When a restaurant declares itself “downhome,” the Iowa farm girl in me thinks, prove it. Resting between Kittredge and Evergreen along Bear Creek, Country Road Cafe did just that. On a recent visit, the indulgent, high-piled comfort fixings and kitschy sign-plastered tin walls made me feel like I was cradled in the rural hospitality of my favorite Midwest diner.
The Finn family—mom Sheri and daughters Amanda and Jennifer—run the show, spinning around the tiny kitchen in an intuitive line cook/server swing dance. Husband and father Mark Finn unexpectedly passed away earlier this year; his legacy lives on in the seven roomy rental cabins he built out back as well as in the cafe’s comforting fare.
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The Finns take pride in their seven-page spiral-bound notebook of a menu, particularly the smashed and mashed section. That’s where I fell in love with the Elk Sausage Smashed ($13.50), a kitchen sink combo of “masheds” (a fluffy, crisped mashed-potato-meets-hash-brown hybrid born from Mark’s affinity for spuds) topped with scrambled egg, sliced Colorado elk sausage, sautéed onions and green peppers, and a flavorful mess of melted cheddar, house hollandaise sauce, sweet jalapeño jam, and crispy onions. Settle in, loosen your belt, and don’t even think about counting calories.
In fact, Country Road Cafe has perfected sweet-meets-savory breakfasts. Locals adore the Wildwood ($12.95), in which crisp potato pancakes come topped with two eggs, roasted pork, avocado, cheddar, hollandaise, crispy onions, and more of that sweet jalapeño jam drizzle; the Berry Bush Benedict ($12.95), another popular choice, is a spin on a classic Benny with sausage patties, cream cheese, and house-made blackberry-sage jam alongside hollandaise-drenched poached eggs. Ten omelets, giant pancakes, stuffed French toasts, burritos, and green-chile-smothered hash bowls round out the a.m. offerings.
Grab a coffee and wait outside on the heated covered patio for your table or, better yet, make a mountain retreat out of your visit and book one of the Finn’s immaculate creekside cabins (winter rates start at $275 a night), where breakfast from Country Road Cafe is not only included but actually delivered right to your doorstep.
26490 Highway 74, Evergreen, 303-674-1178