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The Zen burger at Cooper’s on the Creek. Photo by Lisa Blake

Road-Trip Restaurant: Cooper’s on the Creek

Dip off I-70 into Georgetown for casual stream-side mountain dining at its best.

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Despite the fact that I travel I-70 so frequently, I’d unwittingly overlooked Georgetown as a pit stop. Until recently, that is, when friends and I were starving after a nearby hike and Cooper’s On The Creek popped up in a Google search.

We found the two-year-old eatery conveniently located just off the town’s main roundabout. Two girlfriends and I snagged a table on the sunny, dog-friendly, stream-side deck (outfitted with heat lamps for chillier evenings) and settled in to the lull of the winter snowmelt picking up speed in the boulder-lined creek below.

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Ryan and Amanda Cooper’s creative scratch menu sated our ravenous bellies. We opted for shareables from the “pub fare” menu, including gravy-soused duck poutine ($10), blistered shishito peppers with sea salt and black garlic aïoli ($8), and gently charred, citrus-chile-glazed Brussels sprouts ($6). (Stop by for happy hour, from 3 to 6 p.m. daily, and you can score 25 percent off all of the dishes on the “pub fare” menu.) After mulling over the five Moscow mule variations on the menu, I landed on the Bad Hombre ($10), a peppy concoction of Montelobos mezcal, Meyer lemon-jalapeño jam, muddled fresh jalapeño, and house-made sour mix.

The bulls-eye on the food menus is the Zen Burger ($15): Like all of Cooper’s burgers, it features an eight-ounce blend of chuck, tenderloin, and rib-eye, ground in-house and seasoned with roasted garlic and diced shallots. This rave-worthy burger is a beautifully messy affair, topped with caramelized onions, goat cheese, the aforementioned Meyer lemon-jalapeño jam, and peppery arugula. You’ll want to eat it while it’s hot, when the goat cheese is molten and the toasted brioche bun is still crisp around the edges.

Cooper's on the Creek
Just a few photos from the wall of history at Cooper’s on the Creek. Photo by Lisa Blake

Even if you can’t snag a seat on the patio, Cooper’s Colorado-centric interior doesn’t disappoint. The dining room is decked out with rare black-and-white images (courtesy of the Idaho Springs Historical Society), the host stand is framed with pipes from historic Guanella Pass, and Clear Creek and Gilpin County mining maps serve as wallpaper. The bar, which runs the length of the pub, is constructed from whiskey barrels and features 10 rotating taps pouring beers from Georgetown’s new Guanella Pass Brewery, along with other Colorado craft suds.

So, the next time you’re stuck on I-70 with bumpers and brake lights as far as you can see, consider stopping at this goldmine of deliciousness right off the Georgetown exit.

1500 Argentine St., Georgetown, 303-569-5088

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