Gourmet In The Woods

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Rita’s Place – Restaurant Review

Rita's PlaceI was out riding my motorcycle on Father’s Day weekend, a tradition of mine, and ended up in the small town of Guffey. As I rode into town (heading west on 102), I saw a sign that said “Rita’s Place” with an arrow pointing to the right. I followed the signs, and ended up at a cute little cottage with a dirt parking lot, and a couple of dogs running up to greet me. One was a little white dog, and the other was a larger lab or something, both seemed friendly and willing to accept petting.

When I first walked in, I was greeted by Rita herself, who was also busying doing a hundred other things at the same time. She asked if I had been there before, and after I told her “no”, she explained how it worked. Basically, grab whatever you want to drink from the cooler and take a table. If you get coffee or tea, she’ll bring you a cup, and you can refill it yourself from the pump canisters set up by the main counter. There was a tray on another table with plasticware and napkins and that was also self-serve. I wasn’t sure what to expect with such a do-it-yourself service structure, but Rita was clearly so busy running a (obviusly popular) restaurant that it just wasn’t possible for her to do *everything*. She did do everything that mattered, though!

I was browsing the menu, and had just about decided on “The Taoist” sandwich, which has turkey, bacon, provolone, and guacamole on a jalepeno cheddar bagel, when Rita pointed out a board with some specials on it. That made me reconsider, and I decided to go with the Salmon-Dill Crustless Quiche.

The food came out on a paper plate and it looked amazing. It was a huge piece of quiche, served with roasted baby potatoes, grapes, and strawberries. There was also a small side of salsa. It looked like a gourmet meal, and tasted like one too. It was incredible! I expressed my bewilderment at the apparent incongruity – a meal this good served on a paper plate, and eaten with plastic silverware. Rita told me that the reason she didn’t use “fine china” was because she would need to upgrade the waterlines to be able to install a commercial dishwasher, and the cost was just too prohibitive. Fair enough. What I eat it on or with is largely irrelavent, as long as the food rocks, and this totally did.

Rita's PlaceAfter finishing my meal, I asked her what the “Razzle Dazzle Pie” was, which was also listed on the specials board. I was told that it was a raspberry apple pie. I asked if she made it herself, and she confirmed that she did. She told me that everything she serves is home made. I had to try a piece, with ice cream of course. She heated up a slice, and served it with a HUGE scoop of ice cream, and it was every bit as good as I had hoped.

I could go on about how amazing Rita’s Place was. It was spotless, even the restroom. There was local art and other merchandise for sale. Rita let me browse a book on motorcycling in Colorado that a friend of hers wrote (and it was signed by the author) while I was waiting. It was raining outside, and I was invited to stay and hang out for as long as I liked hoping the rain would die down. It felt more like I was a guest in her home, than a patron of her restaurant. Super friendly, amazing food, great experience. I can’t recommend Rita’s Place highly enough.

Sure, I get it – Guffey is a long way away. But it isn’t that far from Eleven Mile Resevoir. If you are ever up there camping or fishing, or just out for a Sunday drive in the mountains, its worth the trip. Trust me.

Rita's Place on Urbanspoon

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