Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.
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I cannot say for certain if it was Colorado lamb chops or beef tenderloin topped with bleu cheese that I had for dinner on June 20, 1984. But I'm reasonably confident it was one of those two. I'm 100 percent certain we were dining at Mattie Silks on our wedding night.
The memories came rushing back last week as I took photographs of the demolition work taking place in Ski Time Square. If you're new to Steamboat you may be unfamiliar with the former restaurant named after a famous Denver madame from the 19th century.
More recently, the building that housed Mattie's was known as the home of another restaurant/bar, Jade Summit and Pirate's Pub. But for many years Mattie Silks, in the interior of Ski Time Square, was a Steamboat landmark for fine dining. When the public relations staff at the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. wanted to make a favorable impression on visiting journalists, they often took them to Mattie's.
An editor of the New York Times Magazine, Bernard Kirsch, touted Mattie's in 1985 along with the Tugboat Saloon, Hershies (in the Clocktower building) and L'Apogee in downtown Steamboat as establishments to put on your list if you were planning a ski vacation in the 'Boat.
I wasn't even thinking about my wedding night last week when I headed up to Ski Time Square to document the changes. In fact, I had snapped a dozen digital images before the romantic light bulb went off in my head.
"Dude! Stop the track-hoe. My wedding memories reside in that forlorn-looking little building with the tattered velvet wallpaper hanging in shreds!"
Mattie's was known for an advertising slogan it shared with its fellow Ski Time Square establishments, the Tugboat and Dos Amigos: "The Triangle - Get lost in it!"
Steamboat ski bums started their expedition to the Triangle with AprÃs Ski at Dos. No one referred to the place as Dos Amigos. It was just "Meet us at Dos," a phrase, which translates from Spanish to: "Meet us at Two." If you showed up at Dos at 2 p.m. on any day in 1985, however, you were way too early. Four o'clock was the time to show up at Two. Got it?
I can recall literally skiing down Ski Time Square on my old Head giant slalom skis and stacking them unlocked in a rack on my way inside for a platter of an appetizer called Zapnins (forgive me, I'm not certain of the spelling, but I can recall how good they tasted).
I guess I was pre-disposed to ruminate about four square walls and the memories they contain this week because we packed up and moved out of the home we've lived in for almost 20 years.
Hold on just a minute, pardner. Don't plan a celebration just yet. We're only moving about a mile and a half away. You can't get rid of me that easily.
If you remember late-night drinks upstairs in Mattie's and Zapnins in Dos, maybe we should meet and get lost in what's left of The Triangle.
I've decided all of those great memories don't reside within four walls after all. They're alive in our imaginations. And besides, change is constant - and change can be a good thing.