A few weeks ago, I had to travel to Denver for business. I elected to drive instead of fly. The weather was glorious, and I had a book on tape—what could be better? Driving also allowed me to stop into Rock Springs and Laramie and few other spots to do some research for the novel I’m writing. And while I was tooling around, I found two excellent places to eat.
The first was in Rock Springs. It’s about five minutes off the freeway, tucked in the downtown area, which means it’s a place locals visit. It’s called Broadway Burger Station. I walked in, past the tables, and took a swivel seat at the counter. The menu listed sandwiches and soup, but I suspect it’s the burgers most people go for. These are BIG burgers—1/3 to ½ pound of ground beef. I almost asked for a kid’s meal. Not only because the portion was smaller but because they serve the kids meals in a cardboard hot rod car! How cool is that?
But I went with the basic burger instead. All their burgers come with lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and their special sauce. You can also add other things including mushrooms, avocado sauce, bacon, cheese, chili, egg, ham, jalapenos, and pastrami. I went with the sautéed mushrooms. Then the very nice server tempted me with a hand-dipped malt, and I said yes because I was only thinking of all of you at the time, wanting to provide a complete and honest review.
The place was hopping the whole time I was there, and rightly so. The server brought out my burger, fries, and malt, and, man oh man–the burger with tomato and mushrooms was succulent! The fries were hot and delicious. And the malt was made with hard ice cream right before my very eyes. What’s more, I could have easily shared my meal with Nellie, which means we could have both eaten for a total of ten bucks. Great food, super-friendly service, and reasonable prices. If you’re ever passing through Rock Springs and need a place to chow, go to the Broadway Burger Station on 628 Broadway Street, (307) 362-5858.
On my way back I stopped in Laramie and found a McAlister’s Deli in the shopping strip at 2317 Grand Avenue, (307) 745-3760. This is not the type of deli that you walk into and gag because of the weird meat smells. It’s a soup and sandwich shop. And it’s apparently been doing well. I’d never seen a McAlister’s before, but found out it’s a chain that’s in twenty-two states in the Midwest and South. And Wyoming is currently as far west as you can find one.
They serve hot sandwiches, including one called The New Yorker (corned beef, pastrami, and swiss) and another called The Big Nasty (1/3 pound beef on a baguette). They have classic sandwiches, grilled sandwiches, and clubs. I ordered the Cobb Club with turkey, applewood smoked bacon, gorgonzola cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and a light Parmesan Peppercorn sauce served on ciabatta bread. I also ordered a cup of their vegetable soup and a piece of Colossal Carrot Cake.
Dude, it was all delicious. Lovely. And in Laramie of all places. Laramie! All these years I never thought to stop because the town looked so unassuming. Laramie was just that place where Cowboy fans enjoyed hollering and throwing beer bottles at my favorite football team from the neighboring state. Of course, I did cut them some slack—I mean, what else can you do when your team gets dominated year after year? Sing Kumbaya?
They’re a’running again, Kumbaya . . .
Just a’stomping us, Lord, Kumbaya . . .
Freezing misery, Lord, Kumbaya. Oh, Lord, Kumbaya . . .
Right. Now I see I’ve misjudged them. Maybe their football program has been in the doldrums the last few years, but Laramie isn’t a pass-through town. Next time I’m rolling by on I-80, I’m going to stop again and see what other gems the good folks there have to offer. If you’re in the area, and you love places like Jason’s Deli and Kneaders, stop at McAlister’s Deli. Then take some time to visit the lovely St. Matthew’s cathedral on 3rd street. You can’t miss it: it’s the one with the red doors.