Where one path ends, another path to Steamboat Restaurant begins

Jake Harden, manager and co-owner, stands on the roof of Trails End Bar-N-Bites. Trails End has replaced Double Z Bar and BBQ, which closed last year after a long spell in Steamboat Springs.
John F Russell / Steamboat Pilot Today

Jake Hardin is optimistic that the Chicago Dog and Italian Beef Sandwich will have Steamboat folks talking about Trails End Bar-N-Bites—the newest chapter in a dining venue long known for barbecue.

Harden, who opened Trails End earlier this summer at 1124 Yampa Street, the location of Double Z Bar & Grill. “I’m from the Chicagoland area, which is why I brought a Chicago hot dog and an Italian beef sandwich. It just tastes a little bit homecoming to me.”

The Chicago Dog is made from Vienna beef frankfurter with a natural casing that gives the hot dog a surprise when you bite into it. It’s served on a poppy seed bun with mustard, onion flavor, sports pepper, and a pinch of celery salt.

Hardin said Trails End also offers an Italian beef sandwich that features Italian-style roast beef served on a hoagie with fresh mozzarella and a Giardiniera pepper mix — like a pickled mix of jalapeños, celery, and carrots.

“I love pickled vegetables,” Hardin said. “This is one of my favorite mixes or pickled vegetables, the Giardiniera.”

The well-established downtown restaurant, The Double R Bar and BBQ, opened in 1983 and offers a local watering hole and simple menu. The restaurant has had a long and storied history, and was purchased by Matt Molinar in February 2020.

Hardin took over the site in November and began cleaning up and making some minor changes, including adding new bar shelves and bar seating next to the kitchen. The seating is complemented by outdoor seating overlooking the flowing waters of the Yampa River.

He said the restaurant and bar reopened right after the Steamboat Resort closed this spring and introduced a new menu that includes the Chicago Dog, as well as many items that can be found on a regular bar menu — like loaded cheese fries and cooked pickle chips, fried mozzarella sticks, cheddar cheese and mac And cheese.

Trails End is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

He said most of the comments on the list were positive. However, he did get hold of and even an occasional order for the Z Burger – which is no longer on the menu.

“This is a great place to meet a lot of the locals who live here in the city,” Hardin said. “If you’re out of town, that’s where you’re going to find a lot of information from the people who live here, you know, where to go, where to hang out and what to do.”

Anyone who walks through the door at Trails End can feel the history of the space, as well as its connection to Steamboat Springs, Hardin said.

“We didn’t want to take too much of it because it got that great feeling, with rocks and old planks and things like that,” Hardin said. “We just wanted to give him a little life.”

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