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Idaho Springs stay-cation

We have been cruising up to Idaho Springs over the years. (45 min from the house) During the pandemic, it became a mid week, day off, let’s go! Our most recent adventure we realized we never branch out on the dining options – mainly because i want to drink the Hef at West End and Down and we just get stuck. To solve this problem i decided to grab a VRBO for a 9 day stint so we could try everything, with in reason! Turns out 9 days is kind of a long time. 5 is about right…

Sun Rise in Idaho Springs through a window with a sheer curtain in front of it

The place

We booked a 2 bedroom and loft house. It was 2 blocks from the beginning of main street. When I originally book it, i thought it would be big enough for visitors. It was a small house, small bedrooms and a very weird set of bathrooms. We chose the loft, as it had the king bed, but the bathrooms were downstairs. All in all a comfy spot, but not super comfy and not enough of a place to stay the whole trip. So we came home early, will be nice to sleep in our own bed, and paco is so much happier to be in his own home.

The food!

West End and Down – brewery and restaurant. As noted i LOVE their Hefeweizen. This trip they were out.. but it was available in cans, so we took those back to the VRBO.

Food options are varied and fun.

  • Pork Cracklins – if this is your thing, the hubby loves them, gets them EVERY visit
  • Fried Green tomatoes – not bad, not amazing. The sandwich is better.
  • Cauliflower wings – Buffalo version – very well sauced, and nice kick (don’t think it’s franks red hot)
  • Shrimp Basket – amazingly jumbo shrimp and more french fries than you can eat
  • Buffalo/Fried Chicken Sandwich – hubby usually gets one of these and adds bacon. He loves it.

The menu has changed over time, but of the current options we have enjoyed. We went in a Thursday night. Mostly locals and lots of families with young children. (high tops don’t usually have many of those types around you!)


Pick Axe Pizza – Local pizza joint. Picture of menu is here (it’s very hard to find on line) Giant wood fired oven inside, limited seating. We grabbed a spot by the bar. Lots of overworked staff doing their best to stay pleasant and helpful! We went for dinner on a friday night.

Started with the Dank Sticks (cheesy breadsticks with garlic and bacon) – not amazing, would be even better with spicy ranch.

PickAxePizza Dank Sticks

I went with the Cajun Chicken Ranch Pizza. I don’t eat red sauce, so this was one of the options. It was not bad, we asked for ranch this time to dip it into. There was not much cajun, nor chicken.. but it did the job.

PckAxePizza Double Pepperoni and Cajun Chicken Ranch

Hubby did a build your own – double pepperoni. It did the job.
Funny – they don’t have many local beers on tap – so we went with a blue moon.


Main Street Restaurant (menu) – adorable breakfast/lunch location. I made a breakfast date with the hubby for a friday morning. We did a workout and then popped down. They open at 7am! When hubby was reading me the menu i got very excited – more benedicts than you can shake a stick at!

The staff is bubbly and happy and moved quickly! We got one of the last tables at 7:30am! I decided to treat myself and do the Main Street Benedict which included lobster and creamed spinach. The hash browns were on point – omg!

Main Street Restaurant - main street benedict

Hubby enjoyed the Breakfast burrito (chimichanga style – yes that just mean the whole thing deep fried), He finished the whole thing and was very happy with his choice.

There was so much on the menu that looked amazing, we went twice.


Shell Station – Santiago Breakfast Burritos

Seems weird but it was within a block, block and a half of the VRBO, and i love me some Santiago burritos. They have the 1/2 and 1/2 breakfast burrito warming in a bin straight in from the door.

Over the years we have also gotten gas here and the staff is very friendly.


Marion’s of the Rockies (menu)- an adorable diner. Staff is friendly and down to earth. The food was basic diner food – fast, coffee was hot and always filled.

Chili relleno breakfast

I went with Chili Relleno breakfast. It was that or the cornbeef hash (again a blast from childhood – mary’s in the can was a staple in our house!) The plate was huge, the rello was fantastic, so flavorful, gooey cheese and smothered. Do it. you need this in your life. Hubby went with the country breakfast with pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage… so much food.


Smoking Yards BBQ – popped in here on a snowy sunday night to fill our tummies. I chose the 2 meat, baby back ribs and pulled pork and the sweet potato fries. I also just had to try the smoked wings. I enjoyed the flavor of the wings, the ribs were pretty tasty, but needed some of the bold sauce, and the pulled pork was also delightful. Was definitely a nice trip on a sunday night and i had so much left over for a whole nother meal.


Bejou pizza – the denver famous pizza place!

We had basically run through all the options in town and decided to return to the original Idaho Springs staple.

I wasn’t in the mood for pizza. But the mushrooms sounded lovely and the meatball sub was an option! I asked for the the sub without the bread, i just wanted a little plate of meatballs.

It was a nice meal and it was our last meal of our trip!

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