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.

About The Author

Tio Wally

Tio Wally is pilot emeritus of the 75-foot, 40-ton land yacht SS Me So Hungry. Now a committed landlubber, he reports on food wherever he is whenever his fancy strikes.

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10 Responses

    • tio wally

      I stopped at Johnson’s Corner the other day and they had Green Chili soup (a regular menu item). It was identical to the green chili on the Slopper. I was going to mention it to the waiter but thought, because the Slopper is unique to Coors Tavern, I wouldn’t tip them off and let them steal their steam. BTW: I had the roast beef dinner, which is actually post roast. It was great. And even though I got the “for light eaters” portion, I ended up with three meals.

      P.S. If you fix the “golves” typo in the 9th paragraph, I’ll send you something extra special.

  1. Obbop

    “which they call a schooner”

    At various bars in upper state New York (and possibly elsewhere with Gray’s Coors Tavern one of them… I wonder if somewhere along the line an ex-New York state resident was involved with Gray’s?) I noticed a “pitcher” of beer… a name I heard most often across the USA, was often labeled a “schooner.”

    I do not know if the term was used at high-falutin upper-crust bars, clubs, etc. bt in the blue-collat working man’s joints the schooner term was used.

    I found those New York bars (and the few I went into in New Jersey) had a different aura.

    Folks were friendlier than in the typical bar I went into here and there across the USA.

    Different vibes, unique ‘auras.’

    Different in a positive way.

    Out on Long Island near Riverhead I believe the town’s name was… it was a Friday and I had a Monday morning load to grab in Brooklyn.

    I droped the trailer behind a grocery store (with permission) and bobtailed off seeking whatever.

    Lo!!!! a biker-type bar with gals who danced and the poor over-exercised cuties got so hot they had to remove their clothing from the waist up!!!!

    As I sat there drinking my beer I noticed no presence of patrons seeking trouble and I am good at sensing such things.

    Awhile later a chap around my age sat down a couple seats away and commenced conversing.

    We finished our beer and he offered me dinner, at Mom’s house and he said his folks liked company.

    So I followed him in my tractor and him on his Harley.

    We pulled into an estate… 6-car garage, BIG house inside we went for dinner.

    I WAS welcomed and was shown “the wall.”

    Dad was a retired test pilot for Grumman Aircraft and had set several speed and altitude records back in the 1950s.

    He had several awards including pictures of receiving some from then-president Eisenhower who shook his hand while presenting the award.

    And the tales he told.

    It was too hot to sleep in the truck so they tossed a sheet on the couch and I slept in air-conditioned luxury.

    The next day they took me on a tour of the area; where I learned a bit about that area’s upper-crust, their exclusive country clubs, private beaches, etc.

    I was invited to stay for that day’s dinner but I declined, offered my sincere thanks, and went on my way.

    Another time may call for the dinner spent in a shack with a herd of kids present and the guy who was at the construction site where we unloaded my load.

    Dirt poor, maybe even poorer… but friendly and mighty-fine folks and the younguns’ took turns (along with the neighbor kidlets who flocked over, to get a short ride in the semi and take turns tooting the air-horn.

    I was the only white dude around but nobody cared and I had more in common with those dirt poor folks than the obviously wealthy ones on Long Island BUT… with each group, from what I could determine… it was behavior, not skin pigmentation level, that was the important thing…. something I ran into across the USA among the majority of folks I met BUT….

    There are folks who garner large amounts of wealth by “playing the race card” for their personal benefit and enough suckers to play that “game” to make it profitable.

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