I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Pueblo, Colorado.
Greetings from Pueblo, Colorado
N 38° 16.851’ W 104° 36.863’ Elev. 4634 ft.
When I showed up a Gray’s Coors Tavern it had not yet opened. Still, there were three cars in the parking lot with people waiting for it to open. When they unlocked the doors 20 minutes later there were about a dozen cars. By the time I left an hour or so later, the parking lot was completely full. And I understood why.
Gray’s Coors Tavern was recommended to me by my old friend Tony, one of the best Hammond B-3 bass kickers I’ve ever heard. I happened to’ve called him and, as soon as he learned I was in Pueblo, he said “Go to Coors Tavern. Get a Slopper. You won’t be disappointed.” I took his advice and, good gawd y’all, I was not disappointed.
Coors Tavern has been there since 1934 and, judging by the decor, it hasn’t changed much over the years. The story goes that sometime in the ’50s a regular customer came in one day and wanted a cheeseburger smothered in chili. But this is not the run-of-the-mill chili con carne dumped on a cheeseburger. It’s actually chili verde dumped over a cheeseburger. “At home,” he said, “we call this a Slopper.” And they’ve been selling ’em ever since. (The full story is in one of the pics.)
A Regular Slopper ($6.25) is two 1/4-to-1/3 lbs. hamburger patties, served open-faced on toasted buns and topped with a slice of cheese and, if you want, onions. It’s then bathed in a delicious green chili with nice chunks of chilies and pork; they also serve a red chili (chili colorado) Slopper as well. For another $1.25 they throw an order of fries on top.
I wasn’t all that hungry so I ordered a Half Slopper ($4.95) and it was awesome! In retrospect, I wish I would’ve gotten the Regular, just because it was so good. It’s served in a bowl, along with a bowl of packaged oyster crackers. I was confused by the crackers at first but quickly figured it they were to soak up all that great chili.
For those with a real appetite they also serve Double (four patties) and Triple (six patties) Sloppers for $7.25 and $8.50, respectively.
I was talking to a guy at the next table and the waitress brought him a beer in an ice-frosted goblet. “That looks good,” I said. “What is it?” Alaskan Amber, he replied. Alaskan Amber Ale is, hands down, the best amber ale produced in America as far as I’m concerned. That they serve it there is proof enough that this very funky place is very classy. The waitress said the goblet, which they call a schooner, holds a little over a pint and weighs a ton. I was glad I got a pretty nice picture of it.
In addition to the Sloppers Coors Tavern also serves a complete menu of American and Mexican foods. But, seriously, why would anyone order anything other than a Slopper?
Like I said, the place is really old and really funky and, thus, super bitchen. In addition to a slew of historical and sports photos on display, one of the curiosities is about 100 old baseball gloves hanging on the wall with names attached to them. I assumed they were the gloves of local baseball heroes. I asked the waitress if anyone had ever counted them and she didn’t know. She did explain, however, that the gloves are actually a fundraiser. People pay $25 a month to have a glove with their name on them hanging there, with all the proceeds going towards scholarships. I thought that was mighty sweet, not to mention a great idea.
I was kind of disappointed about one thing though: They have these really cool long sleeve shirts for $20. But they were out of the gray ones and only had black. I learned long ago never to wear a black shirt while driving because if the sun is on you for any length of time you’re going to bake. Bummer: No cool shirt for Wally.
Gray’s Coors Tavern is definitely a must visit if you’re in the neighborhood. If not for the Sloppers, just to feel the funky vibe of the place. But hey, get a Slopper. After all, when in “The Home of the Slopper” ….
And so we roll.
Gray’s Coors Tavern, Elizabeth & 4th Streets, Pueblo, Colorado
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.