West End Tavern
The lore of West End Tavern dates back to 1906, when the building was initially the Boulder Police Station. Fast forward through an Italian eatery and the Red Cross, and the building became home to West End Tavern in 1987. Steve “Beaver” Goren and Marc “Minnie” Minion opened the original restaurant, purchasing a beautiful bar from a saloon in Omaha, NE. The rest of the furniture was a by-product of the 2002 Hayman Fire, which destroyed over 70,000 acres of a local pine forest. The salvageable wood was turned into dining room tables.
Years later, Dave Query under his Big Red F Restaurant Group took over West End Tavern, but they kept the guiding principles of the original owners the same: create a Boulder bar with a true community feel. “The West End Tavern has become a historic downtown staple. We have tons of regulars who we are on a first name basis with, along with many tourists that stop by to enjoy a whiskey from our rooftop,” said David Engel, Head Chef.
David knows the downtown food scene well. “I was originally brought on board the Big Red F team in November 2018 after working for The Sink and The Kitchen for many years. I started as the head chef at Zolo Grill, but its doors closed in 2020. After that, I became a ‘chef without borders.’ I have served in many roles and bounced around where help has been needed, including Jax Fish House. I’ve served as the primary chef for West End Tavern since the middle of 2021.”
A man with many talents, David now spends a lot of time with the giant smoker that runs nearly 363 days a year. “We offer a huge variety of smoked proteins - briskets, pulled pork, ribs and more. We also have a great rotation of craft beers and tap beers, many of which are brewed by our friends at The Post Chicken & Beer. But our most impressive collection is that of our whiskey - over 200 bottles worth. From bourbon to scotch, we have almost any whiskey you could imagine, along with specialty small-batch craft releases.”
Originally from Wisconsin and then a transplant from California, David has worked in Boulder for the past 12 years. “Boulder has this really awesome small-town vibe, where everyone is very loyal to and supportive of small businesses. We love the locals. There is also an incredible food scene here, which initially pulled me to the area.”
David has a very simple goal. “I want to help people eat awesome food.” To support David’s hard work in the kitchen, stop by West End Tavern and enjoy a comfortable meal from inside the historic dining room or up on the rooftop. “Don’t forget about our online ordering for takeout, and purchasing gift cards is always a great option. Follow us on social media (@westendtavern) for news on special pop-ups and menu items!”
West End Tavern has a storied history in downtown Boulder. And its greatest contribution thus far (besides serving amazing food)? They were the inspiration for naming the thriving ‘West End’ retail district. Stop by next time you find yourself on the West End of Pearl Street!