Nick Andurlakis on Elvis's beloved Fool's Gold Loaf sandwich and how it was conceived
Today marks the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. The iconic singer spent a great deal of time in the Centennial State and had many adventures. In honor of the King, Backbeat is sharing some of these stories.
Dave Herrera You can still order a Fool's Gold Loaf sandwich from Nick Andurlakis, the man who helped conceive and once served up the gooey contraption to the King.
- Retired Denver Police Captain Jerry Kennedy on the time Elvis bought him a Lincoln
- John Bucci on being the proud owner of the church pew Elvis once sat in at Holy Family
- Retired Denver police officer Bob Cantwell on The King's "nurse" making a house call
- Bob Kortz on tracking down a black diamond for The King in the middle of the night
- Jonny Barber recording Elvis singles at Sun Studio tonight
Elvis's love for peanut butter is a well-documented footnote of pop-music history. He was especially fond of the Fool's Gold Loaf, a peanut butter, jelly and bacon (!) sandwich conceived by Denver restaurateur Nick Andurlakis and his co-workers at the Colorado Mine Company. Apparently it was so tasty, Presley once flew his private jet here from Memphis in the middle of the night just to partake and stock up on the sandwiches.
Steve Brown The Colorado Mine Company logo as depicted on one of the original menus.
When he was sixteen or seventeen years old, Nick Andurlakis began working at the Colorado Mine Company, a now-defunct, 400-seat restaurant owned by Cindy and Buck Scott and located in Glendale. The place hosted a who's-who of Hollywood stars, including Clint Eastwood, Goldie Hawn and Davy Jones of the Monkees, among others. If there was any high-end restaurant in the '70s where Elvis might dine, the Colorado Mine Company was it.
Andurlakis describes the Fool's Gold Loaf as something he and his colleagues at the restaurant came up with to add something completely offbeat to the menu. "We had steak and lobster," Andurlakis says, "but we had nothing 'fun' on the menu."
Steve Brown Fool's Gold Loaf as it appeared on one of the original Colorado Mine Company menus. When the restaurant closed, the going price for Fool's Gold was $64.95.
The Fool's Gold Loaf, a protein-packed mass of goo, certainly solved that problem. Despite what Internet rumors might lead you to believe (and there are plenty of Fool's Gold stories out there), Andurlakis insists that the name simply came from the restaurant itself, which had a mining motif. "It kept with the theme," he explains.
One night in 1976, Andurlakis received a phone call. It was Ron Pietrafeso from the Denver Police Department, who was a friend and bodyguard to the King. The officer said he'd be bringing a special guest to the restaurant late -- after midnight -- and asked if Andurlakis would please stay open to serve him. Sure, Andurlakis replied. He'd done it plenty of times before.
Jonny Barber Retired Denver Police captain Jerry Kennedy (from left) with Elvis Presley in the mid 1970s.
Eventually, Andurlakis heard a knock on the back door. It was Pietrafeso, joined by a small army of other cops -- all cops, it appeared, including police captain Jerry Kennedy. Andurlakis was friendly with many Denver officers, yet there was one he could not recall ever seeing before. "Ron wanted to introduce me to someone," Andurlakis recalls. "And I see this man and think, 'Jeez, this looks like Elvis Presley.' And it was Elvis. He was wearing a captain's uniform Jerry Kennedy had made specially for him."
Presley had just finished playing a concert and was really hungry. He asked Andurlakis what he recommended. The restaurateur, being a pretty die-hard Elvis fan, knew the King loved the peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwiches his mama used to make. So he suggested the Fool's Gold Loaf. Presley ordered one for himself and two lobster dinners for the women he had brought along with him.
Thus a legend was born.