Nathan Stern and Zach Cytryn are on a mission to show Denver what Pueblo is all about with their new bar – Fuel & Iron Bar. Inspired by the multicultural community just south of Colorado Springs, the food and drink draws inspiration from the farms, industry and immigrant populations that have made Pueblo what it is today. The name is a tribute to the roots of what has become known as “Steel City” and even food products like the Bessemer breakfast ($16) derive their title from the process of smelting steel.
“When you go to Pueblo, you feel like you’ve been transported back 100 years. You experience all these different cultures – Italian, Irish, Mexican, Greek. Where else in Colorado can you do that?’ Stern said.
While the menu represents the diversity of the city, it has one undeniable star: the green chili.
Classic Slopper Sliders ($15) to Pueblo Poutine ($7.50), pretty much everything is smothered in their pork green chili. And the love for the iconic chili doesn’t stop at food. House-infused green chili tequila dots the cocktail menu, and a collaboration with local brewery Copper Kettle brings Fuel & Iron exclusivity — Green Chili Bearer ($8). Other local ingredients also fill the menu, with Palisade Peach Jam featured on their Charcuterie plate ($18-$28) and the meats all come from Italy’s Gagliano Market – a Pueblo staple for over 100 years.
Located in space recently vacated by Brass Tacks, the exposed brickwork, cozy cabins and black-and-white photos of the Pueblo steel industry make it feel like a place where workers go to relax at the end of the day. Images of the “Steel City” are another way the founders hope to introduce the people and history of the city to Denver. When diners first enter, they see a mural depicting Pueblo’s rich history painted by local artist Dan Levinson and an old-fashioned marquee above the bar with the beer and cocktail list.
And Fuel & Iron Bar is just the beginning for Stern and Cytryn. Their ambitious project includes opening a food hall in downtown Pueblo to serve as a restaurant and incubator for young chefs looking for a space to make a name for themselves. They plan to work with local colleges specializing in agriculture and cooking programs to provide opportunities for the next generation of local chefs, restaurateurs and farmers. The project includes an urban farm located behind the lobby and the second and third floors dedicated to affordable housing — a nod to the founder’s expertise in real estate.
At the end of the day, Fuel & Iron Barit is The Denver location aims to be a community watering hole – a place where people gather and enjoy each other’s company with hot food that pairs well with cold beverages.
“I would describe our menu as anything you want to eat while drinking,” Cytryn said.
While a Pueblo-themed bar seems a bit out of left field for many Denver diners, the quality drinks, diverse array of comfort foods, and passionate ownership come through in spades.
Fuel & Iron Bar is located at 1526 Blake St., Denver. It is open Tuesday to Thursday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday to Saturday from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
All photographs courtesy of Fuel & Iron.