Antlers Café & Bar reopens for the summer season serving up nostalgia for Routt County

At the end of Main Street and Moffat Avenue, a historical icon stands within the town of Yampa.

Hikers, anglers, hunters and even skiers may have fond, childhood memories of visiting the restaurant as a source of an authentic western dining experience.

Paying homage to its past, while embracing a new chapter, head chef Spencer Harden and manager Kari Harden officially opened the Antlers Café & Bar this weekend for the summer season.

“We want people to take a ride out here for a different kind of experience,” Spencer Harden said, “because we offer something nostalgic here that you can’t find in Steamboat.”

Built in 1906 and listed on the Routt County Register of Historic Places and the state Register of Historic Places, Antlers Café & Bar has been known as an icon of the valley’s western heritage.

Initially, it served as a saloon, pool hall and gambling establishment; it was transitioned into an authentic western restaurant when Charles Hamlin and John deNeufville purchased the building from Mike Benedick in 1997.

With a “middle of nowhere feel” visitors who come in search of Antlers will have more to talk about on the way home than just the location and cuisine.

Inside, antlered trophy animals mounted on the walls include a Colorado mountain catfish, a mountain lion’s head and a fish’s body, a mule deer and a mule paired with deer antlers, all working together to keep the venue true to its namesake.

“Essentially, it’s the same place everyone remembers and has fond childhood memories from,” said Kari Harden, a Colorado native who grew up near Yampa. “We wanted to bring our own personalities to it but, more than anything, honor its past and preserve that. This is authentic Old West, and people love this place.”

Making a menu that is accessible to both locals and visitors, the Hardens said the Bistro-style menu features rustic cuisine that fits the Yampa Valley. A few of the dinner items include classic steak dishes, a lamb pot pie, grilled Rocky…

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