Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Diners at the Western-style restaurant can tuck themselves away in a barn wood booth near the fire in the dining room or head to the smoke-free bar where they can eat and catch up on sports on one of 17 televisions throughout the room.
A family-oriented sports bar was the original vision brothers Steve and Ken Deline had when they opened their first Braun's Bar & Grill in 2001 in Denver.
About two years later, they took their idea to Steamboat, where they partnered with residents John and Amy Hillenbrand, to open another Braun's at 709 Lincoln Ave.
It was a natural move for the Delines, who raise cattle on their ranch near Rand.
"It's so true to our hearts," Karen Deline said. "We love Steamboat because of the Western roots here."
While the Delines replicated the American style food with a gourmet twist from their Denver restaurant, they renovated the Steamboat location to reflect Steamboat's Western heritage.
Eleven booths made of aged barn wood from the couple's ranch, give both the dining and bar areas a cozy, rustic feel.
The owners of the Harbor Hotel building contributed several antique pieces from the now-closed hotel that give visitors a taste of Routt County history. A massive black bank safe sits near the entryway of the restaurant and the long wooden front desk from the hotel now serves as the Braun's bar.
In addition to ranching memorabilia from times long past, Winter Sports Club photos throughout the dining room and bar remind visitors of Steamboat's skiing history.
Once customers settle into Braun's atmosphere, they may choose from a variety of salads, sandwiches and entrees that will satisfy the deepest of hankerings while offering a touch of something different.
"It's not fine dining, but it's also not your typical bar food," Karen Deline said.
Among the restaurant's signature menu items is the Braun's Wedge -- a crisp wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with house vinaigrette, tomatoes, spicy candied walnuts, smoked bacon bits and bleu cheese. The Spinach Salmon Salad, with gorgonzola cheese, onion, bacon and roasted tomato vinaigrette, as well as the Pacific Rim Tuna -- grilled ahi on a bed of greens with wasabi vinaigrette, caper Pico, wontons, cucumber and tomato -- are other popular salad choices.
Sandwiches include chicken or Italian paninis; Reubens and tuna or chicken salad melts. For a taste of something out of the ordinary, diners might opt for a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich with habanero sauce instead of mustard or a portabella Philly sandwich with sauteed peppers, onions and Monterey Jack cheese.
Whether topped with bacon and cheddar cheese or Cajun spices and bleu cheese dressing, Braun's has burgers that will please almost anyone. For dinner, Braun's features several appetizers, including smoked salmon with capers, cucumber dill relish and lemon-crÃme fraisch; spinach and artichoke dip; and chicken, beef or shrimp skewers served with Braun's signature sauces.
Popular entrees at Braun's are the signature sirloin, paired with a classic "Hunter" sauce and topped with "ha-braun-ero" onion straws and the Ribeye del Monaco dressed with bleu cheese and sauteed mushrooms.
The Delines' goal is to serve beef from their ranch at Braun's. In the meantime, they purchase dry aged beef, head chef Dan Nightingale said.
In addition to regular lunch and dinner menus, Braun's runs specials throughout the week. Many people come back for all-you-can-eat fish and chips night on Mondays for $9.99, Karen Deline said.
On Wednesdays, children 12 and younger eat a children's meal free with the purchase of an adult entree, and on Friday's Braun's features a Cajun style prime rib.
In addition to a full range of drinks and cocktails, customers can warm up with a selection of hot "belly warmers" at Braun's bar.
Steamboat residents can receive a 10 percent discount during the high season and a 25 percent discount during mud season by signing up for a local sticker. "We really would like to cater to locals," Karen Deline said, noting that tourists tend to eat where the locals eat."