By K. Strother

Everyone knows bikers love to hit the road, whether it’s escaping into Colorado’s magnificent mountains or exploring our beautiful back country roads. It’s what we love to do.

It may be a long ride or a short ride; some are planned, others improvised, stopping only when we get hungry. And yes… riding makes us hungry, even ‘hangry’ at times. But luckily there are numerous biker-friendly restaurants across our great state. According to Colorado Restaurant Association in 2020 there were approximately 11,800 eating and drinking locations in Colorado. And many of those restaurants not only welcome riders, but even tempt riders to stop in and indulge in their culinary creations.

Luring bikers with food specialties is not uncommon. For example, Denver’s Piper Inn is famous for wings, especially their classic Buffalo Wings. Bruce’s Bar and Restaurant in Severance is celebrated for its Rocky Mountain Oysters. Out east, Limon’s Oscars Bar and Grille serves up “movie themed” meals named after popular movies. The “Braveheart” or “Robin Hood” sandwich satisfies even the biggest, ‘baddest’ biker hunger.

Some biker-friendly restaurants have been around a long time, like Alibi’s Bar and Grill in Littleton opened in 1988, and the graffiti-covered, Buck Snort Saloon nestled by the Elk Creek in Pine, Colorado opened in the late 1800’s.

Others have been newly remodeled, like Dirty Dogs Roadhouse in Golden that added on a new patio and stage for live concerts. Crystola Roadhouse in Woodland Park not only is historic, opening in the late 1880’s, but recently renovated their restaurant.

Usually bikers have a favorite restaurant, a home base of sorts, but it was clear on the weekend of March 13-15th that the highly-anticipated, grand opening, of the newly remodeled Wide Open Saloon in Sedalia attracted bikers, locals, families, and people from all over Colorado. In fact, over 2,000 people listened to incredible live bands, gawked at the snow-covered foothills from the ‘epic rooftop lounge’, and enjoyed amazing food and drinks. This bar rocked all weekend!

Located perfectly at the intersection of Hwy 85 (Santa Fe) and Hwy 67, the Wide Open Saloon is almost 10,000 square feet — every space, the dance floor, every bar (there’s three), every booth, every outdoor firepit was specifically created to give us a place to escape the grind of the day.

Todd Hills, owner, mentioned several times, “I love providing a place where people can leave their troubles behind, even for a bit… park your outside world, outside! Come in and enjoy our atmosphere!”

Over the last year, there were stories circulating that describe Hills’ arduous journey of renovating and giving new life to the Saloon. However, the grand opening weekend was a huge success. Over 2,000 people. Happy bikers everywhere.  Of course, Hills and his devoted waitstaff learned a lot, even learned what to work on, but they were excited to keep the momentum going.

But no one knew that the next day, they would be closed, only offering take-out orders. Dam Covid-19.

Jump to March 25, 2020, only 10 days after the successful grand opening; Hills, Anton Barich, general manager, and staff were still doing everything they could to keep customers happy and their doors open, albeit only with take-out orders.

Following an executive order imposed by Governor Polis, they could only offer curbside take out. Coloradans must ‘stay in place’ until April 11th.

Wide Open Saloon is not alone. Restaurants across the state are dealing with the same order and closures.

Hills thinks the “worst is yet to come.”

But bikers and supporters across the state are already trying to help: Ordering take out. Buying gift cards. Voluntering.  Sharing encouraging messages on social media. It all helps.

Many restaurant owners suggest the best way to help is to order take out or buy gift cards.

Bikers are the most generous people around. Dig deep. Support biker-friendly restaurants. Make sure when our Governor lifts the ban on our state, our go to restaurants are not only open, but thriving.

And don’t forget the Wide Open Saloon is currently offering curbside take out Tuesday- Saturday from 11am-7pm. We may not get the stunning views right now or the live bands, but we can still get the amazing food and drinks!