Eating Well In Pueblo, Colorado, Top 10 Local Restaurants
Located on the edge of Colorado‘s desert-like Eastern Plains, Pueblo’s restaurant scene is anything but barren. From hole-in-the-wall burger joints to various ethnic cuisines and dining spots discover the many tastes of Pueblo with our guide to its top 10 local food haunts.
Bingo Burger brings together the best of both worlds. On one hand, Bingo Burger boasts some of Colorado’s most mouth-watering handcrafted burgers, served alongside a refreshing beer or an explosively flavoursome milkshake. On the other hand, Bingo Burger takes the rare step towards sourcing organically and locally, combining fresh ingredients with a made to order ‘fast food’ format, which means that customers can feel great about themselves while indulging in burger heaven. As if a solid, fresh burger was not enough, Bingo serves up a number of unique burger specials, from the lamb burger dripping with goat’s cheese and rosemary aioli, to the ‘peppersauce bottoms’ smothered in Thai peanut sauce and caramelised onions.
Offering an alternative both to the meat-heavy tendencies of Pueblo joints and mainstream culture, the Daily Grind Café pays homage to the tradition of cafés as hubs of counterculture and the arts scene. The Daily Grind Café played an important role in sponsoring Pueblo’s now thriving Riverwalk, and even contributed their roasting expertise to the Hoag Rawlings Public Library for a number of years, making it the first coffee shop to do so in a public library. In addition to French press, drip brews, espresso and teas, the Daily Grind also offers a range of meal-size dishes from their ‘SubCulture Deli’, spanning various and sometimes vegan iterations of breakfast burritos to pancakes and French toast.
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If there is one dish that encapsulates the culture and lifestyle of the rugged, rural Colorado plains, it is steak. Succulent, savoury, flavoursome and filling are key words at DJ’s Steakhouse, perhaps one of Pueblo’s premier locations to indulge in a cowboy’s choice cut. A welcome alternative to the chain restaurants populating the length of the highway, DJ’s is undeniably a local institution with a patina of authenticity. Diners rave over the filet mignon and prime-rib cuts, and marvel over the fresh loaf of bread brought to the table as an appetiser, with a choice of regular or cinnamon-infused butter. Vegetarians ought to look elsewhere.
For a solid taste of America’s far-flung Italian immigrant community, Gagliano’s Italian Market is both exotic, with its choice Sicilian imports, and quintessentially local, even boasting a hundred-year-old cash register. Serving Pueblo citizens since 1921, notably the city’s early steelworkers, Gagliano’s breathes history in Pueblo’s historically blue-collar neighbourhood. In addition to savoury import items and homemade sweet treats, Gagliano’s serves up mean and hearty sandwiches to go.
Gray’s Coors Tavern is not for the faint of heart, nor for the snobby eater. Gray’s is first and foremost for locals, and their menu of chilli-soaked burgers is an extension of local culture. Besides famous sloppers, which are available with red or green chilli sauce, Gray’s serves up mean fries and other fare, like tacos and sandwiches. Ice-cold brews are available to wash down Gray’s decadent bar nourishment. Despite the tavern’s fame from a feature on the Food Channel, patrons can be assured that Gray’s will always remain Pueblo’s dive bar with darn good food.
Pass Key 50 West Restaurant is unmistakably a Pueblo tradition. Started as a modest drive-in-style restaurant in 1952, Pass Key gradually grew over generations, with children of the restaurant’s staff sometimes taking up the mantle of waiters or cooks. As a highway restaurant, Pass Key initially only had a few areas inside the building for customers to sit, while most diners enjoyed their meals in the comfort of their own car, brought to them by a ‘car hop’. 60 years later, Pass Key has expanded to a larger space with indoor seating for customers, although the taste of the famous homemade Italian sausage sandwich remains the same. Alongside famous sandwiches, Pass Key serves Pueblo’s best pasta and homemade meatballs, green chile, onion rings, and a whopping 21-item salad bar. As in the old days, Pass Key still gives travellers a great reason to pull off the highway.
Pho 50 is an oasis of that delicious Southeast Asian broth loaded with fresh vegetables, noodles and a choice of meats, seafood or even tofu. The venue is a welcome alternative to sloppy burgers, instead expanding the flavour of finely prepared meat into a personal cauldron of savoury and sweet. In addition to the namesake brothy soup, Pho 50 offers the Vietnamese and French baguette lovechild known as banh mi, as well as lo mein and even boba tea.
Rojas Restaurante Mexicano is a pillar of Tex-Mex-style cuisine with no restraint when it comes to cheese, chile smothering, or refried beans. From breakfast to lunch and dinner, Rojas serves up family-style recipes typical of the American southwest, from chile rellenos and carne asada to fish tacos and steak fajitas. Portions are generous, complimentary tortilla chips are homemade, and it is certain that no diner will leave the premises still hungry. Alongside chunky guacamole loaded with onions, Rojas also boasts a salsa bar with spicy dips ranging in degrees of hotness and spiciness, from pico de gallo to tomatillo green.
Looks like it's closedHours or services may be impacted due to Covid-19
Just a stone’s throw from the Convention Center, in the heart of Pueblo, Shamrock Brewing Company offers a different angle on culinary heritage in southern Colorado, with a long tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrock Brewing Company’s current grounds housed one of the first bicycle shops west of the Mississippi River at the turn of the 20th century, later evolving into the Shamrock Café in the 1940s. As time passed, the café morphed into a pub, which then added its own brewery component. Thanks to a recent meticulous renovation of the historic pub, the mahogany bar top, tiled bar floor and the building’s original hundred-year-old wood floor have been beautifully preserved. Shamrock’s menu reflects an eclectic selection of local eats and fare from across the Atlantic, with the famous varieties of boxty (Irish potato pancakes) competing with Angus burgers and jumbo wings.
Mr Tandoori aptly claims that it is ‘something different’ amidst the restaurant scene in Pueblo. Offering a much welcome alternative to typically American-style fare, Mr Tandoori feeds Pueblo’s taste for the exotic with attentively prepared, home-style Indian cooking. With an extensive menu of tandoori specialties, kormas, mughlais, curries, sagas, kashmiri, vindaloos, masalas and ‘Bollywood’ biryanis, Mr Tandoori covers all of the bases of Indian cuisine. For those bewildered by the astonishing number of choices, Mr Tandoori’s famous ten-dollar lunch buffet is both a bargain and a fantastic way to dive into the rich and diverse world of cuisine from the subcontinent.