Interstate Kitchen & Bar made its debut on Thursday, September 10, at 901 West Tenth Avenue (the former Santa Fe Tequila Company space). It's a kitschy urban roadhouse bedecked with utilitarian shelving -- a la Home Depot -- and a psychedelic robin's egg blue paint palette. In the back, by the bathrooms, there's an old Mobil gas pump and in the front, near the bar, you can slam shots of whiskey in the hollowed-out skeleton of a beat up red truck.
The menu offers road-trip grub -- braised pork ribs, peppersteak with collards and grazed carrots, fried chicken (and fried chicken livers), tomato soup and grilled cheese, ham and white bean soup, and braised oxtail with lima beans -- plus a formidable happy hour board with some great bargains. Hushpuppies, bacon popcorn and a mini wedge salad go for three clams; deviled eggs and the lap dog for a mere buck.
About that lap dog: Right now, it's one of our favorite snacks, not just at happy hour, but whenever we feel greedy for a charred brat crowned with pickled onions, carrots and hot chiles, served open-face on buttered and grilled bread.
They go well with the Del Norte Orale Lager, a local beer that Interstate keeps cold in a large fridge stocked with craft bottles from Deschutes, Great Divide, O'Dells, Breckenridge Brewery and Steamworks.
But it's the eighty-some whiskeys and roster of whiskey cocktails, all priced under $7, that make lingering at the bar all the more interesting. And similar to the move that the Rio Grande made with its now-famous margaritas, Interstate Kitchen & Bar pours something called a Thunderclap (whiskey, brandy and gin) that's limited to two per person -- although we know plenty of people who'll manage to circumvent that rule. Go forth and let us know how it turns out: Interstate is open daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., with kitchen service until 1:30 a.m.