On any given evening at the Eddy Taproom & Hotel in Golden, you’ll find an eclectic mix of out-of-town hotel guests and Goldenites enjoying dinner and drinks while listening to live music, playing a giant game of chess on the lawn, or mingling around a fire pit. That comfortable, relax-and-stay-a-while vibe is exactly what the Eddy’s founders hoped to create when they opened the boutique hotel and restaurant in June.

Ben Shapiro, the Eddy’s executive chef. Photo by Nikki A. Rae

The Eddy, which is located on the site of Golden’s iconic Briarwood Inn, features 49 rooms, two rooftop patios, an outdoor lawn with yard games and fire pits, and easy access to Golden’s many trails and other outdoor activities. In addition to the hearty, seasonal dishes, local craft beers, and drip-infused cocktails on the menu at the Eddy Taproom restaurant, located on the first floor of the hotel, there’s also an on-site food truck in the parking lot, Truck Eddy, serving barbecue and locally inspired milkshakes. 

The two dining options have already proven to be much more popular than the hotel’s owners anticipated (they’re doing three times more business than they expected), which they see as proof that they’ve succeeded in making an inviting, living-room-esque space where people feel comfortable hanging out. In that same vein, the hotel also hosts regular events that are open to the public, like free yoga classes on the lawn taught by Golden’s Rise yoga studio. Many people walk over to spend time at the Eddy from the neighboring Basecamp Apartments, which were developed, along with the hotel, by Golden-based Confluence Companies.

“We certainly want to welcome everybody—it wasn’t designed to just be a place where people who stay at the hotel want to eat, we want everybody in Golden and from Colorado to enjoy it,” says Tony DeSimone, a principal with Confluence Companies. “We wanted it to be more of a neighborhood hub that helps build community. We wanted it to be inviting. We want people to come in wearing flip-flops and shorts, bring the kids and let them play yard games and just relax and run around.”

Executive chef Ben Shapiro carried that philosophy through to the menus he created for the Eddy Taproom and Truck Eddy. The restaurant’s menu has a selection of 12 appetizers, salads, and entrées that are meant to be fun and approachable, like the bison meatballs served with chimichurri and tomato jam, the wild mushroom French dip, and the popsicle-style fried chicken drumsticks, Shapiro says. The two dessert options—s’mores bread pudding and seasonal cast-iron cobbler—are a nod to all of the great camping and outdoor recreation the area is known for. Many of the Eddy’s cocktails feature spirits infused with inventive ingredients like Granny Smith apples, chiles, chamomile, and hibiscus. The restaurant also has a rotating 100-mile cocktail special, made exclusively with ingredients produced within 100 miles of the Eddy. 

Shapiro’s overarching goal is to create memorable eating and drinking experiences that defy expectations for hotel food. “We didn’t want this to be your typical hotel restaurant—I feel like those just have a bad rap for microwaved food and steamed vegetables. At most hotels, the restaurant is kind of an afterthought,” said Shapiro, a Denver dining veteran who most recently served as executive chef at El Camino Community Tavern. “I wanted this to be a restaurant in Golden, not a hotel that has a restaurant in Golden.”

With Truck Eddy, Shapiro tapped his Kansas City barbecue roots for smoked meat offerings like apple-brined pulled pork, sausage, brisket, burnt ends, and hot honey chicken drumsticks, plus sides like brown butter cornbread and burnt end baked beans. The food truck also has a selection of sauces inspired by some of the great barbecue regions of the country—Kansas City, South Carolina, Texas, and Alabama. “I wanted to find a way that if someone comes up and says, ‘I like Texas barbecue,’ we can tell them to try our sauces,” Shapiro says. “How we smoke our meats is all about the meat—we use salt and pepper and nothing else. We want to have the meat and smoke sing.”

The lawn at the Eddy. Photo by Nikki A. Rae

The food truck’s milkshakes also aim to offer something sweet and nostalgic for everyone—and share a little piece of the region’s history in the process. Shapiro researched mining terms and Golden landmarks to come up with names like Gold Rush (peanut butter, house jam, and graham crackers), Jackpot (vanilla ice cream, whoppers, malted milk), and Magic Mountain (birthday cake and sprinkles, named for a now-shuttered 1950s-era Golden theme park). 

There are patio tables near the food truck, and the Eddy’s liquor license encompasses that area, too, so diners have mix-and-match options of where to sit and what to order when they visit, Shapiro says. For now, the truck is parked right in front of the hotel, but Shapiro has plans to bring Truck Eddy to Golden events in the future, too. “Both of these concepts are really fun to play with,” says Shapiro. “Honestly, it’s pretty awesome to have this hotel with only 49 rooms, so it’s not giant by any means, and to have two different dining concepts.”

1640 8th St., Golden                        

Sarah Kuta
Sarah Kuta
Sarah Kuta is Colorado-based writer and editor. She writes about travel, lifestyle, food and beverage, fitness, education and anything with a great story behind it.