by Marissa Lorenz
The Dean Public House in Hot Sulphur Springs will celebrate its “reopening” this week when it returns to normal operations, serving
up their hand-crafted “bootlegger” cocktails and their renowned plates of wild game, tapas, and house-made pizza.
The kitchen will be led by Head Chef Hannah Dooley, a 21-year-old Colorado native who studied culinary arts at Colorado Mountain College-Vail and who now calls Kremmling home. Dooley has been cheffing at the Public House’s sister restaurant, the Dean West in Kremmling, for the past year.
But while the Dean West was able to stay open throughout most of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dean Public House fell victim to state Public Health mandates, being unable to meet social-distancing regulations due to its small dining area and unique “public house” approach to dining in which strangers become friends, eating together at large farm-style tables.
The family-owned restaurant is more than ready to welcome back its patrons, both known and as-yet-unknown, for a one-of-a-kind experience in which innovative fare is melded with glimpses of Grand County’s Wild West yesteryear, courtesy of the historic Stagecoach Country Inn.
Built by Civil War Captain Thomas J. Dean in 1873, Hot Sulphur’s first saloon also held early court sessions, presided over by Captain Dean himself. Dean would later be killed in the 1883 Grand Lake Massacre, and the house would be purchased by the pioneering McQueary family. The McQueary’s would build onto the structure and grow it into a stage stop and proper inn.
Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft and Western lawmen Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday are counted among the inn’s famous one-time guests.
The Stagecoach would change ownership again in 1913 when an automobile enthusiast, Alice Davis, bought it and added over
40 motel rooms with carports, a bathhouse with showers, and tent accommodations to the property.
The estate would pass through a few more hands in the ensuing years and would finally be purchased by the Harvey family in 2015, who renamed it after Captain Dean, working to return it to its frontier feel.
And now residents and visitors can once again enjoy the Old-West ambiance and pioneering provisions of the Dean Public House, Thursday through Sunday, 4 to 10 p.m., in the original saloon at 412 W. Nevada Street, Hot Sulphur Springs.
To avoid a wait, reservations are recommended by calling 1-800-923-3690.