Any parent knows that hungry children and long car rides don’t mix. When I was growing up, my family often piled into the Volvo for the three-hour drive to our cabin in Goldfield, southwest of Colorado Springs. We stopped at Sonic Drive-In in the Springs, even though we knew chili dogs and switchbacks didn’t mix either. So when we discovered Serrano’s Mexican Bar & Grill, perched on a hillside in Woodland Park, we were overjoyed to find an alternative.

Just like its canary yellow exterior, Serrano’s stands out among the lackluster chains in this mountain town. If it weren’t for the stunning view of Pikes Peak from the large windows and wraparound porch, you could (if you squinted real hard) be beachside in Mexico. Between margarita sips, you’re greeted by owner Pepe Serrano’s authentic pollo en mole, sizzling fajitas, and tender carnitas Uruapan.

The mole is a must-try. The saucy dish is equal parts sweet and spicy, with a hint of chocolate. The fajitas emerge sputtering, and the slow-cooked pork carnitas come topped with a dollop of fresh guacamole. While the hearty provisions are the main draw, Serrano’s simply offers something special, and it is, evermore, our go-to roadside stop. 730 E. U.S. Highway 24, Woodland Park, 719-687-7150