Tag Archives: Colorado

Señor Ric’s Mexican Restaurant in Aurora, Colorado

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Senor Ric's Mexican Restaurant
Senor Ric's Mexican Restaurant

Señor Ric’s Mexican Restaurant
13200 E. Mississippi
Aurora, CO 80012
(303) 750-9000

Señor Ric’s exterior – you can’t really tell from the photo – has New Mexican style wrap-around blue and red neon tubing at the top of the building. When I first saw Señor Ric’s, I thought of Central Avenue in Albuquerque, although the restaurant seems to be referenced as Santa Fe style. Both work for me.

Owners, Jeff and Julie Eaton have been serving (mostly) traditional Mexican food since 1986. Señor Ric’s has a New Mexican “hacienda” feel to it, spread throughout a huge space. The New Mexican style decor/design provides a bright, cheerful background; Think Rose’s Cantina, white-washed walls and a red rose. Upon entering the restaurant, on the left is the lively, colorful lounge/bar area, on the right – several dining rooms.

Señor Ric’s Lounge & Bar
Señor Ric’s Lounge & Bar - Denver Post Photo

We stopped in one evening while the Happy Hour was in session. Señor Ric’s Happy Hour is a habit not easy to break since the Happy Hour is a very good thing. “Daily from 3-6pm & 9-11pm the Happy Hour includes: Traditional Margaritas, Fruit Margaritas, Domestic Drafts, House Wine and Well Drinks.” First trip, I had the red wine (2) for about $4.00, then switched to the 2-4-1 Traditional House Margarita at $4.95;) It’s just about the only Happy Hour, inexpensive-margarita I’ve had that doesn’t give me a headache or worse.

Senor Ric's Bar - LasVegasBuffetClub
Senor Ric's Bar - Photo LasVegasBuffetClub

During Happy Hours, there’s a little buffet table in the bar area stocked with a huge bowl of light, thin chips, a spicy been-dip and a decent salsa. On Friday nights they add baby Taquitos. Last trip the Taquitos were of the spinach and cheese variety. Sometimes they serve cheese-filled Taquitos – all complimentary.

Spinach Enchilada - LasVegasBuffetClub
Spinach Enchilada - LasVegasBuffetClub

On our second visit, we decided to dine from the main menu – in the main dining room. I had the Spinach Enchilada – a tortilla stuffed with sautéed spinach and baked in a light vegetable sauce, “finished with zesty chili con queso” served with Mexican rice and sour cream for about four bucks. I wanted to try this dish because of the spinach. It was excellent Tex-Mex with a healthy twist. Here’s the skinny on two:

“Two enchiladas stuffed with sautéed spinach and baked in a
light vegetable sauce. Finished with our zesty chili con queso.
Served with Mexican rice and sour cream ($8.99.”)

Other traditional items from the menu include: Appetizers from $7.49 to $9.79, Combinations, such as: Two cheese enchiladas, Mexican rice and refried beans, $8.49. (With pork, beef or chicken add $1.00;) also flautas, burritos, rellenos, tamales and tacos.

Fajitas are on the menu.
“One half pound of marinated strips of steak, chicken or pork served on a sizzling skillet with fresh picco de gallo, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, refried beans and your choice of hot flour or corn tortillas” $13.49. Mix beef, chicken or pork add $1.00

“A crispy flour tortilla filled with your choice of one of the tasty ingredients listed below, topped with mild green sauce, Mexican rice and choice of refried beans or black beans. Served with sour cream.” Choose: Shredded Beef $8.99, Chicken $8.99, Ground Beef $8.99, Bean (black or refried) $8.29

Ric’s Chimichanga
“Ric stuffs this chimichanga with his famous Green Pork Chili and tops it with scoops of sour cream and guacamole. Olé!” $9.29

Also: Weekday Specials, A LA Carte, Seafood Items, Gluten Free Menu, Salads and Wraps. Find Ric’s complete menu here.

Dining Room: 11:00 am to 9:30 pm Sun. – Thurs.
11:00 am to 10:00 pm Fri. – Sat.
Lounge: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm Daily


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Torres Mexican Restaurant in Denver, Colorado

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Originally Published on: Nov 7, 2013

Torres Mexican Restaurant
Torres Mexican Restaurant

Torres Mexican Restaurant
1597 So. Federal Blvd.
Denver, CO 80219
PH: 303-934-8857

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

I know the extent of my ignorance. My knowledge of the rules of English grammar is not 100%, and I know that for a fact. Sure, it doesn’t matter for the 99% who either don’t know any better or just don’t give a damn! But the grammar meanies know all the rules and, by gosh, they’ll call you on it. So I’ll write away, blissfully unaware of my grammatical errors, hoping the reader will be able to understand what I’m trying to say. The grammar patrol can go end themselves with a preposition.

Anyway, having said that, let’s get down to business.

And the business is Torres Mexican Restaurant on the ¹Federal Strip in Denver, Colorado.

One of (3)Torres' Dining Rooms
One of (3) Torres' Dining Rooms

From the high-quality, rich-wood dining chairs and cozy booths to the modern, newly remodeled bathrooms—to the respectful and polite servers in their smart, black & white uniforms, this place is all class. And I haven’t said a word about the fishbowl (size) margaritas or the cool bar area with a few booths and tables for dining (my favorite area.)

Traditional Mexican food served unpretentiously, yet respectfully, in a family-friendly, homey restaurant is what Torres is all about. The energy is high; the restaurant is spotless; the owners and staff aim to please, and they do.

The food is classic Mexican: Botanas (appetizers) including NACHOS ($6.75 – $10.05,) CHICKEN WINGS, FRIES, CALAMARI and more; ²FAJITAS: (steak & chicken $13.95,) (de camaron $16.90;) CARNITAS ($12.95,) TAQUITOS (3-pork $8.50,) TACOS (1 chicken or beef $2.10;) and FLAUTAS, BURRITOS, ENCHILADAS, TOSTADAS etc. View Torres’ menu here for all items and prices.

The high-quality chairs somehow remind me of a bull—standing its ground, perhaps due to the sturdiness of the strong, rich wood, and (one can’t really tell from the photo) the fact that the chair-legs and backs are poised like a strong bull.

One of (3) Torres dining rooms
One of (3) Torres dining rooms

Also on the menu you’ll find: Desayunos (BREAKFAST items ($2.60 – $9.75;) COMBINATIONS ($7.85-$10.60;) STEAK (here’s one of four on the menu:) Mexican T-bone served with potatoes, rice, beans and salad ($17.50;) SALADS; SEAFOOD: for example – BANQUET MARINARO with shrimp, oysters, fish, ceviche and more ($29.15,) or 7 MARES: combo seafood soup w/2 tortillas ($18.95;) SANDWICHES, TORTAS, BURGERS, VEGETARIAN items and DESSERTS are available, such as FLAN ($4.05.)

One of our favorite menu items is the Combination Burrito, smothered with: lettuce, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, shredded beef, ground beef, chicken, chicharones and beans ($6.95.)

Torres' Bar
Torres' Bar

The little bar is the center attraction serving everything from giant Margaritas ($8) to regular size Margs and pitchers, wines from ($4.00,) and all of the full bar choices, including Courvoisier and Tres Generations. Note the large mounted fish above the bar.

Torres' Jumbo Margarita
Torres' Jumbo Margarita

On those fair-weather days one can enjoy the patio under an umbrella.

Torres' Patio
Torres' Patio

Torres Mexican Restaurant Official Website with menus
¹A two-way commercial strip with many Hispanic and Asian businesses, from about W Evans Avenue to around 38th Avenue on Federal Blvd.
²My understanding is that Fajitas are a USA/Texas contribution to Mexican cuisine.
From FoodTimeline.Org
“Our research confirms 1971 as first print date for “fajitas,” as we know them today.”


Patsy’s Italian Restaurant in Denver, Colorado

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This is a quick, update post – Patsy’s has been reviewed before (there’s a link at the bottom of this post.) Pardon my grammar, the editor is otherwise indisposed, and I wanted to get this out there. Story by William Carbone

Patsy's Italian Restaurant
Patsy's Italian Restaurant

Patsy’s Italian Restaurant
3651 Navajo Street
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 477-8910

Mural in Patsy's dining room
Mural in Patsy's dining room

Mural on the north-side-wall of Patsy’s: did someone tell me that an itinerant artist painted this mural for food and a room to sleep above the restaurant – or did I imagine this?

“With a history that spans more than 80 years, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant is Denver’s oldest Italian restaurant. Founded in 1921 by the Aiello family, Patsy’s has undergone a few changes over the years but the heart and soul of tradition have remained the same” read more…

One thing that hasn’t remained the same is the food. I’m laying down my cards here, saying that the food is getting better, probably better than anytime in Patsy’s long history – not that I’ve been around for all of those years. I’ve been enjoying the pasta since the 60s. That was when business-men in suits and ties, and secretaries with stiff-hair would drive up from downtown Denver to lunch. So what’s new besides transplants moving into the Lower Highlands neighborhood and joining long-time locals who have been returning to the restaurant, week after week, since the days when Patsy’s was in the center of *Denver’s Little Italy?

It’s 2013, tons of sophisticated transplants are moving to the Lower Highlands and diners are generally becoming more hip to the nuances of restaurants/food. Someone at Patsy’s is doing a good job raising the bar. That would (most) probably be (a relative of Chubby Aiello, the original owner) Ron Cito, and Kim Delancey, the current owners.

The homemade noodles and the other traditional Italian dishes have always been good. The soups, salads and desserts, always good. The bar has always been impeccably, vintage cool.

The food – though still based in tradition – has become more sophisticated. The marinara sauce has been jacked-up, jacked-up with garlic. Owner Ron Cito shared his secret of the great, gastronomic, garlic flavor: he steams the garlic. Other food items are more subtly seasoned, and there are, in addition to standard, old-school favorites, new creative dishes on the menu.

Patsy's Homemade Spaghetti

This, in my opinion, is Patsy’s signature dish: Homemade Spaghetti with meatball or sausage, served with soup or salad and bread ($10.75.)

Italian Fried Trout

The elegant Italian Fried (Ruby) Trout served with garlic cream spaghetti, soup or salad and bread ($13.75.)

What else is new? The restaurant itself is a time-capsule from the 1920s, definitely not new. The owners and staff are new. The service is generally good, sometimes it’s a notch above good. We do miss “Sherrie,” who was a real asset to the business.

*In the late 1800s and the first half or so of the 1900s the area in Denver between Broadway and Zuni Streets on the east and west and 46th and 32nd Avenues on the north and south was known as “Little Italy”. It was an area of Italian grocery stores and bakeries, community bread ovens, churches, and schools; an area where a new wave of immigrants from all over Italy moved to and where they were comfortable and socially secure in this new country read more…

The Official Website of Patsy’s Inn Italian Restaurant.

Open 7 days… Parking lot 1/2 block north…

View another post on Patsy’s from 2009 here.

Patsy’s Italian Restaurant is a TrueItalianTable recommended authentic Italian restaurant.

Odyssey Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar in Denver, CO

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First published September 15, 2013

Odyssey Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
603 E 6th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 318-0102

Odyssey Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
Odyssey Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar

A funny thing happened on the way to a longtime, favorite, hideaway restaurant on 6th Avenue in Denver: the new owner’s renovations were a bit more extensive than we thought they would be. The “new” restaurant’s ambience exceeded our comfort level so we left.

Standing at the curb, feeling forlorn and betrayed, we were trying to regain some level of composure as I gazed across the street. Lo and behold, a sideways banner, silently shouting “pasta,” was beckoning to us. Across 6th and a half-block to the west, a world of promise was possibly opening. It was Odyssey Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar.

I said, “Let’s go!” We went.

Upon entering Odyssey, my first thoughts were of a cozy eatery in West Los Angeles—Hollywood to be more specific, The Sunset Strip to be even more specific—where clean water runs down the curbs, and the restaurants are so fancy one hesitates to enter if one is, say, homeless and wandering, or on a lessor note, just not dressed appropriately. (A couple of days later, I thought of the well-worn Alexander Graham Bell adage “When one door closes, another opens.” Perfect!)

At that moment a very animated and over-the-top gracious young man introduced himself and gave us a quick tour and brief history of the restaurant and the owners—his father and himself: Executive Chef Ignazio Mulei (father) and Michael Mulei. It is a good thing.

This little bistro on East 6th Avenue is in an old, established neighborhood in a turn-of-the-century house that proudly displays exposed old-brick walls; worn wood; many wine bottles, photos and paintings; a small cave-like corner bar; white tablecloths and sometimes candles on the tables glowing in champagne glasses.

Odyssey Dining Room
Odyssey Dining Room

Cozy interior of Odyssey Italian Restaurant’s main dining area

Odyssey's cozy little bar
Odyssey's Cozy Little Bar

A half-dozen tables, a few booths left over from other restaurants that have occupied the space, and the bar complete the main dining room. Another dining room sits up a short flight of stairs, past photos of Dean Martin and Saint Francis (F.S.) with other members of the The Rat Pack, and past a kitchen door. Here are more tables and booths, a fireplace, and a special deeply recessed space with a U-shaped booth—an intimate, private, mini dining room with curtains. Guess where I’ll be next visit, and I guarantee there will be a next visit. Three slanting tables out front (the sidewalk slants, see top photo) and another half-dozen on a raised patio are there for fresh-air romance on 6th Avenue.

Odyssey's upper level fireplace
Odyssey's Upper Level Fireplace

We didn’t stay that first evening, but we did return for the following Monday Night Pasta Special—pasta dinner with Caesar Salad and bread for $8.99.

Let the Odyssey begin. We chose the table in the middle of the room. Not my usual favorite place but the other choices were right up in the other diners’ business, so to speak, so we drew our cards and sat down. A lovely, petite server warmly greeted us with the menus and the standard opening gambit of asking if we would like to order cocktails or wine before dinner. Sure! We both ordered a glass of wine from the bottom of the menu, the $5.00 house red for me and a $6.00 Little Black Dress white for Sue Ann.

Bang! Chef Ignazio appeared out of nowhere with an appetizer plate of calamari. As East Coast-animated and gracious as his son, Chef Ignazio told us that he’d like to have us try the calamari, on the house, and launches into a bit more history of his life and of the restaurant, speaking to us like an old friend or a relative. It was good. The calamari were perfect – velvety golden-brown, tempura-like on the outside, and on the inside the meat was not too soft and not too hard, served with a light marinara and wedges of lemon. The portion size was decent.

I was there for the pasta special, however, after perusing the menu and listening to the recitation of the night’s other special entrees, we decided to split a dish called Red Snapper Florentine with roasted seasonal vegetables (Caesar Salad & bread included ($16.00).

After savoring the calamari, sipping the wine and taking in the sweet vibe of the restaurant, the fish dish arrived. The Red Snapper was swimming in an ocean of spinach, with a few long green beans, resting on a bed of (whole-wheat, my choice) spaghetti in an Aglio E Olio sauce. The portion was very generous.

Chef Ignazio offered to share a Sambuca with us. After waiting a while, we decided that he was busy in the kitchen, so we paid the check and left knowing we’d be back.

The next Monday we returned with a guest, a food and travel writer. This time I called ahead, reserving a corner booth for 7 p.m. Once again, we were cheerfully greeted by the servers and Michael, who immediately began chatting in Italian with our guest like a long lost friend. He entertained us with stories of his family—mostly stories of the family kitchen—and there was the kissing of the hand and conversation about the due baci (the kissing of both cheeks).

Once again, Chef Ignazio appeared with a complimentary appetizer, this time a Sicilian dish of sausage slices, cheese, salami, green peppers, onions, and . . .raisins, which were the coup de grâce. The sweetness and flavor of the raisins, juxtaposed with the other spicy flavors imparted a memorable taste.

The Beautiful Eggplant Caprese
The Beautiful Eggplant Caprese

After much chatting in Italian between the guest, the chef and the son and many stories told—and we hadn’t yet ordered dinner—Chef Ignazio announced that he was going to cook the guest’s dinner tableside. OK. In the meantime, we ordered an appetizer. It was a beautiful Eggplant Caprese (tomato and mozzarella layered with grilled eggplant with a slightly crunchy outer edge). I could easily do one of these as a meal, or if I needed a bit more, I’d also order the Calamari.

Here’s Open Table’s menu for Odyssey. I don’t know if it’s complete or accurate, it’s the only one I can find since Odyssey doesn’t have an active website.

Chef Ignazio Cooking Tableside
Chef Ignazio Cooking Tableside

This evening two of us split the Veal Braciole, flavorful and tender. It was served over a bed of butterfly pasta. Our guest had a Sicilian Red Snapper dish, prepared tableside over a little cooking plate; Every time the chef added a splash of Captain Morgan’s rum to the pan, a flame would shoot up eighteen inches, instantly creating a show; everyone in the dining room was having a great time.

Red Snapper Cooked Tableside
Red Snapper Cooked Tableside

Impressive and generous entrées at Odyssey Italian Restaurant

Veal Braciole over Butterfly Pasta with Marinara
Veal Braciole over Butterfly Pasta with Marinara

The only thing on the negative side is the very limited parking. There may be some curbside parking across the street or around the corner, but there are no nearby parking lots, or valet service that I’m aware of. Valet would be a good addition and make the over-the-top service complete.

This post was written and assembled by William Carbone
Thank’s to Claudia Carbone for editing

Odyssey Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar is a TrueItalianTable recomended authentic Italian restaurant.

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Patsy’s Inn Italian Restaurant in Denver: Go Fish

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Patsy's Italian Restaurant
Patsy's Italian Restaurant

Patsy’s Italian Restaurant
3651 Navajo Street
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 477-8910

We dined at my favorite Denver Italian restaurant the other night, and the dish we shared was the best we’ve had in years. Of course there have been several owners as well as different dishes served over the years, but this was – hands down one of the best.

The dish was “Italian Fried Trout
Ruby Trout dusted lightly with herbed flour and flash fried, served with garlic creme spaghetti. The huge (bragging rights) fish was filleted and laid out on a large plate in two fat pieces with golden garlic creme spaghetti filling the rest of the plate. I’m a red-sauce guy but this light, creamy beauty hugged the spaghetti in a perfect marriage with the fish ($13.75) including Homemade Minestrone Soup or House Salad, and bread.

This may be a one hit wonder – we’ll see – though I might have to order my regular fav next time: Patsy’s big, fat homemade noodles with the garlicky red sauce served with balls or sausage, or one of each ($10.75) with Homemade Minestrone Soup or House Salad, and bread.

Or we’ll try the Ruby Trout again hoping they can repeat perfection.

There’s a new seats-you-at-a-table guy/barkeep at Patsy’s. He seems to be a good guy and adds high energy to the place; the downside is that the ice-cool and lovely, SB is no longer at the helm of the bar – a role she could have played in a Bogart film scene for scene. She will be missed.

Patsy’s Inn Italian Restaurant


Tony Pasquini keeps hit ‘n ’em out of the park with another home run – his new Tonys Ps on 17th Street in Denver.

Tonys Ps
777 East 17th Avenue
Denver, CO 80203

Tony Ps
Tony Ps

Lodged in a deep groove of Denver hip, Tony P found a sweet spot with this uptown Dr. Parnassus-like Imaginarium/Restaurant/Hip Lounge.

They say it’s haunted… More later…

Tony Ps Website

Pioneering Promoter Barry Fey Dead At 73: “some Denver media reporting an apparent suicide.”

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Barry Fey
Barry Fey

Barry Fey, one of the pioneering promoters in the U.S., and highly influential in building Denver into one of the most robust live concert markets in the country, died at his home yesterday, with some Denver media reporting an apparent suicide. Fey was 73, and had recently undergone hip replacement surgery that kept him hospitalized for a month, and sources say he had been despondent about the pace of his recovery read more from Billboard.Com…

Barry Fey, legendary Colorado concert promoter, dies at 73

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Barry Fey in Denver on Monday, November 14, 2011.
Barry Fey in Denver on Monday, November 14, 2011.

By Joey Bunch and Ricardo Baca
The Denver Post

The colorful promoter who made Colorado a destination for the biggest names in music died Sunday. Barry Fey was 73.
The cause of death was not immediately available, but an unusually downtrodden Fey told The Denver Post last week that he was recovering from hip-replacement surgery.

“Barry Fey is one of the giants of a generation,” said William Dean Singleton, chairman and publisher of The Denver Post and a close friend of Fey’s. “He brought the music scene to Colorado, and every part of the music scene you see here today has his fingerprints on it.”

Fey promoted tens of thousands of concerts and other events from the 1960s until he retired his Feyline corporation in the late-’90s. (He even dipped his toes back into the waters with a consulting gig with House of Blues in the 2000s.) He was friends with acts he promoted, a list that included the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead, the Who, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and other big-time acts read more:

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AP/ April 20, 2013, 9:06 PM Police: Shots fired at Colo. pot holiday gathering >>>UPDATE<<< 11:00 PM, Mountain Time: Three Wounded

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Police: Shots fired at Colo. pot holiday gathering
Police: Shots fired at Colo. pot holiday gathering

>>>UPDATE< << From ChicagoTribune.Com
Keith Coffman
6:53 p.m. CDT, April 20, 2013

Three people shot at pro-marijuana rally in Denver

DENVER, April 20 (Reuters) – Three people were shot and wounded at a pro-marijuana rally on Saturday, disrupting the first celebration of a symbolic drug culture holiday since Colorado voters legalized the recreational use of pot.
A man and a woman were each shot in the leg and a youth was grazed by a bullet, but the wounds were not life-threatening, Denver police said on Twitter. Officers were looking for two suspects in the shootings, which occurred as the rally was winding down.

A man and a woman were each shot in the leg and a youth was grazed by a bullet, but the wounds were not life-threatening, Denver police said on Twitter. Officers were looking for two suspects in the shootings, which occurred as the rally was winding down.

“I heard five or six gunshots in quick succession,” said Cole Wagenknecht, 27, who attended the rally at a downtown park near the State Capitol. “That’s why I knew it wasn’t fireworks. Then everybody started to scatter and ran toward one end of the park.”

The rally was one of a number of marijuana-related activities, including classes on hashish making and cooking with cannabis, held in Colorado on April 20 – within the drug culture, “4/20” and “420” are synonymous with marijuana use.

The shootings came at a sensitive time for Colorado marijuana activists, who are closely watching proposals from state lawmakers on the rules that will govern the sale of small amounts of pot to people 21 and older. In November, voters in Colorado and Washington state became the first in the country to approve recreational use of marijuana read more…


DENVER (AP) — Gunfire erupted at a Denver park Saturday, injuring two people and sending tens of thousands gathered for an annual pot celebration fleeing the area, police said.

A crowd of marijuana smokers expected to swell to 80,000 had gathered at the park to mark the counterculture holiday known as 4/20 on the first celebration since Colorado and Washington made pot legal for recreational use. The shooting happened at about 5 p.m. and shortly after pot smokes shared hugs and joints in a mass 4:20 p.m. smoke-out.

Police spokesman Sonny Jackson confirmed two people had been shot and both were taken to a hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threating. The gunshots quickly dispelled the festive atmosphere, with police swarming the scene.

Witnesses said they heard three or more shots and crime tape was around the pavilion where the celebration was being held.

Aerial footage showed the massive crowd frantically running from the park.

A sizable police force on motorcycles and horses had been watching the celebration. But officers didn’t arrest people for smoking in public, which is still illegal.

Ian Bay, who was skateboarding through Civic Center Park when shots erupted, said he was listening to music on his headphones when he looked to his right and saw a swarm of hundreds of people running at him.

“I sort of panicked. I thought I was going through an anxiety thing because so many people were coming after me,” he said.

Before the shooting, reggae music filled the air, and so did the smell of marijuana, as celebrants gathered by mid-morning in the park just beside the state Capitol.

Authorities generally look the other way at public pot smoking here on April 20. Police said this week before the event that they were focused on crowd security in light of attacks that killed three at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

“We’re aware of the events in Boston,” said Denver police spokesman Aaron Kafer, who declined to give specifics about security measures being taken. “Our message to the public is that, if you see something, say something” read more…

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The Reserve Hotel Casino in Central City, Colorado keeps on getting better and better

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THE RESERVE in Central City, Colorado

The Reserve Hotel Casino
321 Gregory St
Central City, Colorado
(800) 924-6646

Originally published September, 22, 2012


>>> UPDATE April 11, 2013 < << The buffets have been replaced with off-the-menu ordering, although Friday thru Sunday the CAFE features a Lobster Buffet from 5:00pm until 10:00pm. Also, Ardore’s has undergone a name-change. The new name is, BISTRO 321 CHOPHOUSE. Visit the LasVegasBuffetClub’s Colorado Casino’s page on THE RESERVE at the bottom of this post. This information supersedes any of the following.

< <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Hotel/Casino THE RESERVE in Central City, Colorado, formerly Fortune Valley Hotel Casino, keeps on getting better and better, in fact it’s becoming a Gilpin County favorite.

The Reserve sent me another room comp + a voucher for a trifle-bit of gambling/food cash, I jumped at the opportunity.

This hotel (resplendent with it’s rock & roll theme, 60s-70s vintage rock-posters, signed R&R memorabilia including guitars, records and microphones – also, crazy motorcycles, including a replica of the Easy Rider “Captain America Bike,” a Go Cart with a V8 auto-engine, and a long-legged-blonde-Pamela Anderson-look-alike-cocktail-waitress) is becoming yet more attractive by expanding the hours of the “fine-dining” restaurant ARDORE to seven days (ARDORE used to only be open on the weekends,) and converting the buffet to a real all-you-can-eat buffet. These are two excellent changes that are helping fine-tune this roadhouse-get-a-way in the mountains.


Upon arriving, walking through the casino, we gave ARDORE the once over and decided to come back later in the evening to try out this restaurant since it was the first time we found it open (we usually go up during the week and ARDORE previously only opened weekends.) “Ardore, meaning passion in Italian is Reserve’s own gourmet restaurant, featuring steakhouse style dishes with an Italian and Tuscan flare.” After checking in, settling in to the room to have a cocktail and catch up on the news, we went over to the AMERISTAR on Richman to play with the small gaming “stipend” they sent me. I did all-right, coming close to acquiring enough points to get a free-buffet (20 out of 25 points,) however we were still set on trying out ARDORE so I cashed in, dead-even, and we drove back up the hill to Central City.

ARDORE is fronted by glass and bottles and bottles (500) of stacked wine from THE RESERVE’S owner Tom Celani’s, “Celani Family Vineyards.” On weekends the restaurant offers up-scale Tuscan-style fine dining and also does business as: ARDORE’S BISTRO every day from 11:30 am to 4:00 pm for Lunch and re-opens for Dinner Monday thru Thursday at 4:30 p.m. serving lighter meals including salads, bistro-appetizers, and entrees including: a 1/2 lb. Certified Angus Beef Burger “Served on our House Roll with Tomato, Lettuce & Onion, and choice of Fries or Chips 7.99, Topped with your choice of Bleu, Swiss, Cheddar or American Cheese 8.99,” Avocado Salmon (13.99,) Merlot Meatloaf (12.99,) a couple of pasta dishes including: Rock ‘n’ Rollin’ Bolognese – “House Made Bolognese of Marinara, Ground Beef, Celery, Carrot, Onion over Angel Hair Pasta 11.99” and more see the complete menu at THE RESERVE’S website.

Weekends, they jack up the dinner menu a notch – menu-choices as well as prices. For instance the weekend dinner-menu offers: among the ANTIPASTI – APPETIZERS: there’s CALAMARI “Fried Calamari above a creamy Red Pepper emulsion and Micro greens – 7.00,” and entrees such as: LAMB SHANK “Braised Lamb Shank, marinated and baked in our house Marinara served over Risotto Primavera,” as well as an ARDORE RIBEYE “12 oz. House Butchered Ribeye, Our Signature Zip sauce, Asiago cheese, Truffle Rosemary Potatoes and Sautéed Spinach,” each $21.00. There’s also a BOLOGNESE Pasta “House made Bolognese consisting of celery, onion, carrot, Marinara and ground beef over your choice of Fettuccini or Angel Hair 16.00.” View the complete weekend dinner-menu at ARDORE’S website.

Being a Cobb Salad guy I ordered, guess what, The Cobb Salad. It was beautifully presented in a cool, white, oval deep-dish/plate that was made in such a manner that it tilts at an angle to your face, you gotta see it. All of the ingredients were “right” (including Grilled Chicken, Bacon, Avocado, Tomatoes, Hard-Boiled Egg and Crumbled Blue Cheese,) fresh and artistically placed in neat little groupings around the plate over a bed of Romaine Lettuce. The salad is offered with “either a Side of Bleu Cheese or Balsamic Vinaigrette 9.99.” It’s one of the better Cobbs I’ve had. That includes the Cobb at the (long-gone) Stardust in Las Vegas as well as that tasty honey-mustard Cobb at BOOMTOWN before it became SILVERTON on Blue Diamond Road in South Las Vegas. Yea I know – I’m just a Western/Southwestern dude, I don’t travel much out of the West, haven’t found a need to… Can’t get enough of that desert. Regarding the salad dressing, I would prefer a creamier (less tart/vinegary) Bleu Cheese. ARDORE’S might be just the place to dine before the (Central City) Opera. If other food choices aren’t up to par, don’t blame me, remember I’ve only had the Cobb Salad, so far…

The Chefs Kitchen Buffet
The Chef's Kitchen Buffet

Regarding the little breakfast buffet ($3.99 or $1.99 with coupon) in The Chef’s Kitchen at THE RESERVE, it is now (to repeat) a true, all-you-can-eat buffet, and now one serves oneself at the buffet. Used to be that the buffeters’ plates were plated by a server behind the glass: they would ask you what you want and then you would have to point and say “some of this and some of that.” That’s over now, you load up your plate with exactly what you want and then come back for more – good move Reserve. Breakfast Buffet choices include: Western Scrambled Eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, pancakes, French Toast, fruit, bagels, sweet-rolls, cereals, biscuits and gravy, coffee and more. Orange juice and other drinks are extra. [This may be wrong, last time we went up Orange Juice was available in a dispenser next to the water dispenser.] This little Breakfast Buffet is my “hands-down” favorite in the area. It’s small-town intimate and though the food choices are minimal there’s enough for me. $1.99 with the coupon ain’t a bad price either.

There is also an all-you-can-eat, Lunch Buffet, (Monday – Friday) for $8.99 and a Champagne Brunch for $10.99 on Saturday and Sunday; and there’s a Dinner Buffet (7-days) for $16.99 in The Chef’s Kitchen. Call for hours and more buffet information.

If you’re an East-coast foodie/food-snob, you’ll find the buffet choices minimal. For the little mountain-town of Central City, they’re doing just fine, thank you. The restaurant experience is all-around, small-town friendly. The staff at the buffet are friendly, upbeat and helpful. The gracious, Debbi will make sure your visit to the buffet was satisfactory, at breakfast for sure. Perhaps she works other shifts as well.

Inside Market Street (the Reserve’s restaurant area,) besides the buffet line, there’s a coffee-bistro called Java Express “a little sandwich shop” that offers several Panini sandwiches for around $5.99. They also serve salads for about $4-bucks, beverages and Pizza slices ($1.99 or $.99 w/players card) and whole pies for $5.99 and $10.99, or Calzones $7.99. Beer is available here by the glass or pitcher. Take-out your order and head back to your room or have a seat at one of several, nearby tables.

Visit the LasVegasBuffetClub’s Colorado Casino’s page on THE RESERVE