Durango Eats: Where to Find Good Grub and Suds
When most people think of Colorado, they think of the large cities along the Front Range, the snow capped Rocky Mountains, and the never ending outdoors adventures throughout the state. However, Colorado is also home to some of the best culinary and craft beer makers in the country. And, some of the best food in Colorado can be found in Durango.
Just south of the San Juan Mountains of Colorado’s southwestern corner, you’ll find the town of Durango; a foodie’s paradise in the Four Corners region. Some of the state’s oldest breweries and award-winning cuisine establishments are based here, many of which work closely with the local agriculture industry and surrounding community to bring the best of the Durango area from farm to table (or pint glass) in their own unique way.
While attending the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally I managed to stop in to quite a few restaurants around town. Not sure where to start looking for food when you’re in the area? Check out these five restaurants in Durango. Each has their own style and bargain behind them, making this the perfect list if you want to get a feel for all things Durango.
1. Carver Brewing Company
(1022 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301) If you’re all about a business that supports its community, Carver Brewing Company is the place for you. Established in 1988, Carvers became the first brewery in the Four Corners region since prohibition. Since then, it’s become quite the staple in the Durango community. Not only does the brewery practice what they preach when it comes to being as environmentally friendly as possible, they also focus heavily on their farm-to-table operations, allowing them to support their community through job opportunities, healthy living, and more.
Let’s talk more about the food, though. When the locals tell you that “Carver’s” has the best breakfast in town, you should probably take that into consideration. There’s no shortage of culinary talent on any dish that you’ll have at Carvers. The portions are not only hefty, but the food is also prepared with quality in mind. If you stop in for Breakfast, check out the hearty Biscuit Bowl or the California Benedict.
If none of this convinced you that Carvers is worth your while, I personally ate here five days in a row while I was in Durango. There wasn’t a bad thing on the menu that I tried, including the root beer float.
2. The Durango Diner
(957 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301) Looking for a place that has a low key and “classic” atmosphere for breakfast? Not much has changed at the iconic Durango Diner since they opened their doors in 1965. Head over to the Diner and grab a seat at the countertop or one of the handful of tables near the front window.
The Diner still serves up made from scratch, no frills breakfasts every day with homemade green chile and red salsas that have made them famous over the years. You can even take a jar home with you or find it in grocery stores around town. Try one of their giant pancakes (seriously, they’re HUGE), or The Cure: a grated potato concoction with your choice of toppings. It’ll surely make you feel a tad bit better if you partied the night beforehand. This food isn’t going to look or taste fancy, but who goes to a diner and expects that, anyways?
3. 11th Street Station
(1101 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301) Is your group indecisive about what kind of food they want to eat? 11th Street Station sits right off of downtown Durango’s Main Avenue, with a variety of cuisines to choose from. From Pizza, Thai, and Authentic Street Tacos, there’s something for everyone at this eclectic food truck emporium.
Patio and outdoor seating is abundant, not to mention Ernie’s full service bar that serves up craft cocktails on tap from a classic 50’s Chevy, paying tribute to the eatery’s past of auto repair and numerous fuel stations that served Durango since the 1920s. Honorable food mentions: Cuevas Tacos and Quesadilla, or any Fire Roasted Pizza from the Box
4. Ska Brewing
(225 Girard St, Durango, CO 81303) As a punk rock fan, Ska Brewery has always appealed to me beyond the tasty beers they brew, due to their collaboration, involvement, and passion for the music industry. For 2019, they released a few Rancid collab brews, so it was a mandatory stop-in for me while in Durango.
The brewery had live music playing outside, and inside the taproom there was a wall of ice cold beer taps to choose from. Naturally, I had a few pints of the Brewstomper, one of the Rancid collab beers. Hungry? The Container of Food is a walk-up eatery attached to the taproom that serves up made from scratch pizzas and other health-focused fare. And, like many other Durango eateries, Ska focuses on sustainability and supporting their local agriculture industry by sourcing as many ingredients as possible from nearby farms. Not into drinking? They’ve got complimentary Skagua—their very own punk rock seltzer water—on tap. Grab a cup and enjoi oi oi!
5. Steamworks Brewing Company
(801 E 2nd Ave, Durango, CO 81301) Tucked a block off of Durango’s Main Street, you’ll find Steamworks Brewing Company. If you love craft beer and diverse food menus, this is the place for you.
Don’t take that lightly, either. They’re serious about their suds and their snacks. Steamworks has won nearly two dozen craft beer awards, and keeps at least 18 different fresh brewed beers in rotation in their taproom. They also have one of the most diverse food menus in Durango, ranging from cajun seafood boils, southwestern inspired dishes, steak, salad, and more. To put it simply: everything on their menu is far from basic or low quality. In fact, even if you don’t drink, the food alone is worth stopping in for a visit. This is my favorite spot in Durango to grab a pint and a bite to eat in the afternoon. With a packed house every time I’ve stopped in, I’d say my feelings are mutual with locals and tourists alike.
Whether you’re flying solo or rolling in with a group, I’d also recommend their “Dirty Fries” for an appetizer. The Caramel Apple “Spent Grain” Skillet Cookie is a must-have item on their menu. It’s so huge, you’ll need a friend or three to share it with, unless you plan to have it as your entire meal…which I have done…more than once…in one week.
Bon Appetit, amigos!