Billy Goat Saloon has been, and remains, one of my favorite Bayfield haunts – it’s made up of an eclectic group of staff and patrons, and it’s just weird enough that everyone feels welcome.
It was for this reason that I was excited to try out a new restaurant that opened inside the bar, Ate-1122, which recently started business at the front of the saloon, right next to the bar.
I visited one early Sunday afternoon, but the bar was already packed with customers. I found one the few open tables left at the saloon, but when I caught my bearings I realized I was sandwiched between a rowdy group of football fans watching a game on the TV and an equally excitable baby shower party gathered around a table. When they started listing off the rules for the shower, I decided it was time to see what kind of food Ate-1122 had on its menu.
One of the many perilous aspects of depending on bar food for a meal is that you never know how scarce the options will be. Thankfully, this is not an issue at Ate-1122. The food bar is stocked with plenty of delicious options, all perfect for an afternoon or evening of drinking. There are burgers, grilled cheese, quesadillas, hot dogs, pizza, Frito pie, appetizers, and salads (for you lame-os). I hadn’t eaten all day, so anything and everything greasy and cheesy sounded delicious. I was half-tempted to order something from each category. The only thing that stopped me was knowing how ridiculous it would look for one lone person to stuff their face with eight different dishes. Saddest Sunday ever.
Instead, I asked the cashier what she recommended for an appetizer. She encouraged me to try the artichoke dip with fried pita bread, which turned out to be a top-notch choice. November is perfect chili weather, so I also ordered a Frito pie, which can come with or without onions (for those of you who don’t like flavor). Turns out, Frito pies at Ate-1122 come served in a bag which, not going to lie, I was pumped about. They might be really messy to eat, but eating chili out of a Frito bag took me back to my high school and college days of hanging out at a festival and shoveling bean- and cheese-covered chips into my mouth.
Between the football-watching patrons, pool players, and the baby shower, the Ate-1122 staff were helping customer after customer. However, the great thing about bar food, and Ate-1122, is their excellent service. They had my piping hot Frito pie and delicious-smelling artichoke dip within 15-20 minutes.
The restaurant’s mantra is “just good bar food,” and it is an apt description. I first dug into my pita bread and dumped a generous amount of spinach and artichoke dip onto each slice. Whoever came up with the idea of pan-frying pita bread is a culinary genius. The crunchy texture of the bread paired perfectly with the thick, creamy dip, which I absolutely could not stop eating, by the way. The Frito pie chili was a balanced blend of sweet and savory filled with enough cheese to make me remember why chili is my favorite cold-weather dish.
The amount of food I ate for one person at the Billy Goat was obnoxious, and yet I have not ragrets (#yolo?). The best part, though, was when I walked outside and ran into my cashier, who waved me farewell and even remembered my name. I hope that’s a good thing.
In any case, Ate-1122 is open and if you’re yearning for some fried, greasy, and deliciously cheesy bar food at a Bayfield staple, this is your new stop.
Ate-1122 is located inside the Billy Goat Saloon at 39848 US-160, Bayfield, CO. For more information call 970-884-9155 or visit thebillygoatsaloon.com. Amanda Push