103 W. Colorado Ave. in Telluride, 970/728-8884
In the heart of Telluride, only a few establishments evoke the days of Telluride’s rich mining history. With its classic mining town main street exterior, rustic Western bar and rich wood-paneled walls, the Floradora Saloon does just that. Inside, it’s easy to imagine an old prospector bellying up to the bar for a cold one after a day in the mine.
While this longstanding institution is keeps the charm of Telluride’s yesteryear in its ambiance, the food and drinks served are fresh, flavorful and with uncommon flair. It’s the only way owners Florie and Charlie Kane know how to do it.
If kicking off a meal, whether it’s lunch or dinner, where a unique mood enhancer is desired, look no further than the Floradora’s list of specialty infusions. Varieties include sweet tea infused vodka, horseradish infused vodka and roasted jalapeño infused tequila. A bloody Mary made with the horseradish vodka ($7) is just about right any time; so is the John Daly ($6), made with sweet tea vodka and lemonade. Or go with a mountain of flavor with the El Diente ($6.50), made with roasted jalapeño tequila, orange juice, pineapple and raspberry jam. Of course, there are plenty of beers on tap as well.
There are thousands of restaurants that claim to have a great burger and, sadly, most fall short of greatness. The burgers at the Floradora are an exception. After tasting just one of the many varieties served at the Floradora, it’s easy to see why they’re so popular. Each one is made with great attention to detail, and served on buns are baked fresh by Cindy Bread. The slightly sweet pickle slices are house-made. The hand-packed 6 oz. burger has just enough meat, but not too much. A variety of cheeses, depending on your taste, can be melted on top. All together, greatness is achieved.
Try Conlin’s burger ($10), with fried gruyere, caramelized onions, green chilies and rémoulade on focaccini. Or the BBB burger ($10), with a rich blackening spice, blue cheese, bacon and avocado. There are a total of eight burger variations on the menu. Besides the basic burger ($8), each one is different, and sure to satisfy.
There are plenty of other menu items served between buns worth mentioning, including the pulled pork sandwich ($10) made with prickly pear barbecue sauce and shoestring onions. It’s a mountain of food. The Floradora sandwich ($10) is piled high with roast beef, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, white cheddar and chipotle aioli.
If duck is your thing, the Floradora has you covered in more ways than you can quack. Duck egg rolls ($9) are an appetizer option. There’s a duck salad ($14.50), with blackened bananas, walnuts, spinach, cabbage and served with a peanut dressing. For dinner, try the barbecued duck tacos ($20) served with blue cheese sweet potato hash, mango salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. One server reported that it was his favorite dish on the menu, hands down. During lunch on a recent Friday, the duck French onion soup ($9) was comfortingly warm and covered with melted gruyere.
Other dinner items not to be passed over include the chimichurri rack of lamb ($27), the moody blue New York steak ($27), served with smoked blue cheese crumbles and blackening spices, and the paella ($28) served with crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, chicken, chorizo, and risotto in a classic saffron tomato broth.
After a day of prospecting out on your own – whether it’s powder on Chair 9, fresh air on the Jud Wiebe Trail or just some relaxation in the San Juan Mountains – the Floradora Saloon is the place to be..
WILD WEST WHISKEY: The Floradora Saloon offers an extensive whiskey menu. Various flights of whiskeys priced from $10 to $18 are available. Give it a shot.
KID FRIENDLY: While there’s plenty for adults at the Floradora, its kid friendly as well. Crayons and butcher paper will bring out the artist in them all at each table.
Lunch served weekdays from 11:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m.; Dinner served nightly at 5:30 p.m.