A recent weekend trip to the Silverton backcountry found us craving some good old-fashioned grub during our drive back to Denver. Rolling through Ridgway on U.S. 550, the pickin’s were slim—until we arrived at the True Grit Cafe. With a wooden mining-town façade, the building could have come straight from the set of an old Western.

Turns out, that isn’t far off. True Grit could be summarized as a shrine to John Wayne and the original True Grit (1967), which was filmed in Ridgway and the surrounding area. One of the cafe’s brick walls, an old-time advertisement stenciled with the words “Chambers Staple & Fancy Groceries,” served as the backdrop against which Wayne did one of his first scenes in True Grit. And rumor has it the park across the street from the restaurant is where the movie’s hanging scene was filmed.

Beyond the kitschy memorabilia (who doesn’t need a John Wayne collector’s edition Monopoly game?), we were pleasantly surprised with the lunchtime fare. The black-bean chipotle veggie burger was hearty enough to hold its own against its beefy counterparts. The soup of the day, a sausage-Florentine combination took the edge off the chilly afternoon. And then, there was the grit beef Philly, smothered with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and house-made cheese sauce. Cheesesteak lovers, take note: This plate made a normal sandwich look like a light snack. All in all, True Grit was a fitting end to our Wild West weekend.

Bonus: Don’t leave without buying a bottle of True Grit’s Burnin’ Anger hot sauce ($6.99), made from habanero and serrano peppers.

123 N. Lena St., 970-626-5739