The year was 1890, and the newly completed Boulder Train Depot opened as a passenger station for the Union Pacific Railroad. Constructed in a modified Romanesque revival-style of architecture, the building was taken out of commission in 1957 when the last train departed. The depot was relocated several times over the years to spare it from demolition, and in 2008, it finally found a home at 30th and Pearl streets, a future transportation hub for the city. With a new location and purpose, the former depot is now the Roadhouse Boulder Depot, one of Boulder’s most recent eateries offering a taste of the present with historical roots to the past.
Owned by the Shipp Brothers and operated by Roadhouse Hospitality Group, the newly renovated structure has retained many of its original interior and exterior elements. Two stone-arched doorways are a forgotten tradition of the past: one was an entrance for men and the other for women passengers.
Inside, railroad ties and repurposed wood are used for part of the paneling and design features. Take a second look at the taps; those pulls are actually made from old railroad spikes.
The food is not what you would expect from a casual restaurant. A common sentiment, in fact, is that customers are surprised by the quality of the food, which seems to have a gourmet touch. This shouldn’t be a surprise, however, since the ingredients are locally sourced and everything is made from scratch.
Start with one of a variety of wines, cocktails, or local brews. One of the popular appetizers is the Brussels sprouts with sweet and spicy sesame and goat cheese ($9). Brussels sprouts are hard to make right, and these are tender and tasty with just the right amount of dressing.
Another favorite are the atypical potato chip nachos made with homemade ranch chips topped with grilled chicken, Applewood bacon, mixed cheeses, pico de gallo, scallions, and Voodoo Aioli drizzle. A half order could feed four people ($9).
There are several choices for a good American hamburger such as the BMA with Colorado hormone-free beef, bacon-onion apple jam, Applewood bacon, and Brie on a brioche bun ($15). A dollar from every burger sold is donated to the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance.
Other specialties include short rib enchiladas with jalapeño white Cheddar ($17) and barbecue shrimp tacos with apple chipotle slaw ($16).
Save room for dessert — specifically the decadent chocolate mousse toffee cake with caramel, chocolate sauce, and fresh whipped cream ($7).
The Roadhouse Boulder Depot combines upscale food and great service with a taste of history. When you visit, be sure to check out all the hidden design surprises, including the collection of vintage photographs.
This was a sponsored visit; however, all opinions herein are the author’s. Click here for more on the Denver area’s eating and drinking scenes.