- Backstrand’s green chile was apparently quite popular at the Yukon back in the day.
So, firstly, what’s Latigo? That would be a 20-year-old, 45-acre equestrian center founded by the Pikes Peak Range Riders nonprofit, and home to a few arenas, a therapeutic riding center, horse-related retail shops (think: pro shops to a golf course) and, you guessed it: a grill.
Kenny Backstrand operates the eatery, along with a couple staff that he says have been with him for 43 years, dating back to the three decades he owned and operated the Yukon Tavern on Circle Drive in Colorado Springs. He happens to be sitting out in The Grill’s dining room doing paperwork, so we chat while I eat, and he details building the upstairs bar (overlooking the indoor arena) out of a giant cherry-wood bar he’d had sitting in storage for years, after a customer traded it to him for a drink tab.
He tells me about annual fundraisers on-site where he’ll feed 300 to 600 people, and about well-attended prime rib nights that pack the upstairs with locals (The Grill’s only open Thursdays through Sundays). Today, though, there’s a “dog agility trial” going on (lawyer-up, Lassie ... wait, no, not that kind of trial) and I’m reminded why Best in Show was such a brilliant movie for capturing the quirks of dog trainers (really, who’s running who around those obstacles, people?). I ponder this as I put down a perfectly satisfying Green Chile Smouthered [sic] Burrito packed with juicy chicken hunks and basic fixings, capped in a cheese melt and served with chunky salsa and corn chip rounds.
Backstrand’s green chile was apparently quite popular at the Yukon back in the day, and for good reason; it’s not highly spicy but rich with earthy flavor, roux-thickened and pure with pepper essence.
The Grill shouldn’t be dismissed as a mere concession stand, as I suspect the nighttime steak menu attests.