“We have seen it all since we opened 35 years ago,” owner Bill Gardner said. “We made a few adjustments the first year, but we haven’t changed our philosophy or the way we do things.”
The restaurant, which is nestled in a unique location near the slopes of Mount Werner in Ski Time Square, provides the perfect fine dinning experience after a day of skiing or enjoying one of Steamboat’s other amenities.
A warm fireplace and a collection of unique artifacts from over the years gives the interior a one-of-a-kind feel that welcomes both visitors and residents.
“It’s relaxed and casual here,” Gardner said. “We started in the era that has long since passed us by.”
The menu is a delightful mix of dishes that have proven themselves over the years. Gardner said the things that worked have been fine-tuned and those that didn’t are gone.
Some samples from the menu include a selection of top choice Black Angus steaks, the 20-ounce “Bob’s Cut” prime rib and fresh Rocky Mountain trout. The menu reflects the region’s Western lifestyle.
“The menu makes this restaurant,” Gardner said. “We wanted a menu that included all the foods that make up Colorado, and we have always tried to remain true to that principle.”
Gardner searches the region to find the highest quality for his customers. The steaks come from Nebraska; the trout from Utah.
“We offer a great selection of beef, and embellish it with an accent of wild game,” Gardner said.
This year, the Butcher shop will offer Buffalo sirloin steak direct from the King Canyon Ranch in Chadron, Neb.
The third-generation ranch provides some of the best buffalo stakes anywhere in the country and this winter Gardner will bring it to Steamboat Springs to share with many of his longstanding customers. The Butcher Shop also offers elk medallions served in a crÃme cassis sauce that gives a sweet taste to the elk. And don’t be surprised if Gardner adds caribou to his list of nightly specials from time to time; he has been fine-tuning the recipe the past few winters.
The Butcher Shop’s roasted back Angus prime rib comes in a 7-ounce light cut, the 12-ounce medium cut and the 16-ounce large cut. For the heartiest appetites is the 20-ounce Bob’s Cut.
While Gardner knows his customers are going to enjoy the meats at the Butcher Shop, he is also very proud of several of the other items on the menu.
Gardner invites his customers to try the smoked trout, a real treat and a great alternative to the beef plates. Customers also can choose from a wide variety of other seafood items including shrimp, lobster and Alaskan king crab legs.
Gardner said the nightly specials such as crab cake, lamb sirloin and duck also are popular. The restaurant prints an extra page of specials each night in an effort to offer visitors a variety of options.
All of the dinners include an unlimited salad bar, fresh-baked honey wheat bread and a choice of garlic mashed potatoes, stir-fry vegetables, green beans or a loaded baked potato.
The Butcher Shop has a broad wine list including wines suitable to accompany any dinner. The list includes wines from Two Rivers Winery in Grand Junction and a nice blend from Steamboat Springs cellars.
But Gardner said the true strength of the Butcher Shop is the experience of his longtime employees and the consistency they bring to the dining experience.
The owner said he has been lucky to find a hard-working staff of employees that have been loyal to the restaurant for many years.
He has 32 employees in the peak season and said most of his staff has been with him for more than three years. His kitchen staff has been with him for between 12 and 18 years.
He said that type of loyalty gives the Butcher Shop a consistency that visitors have come to expect.
Don’t be surprised if Gardner is the guy serving you. Over the years he has worked just about every job in the establishment, but said he always enjoys the chance to serve his customers first hand.
“I’ve been in the hospitality business my entire adult life,” Gardner said.
In that time, Gardner said he has come to realize that his restaurant is only as good as the people he has working for him. He said the Butcher Shop has a long running tradition of hiring good people.
Gardner and his wife, Rita, own and operate the Butcher Shop along with their son, Dan, and daughter, Susan.
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Editor’s note: The story was updated at 8:33 p.m.