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After being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Western Stock Show—a 16-day event filled with bucking broncos, bull riding, goat roping, and other heart-pumping Western sports—is back for its 116th year. And while there’s plenty to snack on at the show itself, Front Range restaurants are also bringing their A-game to celebrate. Here are a handful of local spots where you can feed your inner cowboy or cowgirl.
Denver Stockyard Saloon is a Stock Show can’t-miss—it’s even located right beside the National Western Complex. Come for the steaks that are hand-cut in-house, and stay for the live country music (there’s a performance every night). The saloon’s hours are extended 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day for the Stock Show, but take note: There are no reservations during the festival, so plan your visit mindfully (and not right before your favorite event). 4710 National Western Dr.
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This is A5’s first Stock Show (the steakhouse opened in November), and chef Max Mackissock says, “we’re really trying to let people see what we’re all about.” At the center of A5’s mission is sustainability and traceability, and its ranchers, growers, and other food producers are all hand-picked with those values in mind. The thing to order: an American wagyu called the Denver Steak, a uniquely butchered cut that’s marbled to perfection. Pair it with a plate of fresh oysters and a massive (30-ounce!) Saturn’s Spurs cocktail. 1600 15th St.
Billed as Denver’s oldest restaurant, Buckhorn Exchange has a different kind of oyster—one that, um, isn’t from the ocean. The steakhouse’s Rocky Mountain oysters (served with horseradish dipping sauce) are a Denver staple and a must-order for locals and visitors alike. This appetizer isn’t the only draw; between the wall-to-wall taxidermy and menu featuring elk, quail, and other game, dinner at Buckhorn is a truly wild time. 1000 Osage St.
Craving a juicy T-bone? The Fort has you covered; the restaurant is even joining in on the 16-day celebration with a Stock Show special. For $44 through the entire month of January, sink your teeth into a 16-ounce steak accompanied by a salad, freshly baked rolls, pumpkin walnut muffins, buttery mashed potatoes, red chile gravy, and a side of veggies. And don’t forget the drinks—a draft beer, glass of cabernet or sauvignon blanc, or soda is part of the package, too. 1912 CO-8, Morrison
With two locations mere minutes from the National Western Complex, the Butcher Block Café has a quaint, small-town feel. Family owned for over 30 years, there’s no better place to grab a smothered breakfast burrito or three-egg omelet. But the café’s sweetest speciality are the cinnamon rolls—they’re baked from scratch and available by the dozen. Both locations (plus one more in Commerce City) are open for breakfast and lunch, but you’ll have to dine at 38th Street for dinner. 1701 38th St. and 5002 Washington St.
Urban Farmer Steakhouse is another restaurant putting consciously sourced food on your plate. Using high-quality, regionally sourced ingredients, the menu features grass-fed beef, venison loin, seared duck breast, and other mouthwatering meats. The dish to try is the New York Steak Tasting, a steak flight that highlights just how much feed affects the final taste. Wash it down with the Cattle Call, a special Stock Show–themed, beef tallow–infused old fashioned that’s available until January 23. 1659 Wazee St.
Smoked meats, shared plates, and one-of-a-kind sauces are all Smōk’s specialties. The counter-service barbecue is located inside the Source Hotel and Market Hall, where you can order smoked meats by the pound (pulled pork, chicken, spare ribs, burnt ends, and more) or put the goods between a brioche bun. When you’re looking for a meal between bull riding events, try the brisket chimichangas—a limited-time special. You can also try Smōk’s meaty fare year-round at locations in Fort Collins and south Denver. 3330 Brighton Blvd. #202