For a mountain town with a population under 1,000, Ridgway puts an emphasis on quality, local, and conscientious food that’s in touch with the seasons. “It’s about being excited about whatever you’re connected with at the time,” says Spencer Graves, owner and chef at Eatery 66.
Eatery 66 is probably the most visually-recognizable restaurant in Ridgway, housed in an Airstream trailer. The once-seasonal restaurant recently moved indoors, but don’t worry—the Airstream came along for the ride. It’s now part of the exterior décor.
Graves’ background is in fine dining, so he’s returning to those roots with his plating techniques. But the food—such as the fried chicken sandwich called ‘Me and My Uncle’—is still what he and his wife, Katie, would eat at home with their children.
This philosophy means that Eatery 66 relies on seasonal ingredients, working with what local farms are producing. This summer, expect more fresh food and lighter fare.
Whatever you choose off the menu, you’ll enjoy as if sitting in a friend’s quirky living room. The Graves didn’t want to lose the feel of the old eatery patio, so they brought that feel indoors into a surf-mountain lodge that combines their love of the coast with the San Juans.
Because of the Graves’ emphasis on family, Eatery 66 will close for all of April, reopening in May. But never fear, there are other great spots in Ridgway’s burgeoning foodie locale.
Burro Café takes the desire to support regional and small-scale producers beyond just food and drink offerings. In addition to featuring local artists on the walls, owner John Metcalf is also having the tables for his exterior seating made locally, in addition to most of the indoor seating.
The warm-toned space welcomes creative expression. Musicians often play for guests, and a nearby dance instructor hosts occasional tango nights on the impromptu dance floor. If the word “fun” comes to mind, that’s exactly what Metcalf intends for his space.
Of course, there’s still the edibles to consider. As a coffee and wine bar, Burro Café is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week to accommodate both kinds of connoisseurs. The main coffee supplier is Exotic Earth Coffee Roasters in Ridgway, and the breakfast and pastry treats—cinnamon rolls, carrot cake, breakfast burritos, yogurt and granola—hail from Indian Ridge Farm and Bakery in nearby Norwood.
In addition, Burro Café sports a hearty range of tapas—charcuterie plates with meats and cheeses, a wild-caught salmon plate, hummus plate, samosas, and ice cream for dessert.
If you are craving a full-kitchen experience, point yourself to Four Corners Café at Chipeta Solar Springs Resort. The new chef there, Chuy Ayvar, cultivates a diverse menu of American meals infused with coastal attitude. We recommend the chef’s empanadas with shrimp and pico de gallo, or the grilled wild salmon with Asian barbecue sauce. A range of salads and sushi rounds out the offerings.
Plus, Ayvar is known for his specialty cocktails. Some of these continue the adventurous spirit of the menu, such as the mountain mai tai and the pomegranate martini. As a bonus, there’s $5 Chef Chuy specialty cocktails (and half-price sushi) from 4-6 p.m.
From the local family hangout to the ultimate in fine dining, this burgeoning town has it going on. You’d be hard-pressed to sample every stop in a day. With places like Eatery 66, Burro Café, and Four Corners Café, Ridgway is becoming as worthy of a culinary vacation as any of its mountain town neighbors.