Full bellies without empty wallets

Area restaurants offer mud season food specials for locals

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Doug Mouton hopes poultry won't take Pollo Loco night personally.

His restaurant has made a spring tradition of putting a dent in the chicken population.

Mouton is general manager of the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant in downtown Steamboat Springs. He offers discounted entrees made with chicken on Thursday nights during mud season. The Rio is one of a number of local restaurants that seek to tap into the "quiet season" residents enjoy between ski season and the rush of summer tourism events.

"We started Pollo Loco night to drive our business with regards to local clientele," Mouton said.

Waffle Wednesdays at Winona's Restaurant and Bakery have been a tradition for 10 years.

We offer four or five different kinds of waffles on Wednesdays at discounted prices that include assorted fruit or cinnamon honey butter and granola, or we use our cinnamon roll frosting on waffles, said Ashley McAulisse, manager of Winona's.

"We do it to show appreciation to our locals and keep people coming in for the slow season."

Burger Night at Old Town Pub has become a staple of mud season with its half-price burgers.

"We want to promote a festive night for locals to come out after a bike ride and drink a beer," said Mike Coy, general manager of Old Town Pub. "It's more or less a social event for mud season."

Even the employees at Harwigs/L'apogee get excited when they smell curry coming out of the kitchen on Monday nights, aka Thai Night.

"A lot of the same folks come in every week because the food is really good and includes some of the freshest vegetable and seafood dishes," said general manager Michael Lang. "From now until July, we have the same clientele, so we cater to the locals, providing them with a service they appreciate."

Paul Underwood, part owner of Cafe Diva, said Date Night started nine years ago when the restaurant opened.

"It's an opportunity for young folk in Steamboat to get out and enjoy a nice quiet evening and do a little romance," he said. "We encourage hand holding and a chance to catch up with one another."

Tim Pahula, owner of 8th Street Steakhouse, understands that many residents don't have a lot of money to spend in the slow seasons. His restaurant offers a different food and/or beverage special every night of the week.

"It's cool to live in a mountain town, and we do special deals for locals to say thank you, and get them out and afford to eat around town," he said. "For the tourists, the prices are a little bit higher."

In addition to our regular happy hour column, during the spring we will keep a listing of food specials that restaurants offer for locals during mud season. We want to be as thorough as possible, so if we left you out, please contact Allison Plean at 871-4204 or e-mail aplean@steamboatpilot.com

Mud season specials

8th Street Steakhouse

Where: 50 8th St.

When: Monday kids eat free off the kids menu, Tuesday is Rib Night ($13.95 half rack of ribs with choice of potato and salad bar), Wednesday Prime Rib Night ($13.95 for a 10 ounce cut of prime rib with choice of potato and salad bar), Mussel and Martini Thursdays ($5 for a pound of steamed mussels and $3 martinis), Friday crab special ($19.95 for one pound of Alaskan king crab legs), Saturday two for one dinners with a bottle of wine

Call: 879-3131

Beau Jo's Mountain Bistro

Where: 7th and Lincoln Avenue

When: 5 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night is family night

Special: $7 includes pizza buffet, Caesar salad and ice cream

Call: 870-6401

Cafe Diva

Where: 1855 Ski Time Square Dr.

When: 5:30 to 8:45 p.m. Sunday, reservations encouraged

Special: Date Night entails an appetizer, an entree and a shared dessert between two people at $24.95 per person

Call: 871-0508

Harwigs/L'apogee

Where: 911 Lincoln Ave.

When: Monday nights are Thai Night

Special: An affordable Thai influenced menu

Call: 879-1919

Johnny B Good's Diner

Where: 738 Lincoln Ave

When: Noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday

Special: Lucky 7s! 7 nights, 7 specials, 7 dollars. A different featured entree for $7 every night of the week and $2 draft beer. $1.99 bloody Marys and mimosas everyday, all day through Memorial Day.

Call: 870-8400

Old Town Pub & Restaurant

Where: 600 Lincoln Ave.

When: Tuesday night is Prime Rib Night ($12.95 includes an eight-ounce piece of prime rib with mashed potatoes and vegetables), Thursday night is Burger Night (Half-price burgers)

Call: 879-2102

Rio Grande

Mexican Restaurant

Where: 628 Lincoln Ave.

When: 5 p.m. to close on Thursdays

Special: $2 off appetizers with chicken, $3 off entrees with chicken, $1 off margaritas and $1 off pints of beer

Call: 871-6277

Winona's Restaurant and Bakery

Where: 617 Lincoln Ave.

When: Moody Blues Mondays entails discounted bloody Mary's and mimosas from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Two for Two Tuesdays you can buy one lunch entree and get the second free from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Waffle Wednesdays offers a variety of discounted waffles from 7 to 11 a.m.

Call: 879-2483

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