Calamity Jane’s new in Oak Creek |

Calamity Jane’s new in Oak Creek

— When the West was still wild, women like Calamity Jane ruled.

She drank, she cursed and she dressed in men’s clothes. She loved adventure and was one of America’s best-known female figures.

That ideal was what Bonnie and Christoph Manke were hoping to capture in naming their new Oak Creek Western-style restaurant “Calamity Jane’s.”

The restaurant’s to-go menu features photos of Calamity Jane and the caption “Respectable women never made history.”

General manager Jeff Preston said naming the restaurant after one of the West’s rowdiest women was an easy decision to make.

“We’re already a little calamity,” Preston said.

The Mankes and Preston turned a dark sports bar into a bright, welcoming family-style restaurant where they hope to draw in South Routt families and visitors to sample their fare.

“We’re trying to bring back the home-cooked meal by combining it with our own creations,” Bonnie Manke said.

Preston said he is particularly proud to offer a variety of specialties chicken fried steak, fried chicken, pork chops and fish and chips, which all use Oak Creek recipes, as well as hand-cut steaks, soups, salads and sandwiches.

Preston said the restaurant is seeking approval from the Oak Creek Town Board to serve alcohol.

“We’ll have a bar, and already have some of our special drinks down,” Preston said. “As soon as we get our license, come have a drink.”

The Jane’s Addiction, A Mike’s Hard Lemonade paired with a shot of Captain Morgan rum, will be the restaurant’s specialty drink. Calamity Jane herself surely would have approved.

Calamity Jane’s opened its doors June 14, and is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

“Everything has been great. I think everyone is glad to see it’s open,” Bonnie Manke said.

The community “knew of Big Tuna’s, and now they’re trying us,” Christoph Manke said.

The Mankes, former Idaho Springs residents, said it has always been a dream of theirs to permanently move to Oak Creek.

“Our dream was always to be up here, so we’re making it happen,” Bonnie Manke said. “We’re lucky because (Preston) had the same vision we did, and now we’re doing it.”

When the Mankes bought the Big Tuna’s building, they knew they wanted to make some changes.

“We want this to be a spot where people can gather in the community. We want them to come in here and have some good food and a good time,” Preston said.

Bonnie Manke said she hopes the decor, or Western elegance, as she calls it, will inspire the community to stop in.

“We wanted it to look outdoorsy because those are the things we’re into,” she said. “We love to hunt, fly fish, ski and ride horseback. It’s got that modern cowboy feel to it. It’s a reflection of this area.”

— To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail

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