1. ORDER ONLINE
  2. RESERVATIONS
COLORADO MOUNTAIN DINING SINCE 1948

Seriously good food, I was very impressed with the service, they were very busy and the food came out within 15 minutes. Waitstaff was friendly and the owner really cares about the quality. Reasonable prices as well. Definitely check it out.

-Zach S.

Such an amazing atmosphere! The restaurant itself is a perfect fit for the beautiful mountains that surround it. Great service and delicious food. Will definitely be returning!

-Daniel W.

Great menu and food. Beer is excellent. Met the new owner who took over last July. They have done an outstanding job with the renovations and the updates along with the menu. Will be coming back regularly.

-Gabe V.

Rad place just off the highway with friendly staff, and a gorgeous little inclusive patio. Dog friendly with local craft beer and a nice wine selection.

-Sarah S.

Amazing food, staff and service. Highly recommend the trout, the bone in pork chop and butternut squash soup.

-Barbara S.

Thriving under new ownership. Green chili is excellent. UPDATE 1/28/21: the roasted half-chicken is the best eighteen bucks I have spent in my life.

-Joel L.

  1. BREWERY
  2. DINING
  3. THE ASPEN
    ROOM

Come for the Food, Stay for the View

THE HISTORY OF EL RANCHO

El Rancho’s story begins in 1948, when the restaurant was built by the Jahnke family. The early establishment sought to fill the role of a community-oriented restaurant in Evergreen, that could also draw in motorists and tourists from US-40. A particularly notable out-of-towner to have enjoyed El Rancho was U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who frequently visited from his hunting lodge just north of nearby Idaho Springs.

In 1953, the Jahnkes sold the building to Mildred and Ray Zipprich. The Zippriches were successful pie distributors from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their son-in-law, Paul McEncroe and his family operated El Rancho until 1988 and during this time the restaurant cemented its status as a Front Range mainstay. One peculiar and interesting item that the McEncroe family contributed to the legacy of El Rancho was the establishment of a U.S. Post Office branch, that existed for a period of time in the same building as El Rancho, in 1956.

The Zippriches sold El Rancho in 1988; the restaurant then underwent a series of ownerships and closures until 2015, when the Vincent family renovated the historic restaurant as a brew pub. In 2020, Paul Vincent partnered with local restaurateur and managing partner Glen Fountain, who renovated the restaurant and reestablished the Aspen Room downstairs from the restaurant – a speak-easy style bar and live entertainment venue that was first established in 1958. The Aspen Room was a well-known performing layover in the late 1950’s and 1960’s for music and comedy acts passing through Evergreen as they travelled from coast to coast on what is now US Highway 40 and Interstate 70. El Rancho aims to honor the restaurant’s rich history and emphasize its connection to Colorado and the Evergreen community in everything it does, providing Colorado mountain cuisine with a first-class culinary experience and service to match.

When El Rancho opened in 1954, the dining room accommodated a mere 72 guests. Today, El Rancho Restaurant is among the largest and oldest existing restaurants in the Rocky Mountains, with combined seating for over 500. The main floor dining room, veranda, bar, and West Deck have a combined seating of nearly 350. The main bar features a rotating list of 20 award-winning beers brewed in-house and over 100 whiskies with all of Colorado’s distilleries represented. The outdoor West Deck – with its unobstructed views of the Continental Divide – is said to be the most photographed mountain scene in Colorado. The Aspen room has indoor seating for 125 and opens to an in-ground Beer Garden with additional seating for 65 configured around a stage where live music is featured Thursday through Saturday each week – weather permitting. A private dining room with a 14-person dining table and an attached private patio that seats 30 is accessed through the back of the Aspen Room. Friday and Saturday nights at El Rancho Restaurant and The Aspen Room are usually at full capacity, so reservations are recommended.

 

The current owners and management are committed to honoring El Rancho’s rich history by making this a true gathering place for the Colorado community as well as a memorable stop for the travelers passing through the Gateway to the Rockies on their way to Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, and the many resorts up Interstate 70.

Brews, Views and Great Food!

MOUNTAINSIDE DINING

El Rancho was built in 1948. Since then, it has staked its claim as a Colorado classic. The restaurants log cabin aesthetic, coupled with the warm glow of fireplaces, produces an authentic atmosphere that is uniquely its own. In addition, El Rancho has an open veranda and deck that offer a postcard view of the Continental Divide. Few spaces are so well-suited for great food, drink, and company, in true Colorado style.

The classic El Rancho restaurant offers an Americana inspired menu with elk chili, smoked trout, bison short ribs, grilled steaks, and juicy burgers are all present, accompanied by fun appetizers, daily specials, and rich desserts. Taking it a step further, EL Rancho incorporates Colorado local ingredients in multiple items on the menu. This respects the historic connection to Colorado and supports local producers.

HIGH ALTITUDE BREWING

El Rancho transitioned to a Brewing Company in 2014. Since then, we’ve wasted no time in winning awards and creating community favorite brews. With over 20 craft beers on tap, you´ll always find the right drink to reward a long day of hiking or skiing. We recommend newcomers try our Valhalla Finnish Sahti (winner of a gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Fest), or our flagship I-70 IPA, our best-selling, classic West Coast-style India Pale Ale. Led by Head Brewer Rodney Taylor, with nearly 25 years of craft brewing experience and 9 Great American Beer Fest medals under his belt, El Rancho’s 10-barrel brewing system produces some of the highest quality and most appreciated beers in the Rocky Mountains.

Just imagine – the rejuvenating, crisp mountain air coupled with one of our over twenty signature craft beers. Whether you’re looking for some respite on the course of your interstate travels, or you’re a Denver local looking to spend the day with family and friends, El Rancho is the perfect spot.

VALHALLA FARMHOUSE ALE

Finnish malt, Norwegian yeast, juniper berries. Sahti style beer. Gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Fest.

VALHALLA FARMHOUSE ALE2

Finnish malt, Norwegian yeast, juniper berries. Sahti style beer. Gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Fest.

VALHALLA FARMHOUSE ALE3

Finnish malt, Norwegian yeast, juniper berries. Sahti style beer. Gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Fest.

VALHALLA FARMHOUSE ALE4

Finnish malt, Norwegian yeast, juniper berries. Sahti style beer. Gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Fest.

VALHALLA FARMHOUSE ALE5

Finnish malt, Norwegian yeast, juniper berries. Sahti style beer. Gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Fest.

VALHALLA FARMHOUSE ALE6

Finnish malt, Norwegian yeast, juniper berries. Sahti style beer. Gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Fest.

The Aspen Room

In addition to the Brewery´s craft beers, the Aspen Room bar has a selection of craft cocktails. Come in to try the classic cocktails that are given a little El Rancho twist. Some that resonate are the Old Fashioned, with 291 Colorado bourbon, the Ranchero Margarita, which comes served in a hickory smoked salt-rimmed glass, the Colorado Bulldog, made with local, Colorado ingredients, and a gin cocktail infused with lemon, rosemary, and Prosecco simply called Evergreen.

During Prohibition, American cocktails came to be mixed with new, and sweeter, flavors to cover up the taste of bootleg liquor. Consequently, the era had an irreversible effect on mixology and encouraged greater experimentation with the combining of drinks and flavors. The Aspen Room caters to the sweeter palate with bright cocktails, such as our Paloma, Strawberry Gin, and Mountain Berry Martini.

The emphasis on the bar and the Aspen Room’s speakeasy quality, do mean that this area in El Rancho is generally skewed towards a 21+ crowd.

AN ALPINE SPEAKEASY

Whisper! Speak easy! The police are watching! A 1899 newspaper excerpt [Pittsburg Dispatch] conveys the origins of the term speakeasy to avoid alerting authorities to the sale of alcohol in dry jurisdictions, or by unlicensed dealers. The state of Colorado enacted state-wide Prohibition on January 1, 1916. Three years before the ratification of the eighteenth amendment to the United States Constitution. Colorado’s early entry into the Prohibition Era was due in large part to a western temperance movement that originated in reaction to the perceived demoralizing influences of saloons in mining towns. The ratification of the twenty-first amendment repealed Prohibition, nation-wide, in late 1933.

Speakeasys, however, have continued in a more modern form. The Aspen Room draws influence from modern-styled speakeasys in creating a space that is discreetly located underneath El Rancho proper, and which forms its identity around the creativity and passion that goes into the mix and pour of every beverage.

Beer Garden

Below the main El Rancho restaurant, or out the doors of our speakeasy-style Aspen Room, is the Beer Garden. Out of view of the interstate, and enclosed by stonework and foliage, the Beer Garden is a great spot to get away from the world at large and enjoy some of the Brewery’s over twenty craft beers on tap. The space represents a more intimate setting within El Rancho, where, under cover of tree and sky, you and yours can get situated at a corner table and become acquainted, catch up, reminisce, and generally enjoy each other’s company as El Rancho patrons have done for well over half a century. A stage built into the back wall features live music on weekend afternoons and Thursday through Friday nights – as the Colorado weather permits.

EVENTS CALENDAR
  1. GETTING HERE

    El Rancho is conveniently located approximately 18 minutes outside of Denver off of I-70. To reach El Rancho going west, you’ll take the Evergreen Parkway exit and then turn right on US-40. Going east, you’ll simply take the El Rancho exit and turn right. Just remember to keep an eye out for our iconic sign and beautiful building!

    Dogs are welcome on our patio overlooking the Continental Divide; feel free to bring your furry friend!

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