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 take influence from the farms, industry and immigrant populations that have built Pueblo into what it is today. The name is a tribute to the roots of what has come to be known as the “Steel City” and even food items like the Bessemer Breakfast ($16) derive their title from the steel smelting process.
“When you go to Pueblo, you feel like you are transported back 100 years. You get to 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.
From the classic Slopper Sliders ($15) to the Pueblo Poutine ($7.50), just about everything is smothered in their pork green chili. And the love for the iconic pepper doesn’t stop at the food. House infused green chili tequila dots the cocktail menu and a collaboration with local brewery Copper Kettle brings a Fuel & Iron exclusive — Green Chili Porter ($8). Other local ingredients fill the menu as well, with Palisade Peach Jam featured on their Charcuterie Plate ($18 – $28) and the meats all sourced from Gagliano’s Italian Market — a Pueblo staple for over 100 years.
Located in the space recently vacated by Brass Tacks, the exposed brick, comfy booths and black and white pictures of Pueblo’s steel industry give the feel of a place hardworking folks go to relax at the end of the day. The pictures of the “Steel City” are one more way the founders hope to introduce the people and history of the town to Denver. When diners first walk in, they’ll see a mural depicting Pueblo’s rich history painted by local artist Dan Levinson and an old-style marquis 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 their name. They plan to work with local colleges specializing in farming and cooking programs to give opportunities to the next generation of local chefs, restaurateurs and farmers. The project includes an urban farm located behind the hall and second and third floors devoted to affordable housing — a nod to the founder’s expertise in real estate.
At the end of the day, Fuel & Iron Bar‘s Denver location aims to be a community watering hole — a place for people to come together and enjoy each other’s company with hot food that pairs well with cold drinks.
“I would describe our menu as everything you would want to eat while drinking,” Cytryn said.
While a Pueblo-themed bar seems a little out of left field for many Denver diners, the quality drinks, diverse range of comfort foods and passionate ownership all come through in spades.
Fuel & Iron Bar is located at 1526 Blake St., Denver. It is open Tuesday – Thursday 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday – Saturday 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
All photography courtesy of Fuel & Iron.