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The Shaggy Sheep is an ideal post-skiing respite. Photo by Lisa Blake

Road-Trip Restaurant: The Shaggy Sheep

Seek out this roadside cookhouse in Grant for a dose of Colorado comfort food.

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I’ve passed the Shaggy Sheep’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cabin—with its chipped green paint and humble wooden sign—dozens of times on the drive from Breckenridge to Denver. The traffic flow along that stretch of Highway 285 moves at a clip, inevitably dissuading me from attempting the thorny, cross-traffic turn into its gravel parking lot.

On a recent trip, however, I plugged the three-year-old restaurant’s address into my GPS, determined to see (and taste) what lay inside. I came down the snow-dusted pass and into Grant—population 200-something—hand-scrawled signs for ice and firewood flickering by, and tapped my brakes. I made the gutsy turn, secured a space next to three other cars, and moseyed inside.

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The pine walls, wood-burning stoves, antique ski memorabilia, and cheerful servers instantly made me feel welcome. After perusing the slim menu, I landed on a cup of the house-made green chile ($3) and the cheeseburger ($10).

The Shaggy Sheep
The Shaggy Sheep’s loaded burger. Photo by Lisa Blake

The latter, which required two hands to eat, came stacked with lettuce, tomato, cheddar, and a dose of special “shaggy” sauce on tender brioche; the sauce added thousand-island zing with hints of ketchup, lemon, and pickles. Hand-cut fries were tender as mashed potatoes within but with perfectly crispy exteriors thanks to par-cooking on the grill before their dip in the fryer.

The vegetarian green chile, however, was the showstopper. It featured chunks of Anaheim and jalapeño and roasted Hatch chiles, and packed a scorching heat offset by cumin, garlic, and tomato. I ordered mine with shredded Colby Jack cheese on top and found myself in winter warm-up heaven—so much so that I snagged a Mason jar of the chile ($8) to go.

The next time you’re buzzing through Grant, legs shot after a long day on the slopes, consider stopping by the Shaggy Sheep on your way home. Owners Sarah and Chris Howe, former Denverites themselves, recently revamped its winter hours (11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday) in hopes of attracting the après crowd. The turn-in might be sketchy, but the cozy fare is well worth the hassle.

50455 U.S. Highway 285, Grant, 719-836-8845

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