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There’s something quintessentially Colorado about discovering a little-known bar with a killer burger, perfectly fried Rocky Mountain oysters, and all-you-can-eat Friday fish fry that attracts people from two small towns far away.
Local farm owners have called the Parshall Inn, or PI, a great place to be on the edge of nowhere since 1950. Parshall’s roadside roost (population 38) is on the lone strip of Interstate 40 near the sulfur hot springs between Granby and Kremmling , attracts tough regular players and curious passersby with its dive restaurants, live summer music, billiards and shuffleboard.
Whip in a lot of dirt after the hopeful sign proclaiming “Willie Nelson eats at PI for free,” and scurry around next to Colorado Parks and Wildlife trucks and dusty farm trucks. The swivel chairs and wood floors are well rickety, and there’s likely to be a regular sip of Budweiser bottles in the middle of the day while Winona Judd plays overhead. Like any country pub worthy of its jukebox quarters reputation, the entire bar will wrap around the sound of the door to see if they know you. He smiled and slid inside – they are a friendly group in the principal investigator
Take the top of a small-pattern-lined spruce Western bar while the waitress cracks open a can of Coke or pours one of four Colorado beverages into the tap. Branded pine and rainbow trout walls and lasso decor add to the homey vibe as time slows down enough to warrant an afternoon playing Big Buck Hunter. If you’re with your pup, he can walk to the side yard where the local dogs hang out.
The menu is varied with no-frills comfort foods like fried zucchini bayonets ($7) and bean and cheese burritos ($8) dipped in green chile pork. Beginners should try PI’s flagship burger ($10) made of juicy, unfrozen beef topped with creamy Boursin cheese, grilled jalapeño strips, and pepper-marinated bacon. The bread is lightly buttered and grilled, and the burgers are served in a simple basket lined with red paper with pickled slices and white onions. Choose the hand-sliced fries or pay extra for the hand-sliced fries ($2) on the side.
Second on the list of essentials is Rueben ($12), with its slow-cooked corned beef, melted Swiss, Thousand Island sauce, and refreshing sauerkraut on grilled rye. The list says it all: “The Rueben: If you don’t hear, ask someone.”
On your way to the Hot Sulfur Springs soak or after Grand County fishing and foliage shots, pop out of PI for the charm of high country pubs. If you’re lucky, it’s prime rib night, and the locals of Parshall will share hunting tales with you on their horseshoes outside.
146 First Street, Parshall