Keys of the naming process. Keys likes to surprise his friends by naming menu items in their honor. This one highlights his sister, as she and a friend came up with it and thought it would be the perfect name for a cocktail in a ski town.

Hipster Doofus, Storm Peak Brewing Company

Storm Peak’s Hipster-Doofus

“Seinfeld” fans have a way of finding one another, especially when their meeting place revolves around a selection of beers honoring the show’s most iconic punch lines. “‘Hipster Doofus’ is great for that beer since it’s a high alcohol by volume IPA,” says Storm Peak managing partner Wyatt Patterson. “If you aren’t careful, it can turn you into a hipster doofus, which is, of course, Elaine’s favorite put-down for Kramer.” With hints of peach and apricot, the Hipster Doofus embodies ‘90s nostalgia combined with the modern infatuation with local brews. And, of course, don’t forget the Serenity Now, a red ale kettle-soured with Greek yogurt fermented with 850 pounds of plum puree.

—Abby Vander Graaff