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