When you grow weary from the din of Front Range city life, head west to the foothills hamlet of Morrison, the fastest getaway destination from Denver. Nestled in the foothills less than 30 minutes from downtown, this historic railroad town is close enough to grab a bite for dinner, but so laid-back you’ll be tempted to stay for the whole weekend.
In between eating excursions, Morrison can fill your day with dozens of recreation options, like hiking along the Bear Creek multi-use path, a multitude of special events and outdoor recreation in and around the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater, and a festive downtown area with charming, independently-owned stores. Whichever activity you choose, you’ll never be far from satisfying your hunger at the town’s many eateries that offer an abundance of cuisines, ambiances and prices.
Early Morning Eats
The Blue Cow Eatery
Morrison features a modest selection of breakfast restaurants, which might be the reason why early morning diners should be prepared to wait for their grub no matter which diner they choose. However, the wait is always worthwhile if you want to enjoy the hearty home cooking at Morrison’s family-owned breakfast restaurants such as The Blue Cow Eatery.
For over 20 years, the Blue Cow Eatery has consistently served up one of the best breakfast deals in downtown Morrison. Every morning until 11am on weekdays and noon on weekends, owners Pam and Charlie Nathan serve up classic AM entrees that include everything from cowboy-style biscuits and gravy to a green chile burrito with a Mexican flair. A tranquil outdoor patio overlooking Bear Creek gives the Blue Cow a laid back vibe that’s one of many reasons why regulars keep coming back for more.
Casual Dining Choices in Morrison
The Holiday Bar and Mill Street Deli
One of Morrison’s most well-known outdoor recreation areas is the Bear Creek Recreation trail, a multi-use path connecting downtown Denver with the foothills surrounding Morrison. Ambitious users can leave Denver in the morning and be in Morrison in time for a hearty lunch or early dinner break at any of Morrison’s casual lunch and dinner restaurants, such as The Holiday Bar and Mill Street Deli.
Refill your tank at Morrison’s quirky Holiday Bar and grab casual lunch fare at the adjoining Mill Street Deli. Renowned for its affordably-priced meaty pub food including cheese steak sandwiches and submarine sandwiches, patrons of the Mill Street Deli have a choice of eating in the lively bar (known throughout Morrison as “The Local Cure”), or relaxing next door in a mellow, non-alcoholic deli where the food is made.
Should you decide to stay for the bar’s nightly live music starting at 9pm, rest assured it won’t empty your wallet; there’s never a cover charge to catch local talent at the Holiday Bar.
So you hiked in from Denver and now you’re ready for a caloric bender? Just take a few more steps over to Willy’s Wings, a well-loved fried food diner serving legendary wings since 1992. Willy’s deep fried delectables range from a variety of boneless or traditional Buffalo-style wings slathered in zesty sauces like spicy BBQ, to fried catfish, fries and chicken strips. Diners with the most robust gastronomic cravings can conclude their fried foods debauchery with a serving of deep fried cheesecake, carnival-style funnel cake or apple turnover.
Historic Morrison Inn
Morrison’s colorful history as an 1800s railroad town is reflected in a colorful collection of well-preserved buildings lining the commercial district. Many of the community’s most popular businesses give modern patrons a glimpse of the past, including the Historic Morrison Inn.
As one of Morrison’s favorite watering holes for over 20 years, this lively bar and restaurant seems to be everyone’s favorite destination to kick off a concert event at Red Rocks or to party with friends over famously giant margaritas. If the size of Morrison’s infamously oversized house margaritas makes you tipsy, soak up the tequila with the Inn’s extensive menu of tasty Mexican cuisine. But get there early if you’re hungry; diners can usually expect to wait, especially if an event is being held that day. For your extra special events, the Inn can create a memorable affair with a customized buffet menu and private party room.
Upscale and Offbeat Dining in Morrison
Flights Wine and Coffee
When you’re in the mood for a quiet, adults-only night on the town, the relaxed atmosphere at Flights Wine and Coffee cafe is a first-class choice. Owners Donn and Marcia Bruns happily share their extensive knowledge of wine with enthusiastic patrons who say the couple makes everyone feel like valued guests, not just customers.
Situated in yet another one of Morrison’s restored, historic cottages with a cozy, all-season outdoor patio that invites guests to make themselves at home, the Bruns’ wine cafe showcases wines by the glass, bottle, or wine flight samplings, as well as light cuisine including tapas, antipasti, cheeses and flatbreads.
Flights also showcase special events throughout the year, including prix-fixé romantic dinners and wine seminars with tastings and food pairings.
Old-world European charm came to stay in Morrison when Cafe Prague opened its doors in 2005. This white linen, fine dining restaurant has since remained one of the town’s most elegant choices for upscale cuisine and ambiance. The cafe’s inviting, rustic interior with overstuffed leather seating and glowing fireplace ambiance welcomes patrons to take a leisurely trip to the Continent where a large selection of European beers on tap and over two dozen wines are waiting to welcome visitors.
Kick off your culinary adventure with classic European appetizers including French onion soup and escargot, then hop on over to time-honored hearty favorites including roast pork with sauerkraut, Hungarian beef goulash and Bohemian-style roast duck. While vegetarians can be accommodated with a plate of pasta Alfredo or fish entrees from the restaurant’s Continental menu, the majority of Cafe Prague’s meat-centric menu choices are definitely geared toward the serious carnivore who isn’t counting calories.
If You Go
The Blue Cow Eatery
316 Bear Creek Ave.
Open Monday – Saturday, 7am – 4pm, Sunday 8am – 4pm. http://www.bluecoweatery.com
Mill Street Deli / Holiday Bar
401 Bear Creek Ave.
Opens every day at 11am. Closes 10pm weekdays, Midnight on weekends. http://www.morrisonholidaybar.com
109 Bear Creek Ave.
Opens every day at 11am. Closes 8pm Saturday, 7pm Sunday. http://willyswings.com
The Morrison Inn
301 Bear Creek Ave.
Opens every day at 11am. Closes 10pm Sunday through Thursday, 11pm Friday and Saturday.
Flights Wine and Coffee
116 Stone Street
Open Tuesday – Thursday, 4 – 9pm; Friday, 4 – 11pm; Saturday, 1 – 11pm; Sunday 1 – 9pm. http://www.flightswineandcoffee.com
209 Bear Creek Ave.
Open Wednesday – Sunday, 5 – 9pm. http://thecafeprague.com/main.htm
Rene Agredano enjoys sharing travel tips about Colorado – her favorite state in the U.S. – when she’s not at her mountaintop cabin retreat in Red Feather Lakes, she’s RVing around America writing from the road.