You can’t miss Lyons Fork when strolling through downtown Lyons, Colorado. The old-timey building, once home to historic McAllister Saloon, lures visitors with its cute exterior, but don’t be fooled. This restaurant is no tourist trap.
Wayne and Debbie Anderson reopened this historic café, formerly known as Cilantro Mary’s, in 2010. The couple didn’t overhaul the look of the Southwestern eatery, but a peek at the new menu reveals the new business is anything but old school.
Lyons Fork’s chef-driven menu brings big city flavor to this tiny mountain town, with a terrific drink list to match.
Executive Chef Ian Rubenoff stocks the Lyons Fork kitchen with seasonal veggies, simple ingredients and local cheeses. Rubenoff’s inspiration draws from food cultures from all over the globe.
Rubenoff loves using ultra-fresh ingredients like heirloom tomatoes from his garden still warm from the sun, root vegetables and exotic greens from nearby Lyons Farmette, and Colorado favorite Haystack Mountain goat cheese from Longmont.
Ahi tuna ceviche tacos impress with crispy wonton taco shells stuffed with lime juice and chili-spiked raw ahi tuna and pickled shallot, bolstered with a brilliant green salad of shredded jicama in cilantro oil, a crunchy condiment for the meaty tacos.
Honorable mention goes to the crunchy fried chicken with fragrant corn pudding and the made-from-scratch chocolate mole sauce. Vegetarians will feel taken care of bellied up to a dish of Haystack goat cheese gnocchi. These soft pillows of chevre pasta are served with wild mushrooms, gently cooked baby carrots, tiny heads of young bok choy and delicate sweet carrot butter.
Here’s a tip when eating at Lyons Fork: When the Andersons recommend a beer pairing with a dish at their restaurant, buy the beer. Wayne and Debbie met working in the craft beer industry, and they really know their suds.
With the ceviche tacos Debbie recommended the Avery White Rascal, a handcrafted Belgian-style wheat ale from Avery Brewing Company in Boulder. Avery adds coriander and Curacao orange peel to this unfiltered beer, and its light fruity character is a delicious match with ceviche.
Lyons Fork hosts beer pairing dinners throughout the year to show off the talents of its chefs in the kitchen and of local beer makers like Lefthand Brewing Company in Longmont.
If beers aren’t your thing, check out the wine list full of new world styles from Chile, Argentina, Australia and California or cool off with a margarita sweetened with agave nectar and shaken with house made sour mix made with fresh-squeezed citrus juice.
Good things are in store for this high-altitude beer cafe if they continue to use fresh ingredients and fresh ideas.
If You Go
450 Main St.
Lyons, Colorado 80540
Check out this season’s menu, upcoming pairing events and info on live music on Sunday nights at lyonsfork.com.