Steel this 

A look at Pueblo's sugar and spice

Click here for a South Colorado Springs map!

Because even a Steel City needs to eat, Pueblo abounds with good places to grub, and grub hard.

King Taco (217 E. Northern Ave., 719/546-6280) takes its corner neighborhood spot and makes it a must-visit destination. Dishing tacos tasting like they're fresh off the Los Angeles food trucks the owners used to operate, this staple's fresh buche, tripas and lengua offerings are not to be missed.

For those who like a little booze with their cruise, there's Gray's Coors Tavern (515 W. Fourth St., 719/544-0455). It offers the usual bar fare, but its main claim to fame — besides being one of the few establishments able to use the "Coors" name, thanks to an old business arrangement — is its Travel Channel-highlighted Slopper. Supposedly invented here, the Slopper's an open-face double-burger delight covered in a mess of green chili and, optionally, onions and French fries.

Inspired by the Slopper but updated for a brave new world is the namesake offering at Bingo Burger (101 Central Plaza, bingoburger.com), where the green chiles are actually folded into the Colorado beef. Patties here can be topped with fried eggs, chile cream cheese, caramelized onions and much more. Co-owner Richard Warner — who also owns the heavenly Hopscotch Bakery (333 S. Union Ave., hopscotchbakery.net) with his wife, Mary Oreskovich — has said Bingo Burger serves "gourmet burgers, cooked to order, with a sustainability flair."

For other eats, the Do Drop Inn (1201 S. Santa Fe Ave., menusfirst.com/pueblo/dodropinn.htm) does breakfast and lunch, but it's the pizza that keeps the locals talking: It's known for being sweeter than most.

If it's real sweets you're after, hit Nettie's Candy Company (109 Colorado Ave., 719/543-4631) or Taffy's (114 W. Abriendo Ave., 719/545-0282). The former is drowning in house-made chocolate turtles, truffles and more, while the latter is perfect if you're a creature with a popcorn-and-limeade habit.

Not exactly a restaurant, Gagliano's Italian Market (1220 Elm St., 719/544-6058) is still the coolest little shop you're going to see. Small and packed with shelves of Italian goods priced a little cheaper than average, the 90-year-old shop kicks out handmade sausage, pepperoni, dough, sauce, pasta and more.

Finer diners can find fare to match at either Restaurant Fifteen Twentyone (123 N. Main St., restaurant1521.com) or Rio Bistro (126 S. Union Ave., 719/253-0126). But even the most high-falutin gastronomes will acknowledge that the real pull of Pueblo is its green chili. And while many lay claim to the best, the green (and red) at Rita's Mexican Food (302 N. Grand Ave., 719/542-4820) may just take the title.

Click here for a South Colorado Springs map!


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