153 Hwy. 550 North in Ridgway, 970/626-4426
Located at one of the region’s major crossroads, where Hwy. 550 and Hwy. 62 meet in Ridgway, it would be easy for a traveler to simply pass by the Cimarron Café enroute to or from Ouray, Montrose, Telluride or Norwood. But only if that traveler doesn’t know what’s inside.
First, the restaurant and bar is spacious, clean, and comforting…and full of TVs. Yes, during football season you can find your favorite NFL teams playing on Sunday at the Cimarron Café with NFL Sunday Ticket – it’s an asset that can be hard to find in rural Colorado.
Nothing goes better with a game (even during basketball or baseball seasons) than the traditional accoutrements: a cold beer and an order traditional Buffalo wings served with ranch or blue cheese (six wings, $6; 12 wings, $11). Other appetizers include smoked salmon with house made tarragon caper mayo ($12), panko crusted onion rings with chipotle pepper sauce ($6) and homemade potato chips topped with blue cheese ($6.50). Somehow the freshly fried potato chips stay crunchy underneath the rich, palate-puckering blue cheese drizzle.
On both its lunch and dinner menus, the Cimarron Café offers plenty of dishes for those who don’t often venture out of the comfort-food zone. There’s a corned beef Rueben sandwich served on grilled rye with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing ($9.50); a B.L.T served with peppercorn mayo ($9) and beer battered catfish ‘n’ chips served with slaw and green chili tartar sauce ($12). On one particular Monday, the special of the day was a meatloaf sandwich on grilled sourdough and topped with cheese and mushrooms.
Like the green chili tartar sauce, you’ll find other Southwestern flavors spicing up traditional favorites like the hot ham and Swiss sandwich served on sourdough with diced green chilies and ancho aioli ($11). The chicken breast sandwich is fried golden brown and topped with chipotle pepper sauce ($10).
For dinner there’s a tortilla encrusted fresh salmon served on top of a spicy tomato and chipotle sauce ($21) and Colorado raised lamb loin chops that rest in a jalapeno mint demi-glace ($28).
Other filling dinner items include a Southwest penne that’s tossed with red onion, roasted corn and shrimp or grilled chicken in a creamy jalapeno pepper sauce ($15); hand breaded chicken fried steak smothered in creamy gravy ($17) and a filet au poivre topped with creamy brandy sauce ($29).
If a great burger is what you crave, keeping with the Southwestern vibe of the restaurant is easy when you top it with green chilies and cheddar cheese. Build-your-own burgers are available in 1/3-pound ($7.50) and 1/2-pound ($9) sizes. Toppings start at $1.
In a time where fries can be served coated with a weird texture or they are just too complicated, Cimarron Café’s fresh cut fries deserve a mention. They are fresh cut. They are simple and crispy. They are real.
There are plenty of specials and special nights at this café. You can start the week off on Monday with $5 burger night. (Yes, they are served with those fries). Wednesday is fiesta taco night with $2 tacos, $2 shots and $2.50 beers. Thursday night is date night where a four-course meal for two, plus wine, is served for just $60. Saturday night is prime rib night with 10-oz. cuts ($24) and 14-oz. cuts ($28). Sunday is brunch day, with traditional brunch items – like prime rib, steak and eggs, eggs benedict and smoked salmon – served starting at 9 a.m. .
Those who venture inside the Cimarron Café will soon find themselves at the center of a culinary crossroads. There’s plenty to choose from and they all lead in the right direction.
BREAKFAST: Depending on the season, Cimarron Café serves breakfast. Call ahead to see if breakfast is on.
HAPPY HOUR: You can unwind at the Cimarron Café daily, from 4:30-6 p.m., with half-price well drinks and a $1 off draft beers.
Open Wednesday-Monday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. (bar open until 10 p.m.)