Nibbles: Culinary roadside attractions along Colorado’s Jerky Trail

Like a salmon drawn inexorably toward his home river, I’ve made the trek to Telluride nearly every June for the past 30 years. I go there to absorb four days and nights of live music and write about it, but the drive southwest through Colorado’s mountains has always been about food.

In the early days before the turn of the century, there were precious few places to eat on the route I always take from the metro area down US 285 to US 50 and on up to Telluride. The past decade especially has seen the opening a bevy of restaurants, jerky joints, cool cafes, barbecue joints, bakeries, wineries, brewpubs and farmers’ stands.

As you travel the state of Colorado this summer, snap a cool photo of your favorite culinary roadside attractions and send it to me at I’ll publish them in upcoming editions of Colorado Table.

To view our gallery of Colorado culinary attractions, click on the photos below. Photos courtesy of Hans Lehndorff and Robert Nathan.


You can't eat everywhere that looks interesting and smells even better. I'll visit Lee's Filling Station in Gunnison on my next trip.


The Russell Stover Candy factory outlet store in Montrose is an acre of bargain priced candy from the season's past including last Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, above, Valentine's Day and Easter. One wanders the room buzzed on the pervasive deep chocolate aroma. This is not a good place to visit on a diet.


The famous Coney Island hot dog stand is tucked away in Bailey after a move from Conifer a few years back. I appreciated a fine foot long dog Rockie-style with sauteed onions, multi-colored bell peppers, saurkraut and American cheese.


Joy is finding fresh juicy Colorado apricots at a roadside stand run by a couple of kids in Gunnison.


I find the highest homemade fudge in America. I enjoyed a small chunk of soft, real maple walnut fudge in the store at Monarch Pass.


Kate's Place is a true brunch gem tucked off the main drag in Ridgeway. I loved the homemade corned beef hash with eggs over easy, English muffins with raspberry jam, a side of cheesy grits and good coffee.


It wasn't open when I drove by Al's Pits in Bailey but now I know where to get gator jerky when I need it.


The barbecue is good and the homemade five fruit pie was great at 5B's BBQ in Gunnison.


The food court at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival includes Johnny Cash's favorite corndogs, "killer" flank steak and an array of quite good, non-carnival fare. My favorite this year was a spicy grilled chicken sandwich made with Colorado's Red Bird chicken and served by chef students from Johnson & Wales University.