There’s nothing like a big juicy steak with fresh fixings for many attendees meeting in Colorado, where beef is a religion for many of the state’s top chefs. Here are some totally different examples of where to take groups, ranging from deep in the country to Denver’s hip Larimer Square neighborhood located in the heart to downtown.
Located on 110,000 acres southwest of Colorado Springs, the 17-room Zapata Ranch is a member of Top 50 Ranches. The working bison ranch is owned by the Nature Conservancy, with meeting space in a restored 50-pax barn. To help build a group’s communication skills, planners can create cattle roundup events.
Eating local has become almost standard, according to Tess Leach, the Zapata Ranch’s general manager. That plus vegetarian or even vegan menu requests have become more and more of a priority for groups, even at the 110,000-acre working cattle and bison ranch, located in Mosca, Colorado, in the south central part of the state.
Chef Mike Rosenburg, who used to be a personal chef to the Carnegie family, creates gourmet meals, using not only bison and beef raised on property, but also other local staples, such as quinoa, potato and barley, from nearby farms. Leach describes Rosenburg’s cooking as creating “the tastes of a gourmet meal in a more down-home style.” For instance, all of the meals are served family style so that guests can pick and choose what they want.
While the location and function of the cattle and bison ranch just naturally lends itself to the idea of eating local, Rosenburg also prepares vegetarian menus to meet the needs of the group.
“We’re in the guest business, and if they want vegetarian meals, then that’s what we’ll give them,” says Leach. “We encourage people to try the bison and the beef, but we have no problem not serving it to them. We don’t take it personally.”
The 17-bedroom ranch offers high-end meetings in a very comfortable setting, making it a perfect escape for smaller groups of top execs. The meeting space is situated in a restored barn that looks out over the land and seats up to 50 people comfortably, or planners can use the extensive grass campus surrounding the building for outdoor events. To test the group’s communication skills, planners can also opt for some team building, in which attendees can participate in a pinning cattle event.
DENVER FINE DINING
For groups looking to get a taste of the Colorado ranch a bit closer to Denver, then EDGE Restaurant & Bar is an ideal choice, located near Denver’s food-centric Larimer Square. The contemporary steakhouse features farm-to-table ingredients, including Colorado-ranched beef from places similar to Zapata. Private dining rooms are available for groups of eight to 20. Groups can also participate in Executive Chef Simon Purvis’ summer grilling classes (available thru September), which teach attendees how to cook the perfect steak.
Within walking distance of EDGE, Chef Troy Guard at TAG restaurant serves up local Colorado ingredients with a twist in a food fusion he dubs Continental Social Food, a combination of Hawaiian, Pan-Asian and Coloradan cuisines. Because of his innovative approach, Restaurant Hospitality named Guard one of the top 13 chefs to watch in 2013. Groups can experience his creations: taco sushi, grilled tender belly pork tenderloin and Szechuan-style Colorado rack of lamb, to name a few.
In TAG Underground, a lower-level private dining room, which can host groups of 55 for a seated dinner or 100 for a cocktail reception.