On our latest journey through Pagosa Springs, we took the advice of one of our colleagues and stopped by City Hall.
No, not *that* city hall — we weren’t applying for a zoning permit. We stopped by the City Hall Cafe & Grille at 2151 Eagle Dr. The restaurant specializes in wraps, sandwiches, and burgers during lunch and classier entrées such as steak and pasta during dinner. The lunch menu plays off the municipal theme, with categories including the Planning Department (appetizers), SUBdivisions (sub sandwiches), and Mayor’s Vote (burgers and warm sandwiches).
The restaurant isn’t huge, but it has a vibe that splits the difference between casual and formal in a way that very much embodies the Pagosa aesthetic. While we haven’t had a chance to use it ourselves, we like the lounge area with its sectional sofa toward the rear of the patio.
We dropped in around dinner time and were feeling like pasta, so we ordered the Kickin’ Chicken — blackened chicken served over penne pasta tossed in Alfredo sauce. (What can we say, we love a rhyming entrée.) The chicken was grilled pretty much to perfection, but the stand out element of the dish was the Alfredo sauce. That buttery Parmesan flavor hit the spot (and also complemented the protein pretty well).
We preceded the pasta with a Caesar salad. Much like the pasta that followed it, the best part of the salad was the sauce, er ... dressing. It was very creamy and a bit more lemony than the average Caesar dressing. Notably, the greens were cut pretty small, a perfect size for scooping, rather than stabbing the salad. We don’t know if this is a thing that people care about, but there you have it.
A wise wine pairer would typically take a look at our chicken and creamy pasta sauce and recommend a white wine, such as a chardonnay. But we don’t always approach our drink orders with logic or deep thought. Instead, we like to order beverages based on their label or which one sounds best as the name of a band. This is why we ended up with The Velvet Devil, a Merlot from Washington State. It was still good, though, especially against the chicken.
We finished our meal with a dessert — City Hall’s famous homemade key lime pie (its existence was blazoned across one of the windows in big white letters as we entered the establishment). The pie was tart as heck — as key limes should be – but it was an excellent conclusion to the meal. In a way, it echoes the citrus aspect of the salad we started off with. All in all, it was an excellent meal.
We didn’t know of its existence before it was pointed out to us (its facade isn’t particularly eye-catching from San Juan Street/U.S. Highway 160), but it’s definitely on our radar now. We’re looking forward to trying it out again and we’re particularly interested in how they handle a steak or a burger. It should be noted, though, that our return will not occur between Oct. 25 and Nov. 8, as that is when they’re closing to winterize the restaurant. They’re also updating the wine list — if you’ve been following the news, California’s wine country has been experiencing a bit of an apocalypse.