Bold Menu, Superior Service with a Cozy Atmosphere, Simply Magical
A Food & Forks Restaurant Review
Windsor Mill Tavern Boasts a Dark and Upscale Vibe, Bold Menu and Superior Service
The town of Windsor, Colorado is finally cool. The city is gaining notoriety with a not-so-secret hideaway catering to adults. The alluring basement bar offers nightcaps without guilt, a tapa + menu with gourmet goods, and a place for friends. You’ll find the visions of master chefs tweaking your appetite through some fascinating dishes. Another part lending to the experience is the robust drinks, making Northern Colorado proud. The Windsor Mill Tavern is the ideal ‘drop-in’ where there’s something for everyone, especially the older crowd. Join me as I paint a picture of a historic business reawakening with an awesome grown-up vibe.
I was instantly excited approaching the urban-historic mill. Its regal appearance towers over the other local businesses making it easy to find. There’s plenty of convenient parking across the lake and around the building. From the road, the building appears small. Once you are closer to the 26,000 square foot complex there becomes quite a stir.
It’s hard to imagine the building’s resilience after both a tornado in 2008 and a fire in 2017. The 119-year-old flour mill was nearly destroyed but somehow survived through both events. Some reports show the development of ruins. However, since the Tavern is underground maybe salvation from both incidents. Regardless the bar-owners are just as resilient, making a buoyant comeback with their grand-reopening.
Open quadrants sharing the Tavern’s space include two other businesses. Cacciatore at Heller’s Kitchen (I hope to do a review) and a micro-brewery. The three tenants are creating the first exciting center geared toward entertainment outside Denver, Colorado.
You think you’re entering a ‘speakeasy’ with the location of Windsor Mill Tavern on the lower level. The history is in the air where you can almost breathe the nostalgia stepping into an urban farm decor. It’s dark, romantic and includes an alluring atmosphere full of charm. What I like about the vibe, is it’s the perfect spot for business people or grown-ups of every age? As mysterious as the place may seem, you could sense the warmth in the air from both clients and staff.
Nothing but the best hospitality came from Co-Owner, Tim Downey who greeted me with a centered poise and grace. I immediately felt at home. Seems there’s a goal at ‘The Tavern’ where they represent sociability and companionship. While instantly cozy, I couldn’t help but gather the whispers of the surroundings saying “You’ve entered somewhere magical.”
They introduced me to kindhearted and full of sunshine, server, Kyrie who is the perfect master of ceremonies. She’s a book of knowledge about every dish and the hand-crafted cocktails. With my hostess guiding me along the way I knew the rest of the experience would be interesting.
Kyrie’s recommendations for drinks was “Georgia on My Mind,” and “The London Cut.” The mixologist’s presentation was nothing short of impressive. Both cocktails were so beautiful to the eye, I had a difficult time trying to select which to sip and sup.
The London Cut was a beautiful burst of flavor such as habanero and cucumber mixing well with the gin. Smooth as hell, the alcohol ratio intrigued me by not outweighing the other flavors. However, Georgia was on my mind, next.
Georgia on My Mind is a mouthwatering mix of peach liquor, bourbon and smooth foam of egg white giving the drink integrity. They top this cocktail with wild cherries in a syrup that is outstanding. These little toy cherries are popping with flavor and make a proper introduction to the other spirits. (I fell hard for Georgia and will make this my ‘go-to’ next time I visit the Tavern).
Moving right along, Kyrie and the chefs overwhelm with a beautiful plate of homemade flour tortillas making the signature ingredients for the Elote Nachos. They were very generous with their portions of salty chips, creamy homemade nacho cheese, and roasted sweet corn. Worth every bite, and not wanting to waste, I had to share with the kind ladies sitting next to me. My senior editor and fairy godmother wasn’t able to join due to a back issue. However, while sharing a plate of nachos with new friends, my anticipation was growing for what was to come next.
I consider myself a brussels sprout connoisseur, where I try this appetizer at just about every venue I dine. This time the veggies blend with butternut squash, pecans, pear, and savory bacon. The saucy topping included an infused reduction made with red wine giving just the right amount of tang. Magnifico!
You may have caught my article on Charcuterie Boards where I describe the perfect meat and cheese plates? Regardless, my friends, the Tavern Board is now, my top choice in NOCO and here’s my reasoning why. Unique game sausage from House of Smoke, Fort Lupton instantly captivates you. You can follow up with buttermilk blue cheese and harissa or baby doll chilis for a real ‘Fork Yea’ experience. Every cracker was a crispy vacation in my mouth with random selections of olives, nuts and oh my marmalade! As you can see, I really enjoyed this board of boards?
The main course included a roasted and herb-crusted lamb shank. The shank was almost the size of a turkey leg and was very tender. They layer the shanks under a bed of creamy pumpkin puree along with mint and pockets of pumpkin ravioli. This dish is perfection year-round but almost seems appropriate for the cooler weather of Fall.
As the evening passes, they brought the last dish and dessert to me by surprise. As Kyrie’s last order, she amazes me with the fantastic plate of “Pinot Pear.” They make this dish by fermenting D’Anjou pears in a fine Pinot Wine and then topped with crunchy toasted almonds. There’s also a distinctive mascarpone cheese that is whipped and sweetened with vanilla and honey. This dish will leave you floating out of the restaurant filled with joy.
The owners made some excellent choices from the menu to the awesome staff. We can’t give anything less than 5-Forks and this is one I will highly recommend to anyone new to the area. You’ll immediately want to become a regular client and you’ll be in for an unforgettable food party.