If you find yourself in Durango, chances are you’re there on vacation—whether it’s for the powder at Durango Mountain Resort in the winter or rafting the Animas in the summer. Of course, with the town’s touristy persona come the requisite traps: fudge shops, T-shirt stores, and Western-themed eateries. Which is why we were delighted to stumble upon Ken & Sue’s New American bistro amid the kitsch.

My husband and I had spent the day crawling up dusty ladders to the ancient cliff dwellings in nearby Mesa Verde National Park. We felt we’d earned a bottle of wine and a delicious meal—not to mention a chic setting—and Ken & Sue’s delivered on all points.

Tucked neatly into Durango’s charming Main Avenue, Ken & Sue’s is within earshot of the town’s famed Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad station. We sat outside in the restaurant’s year-round back patio enjoying entrées of juicy pork medallions, served with Chinese yellow-mustard mashed potatoes, and a bottle of wine, and could hear the historic trains’ whistles blow as they chugged into the station.

Locals Ken and Sue Fusco opened their namesake restaurant 10 years ago, with the intention of bringing casual fine dining and creative food and wine to town. And if the accolades don’t convince you they’ve done it (six Wine Spectator Award of Excellence nods), the menu will.

Perhaps best described as American-meets-Asian, the inventive dishes offer a profusion of flavors: Meatloaf and mashed potatoes, cilantro-crusted halibut with bok choy, and fresh mozzarella salad blend seamlessly through the courses. The more difficult part is deciding what to order—good thing you’re on vacation and have all the time in the world.

636 Main Ave., Durango, 970-259-2616