Sometimes you just want to wander out into the wilderness and get away from it all. But then, once you get there, you realize that you’re actually kind of hungry and could go for a sit-down meal. That’s precisely what happened to us recently when we wandered into Weminuche Grill. Located on the north end of Vallecito Reservoir, the Weminuche Woodfire Grill caters perfectly to people who work up a hunger hiking, biking, paddle-boarding, and the like.
We dropped in on a recent, chilly fall day, and the first thing we were struck by was the size. The restaurant has a strong cabin-in-the-woods aesthetic, but between the interior spaces on either side of the bar and the patio that wraps around outside, it feels like it could seat tons of people. (In non-COVID times, of course.)
The drink menu had a range of cocktails, beers, ciders, and wines on it, but something about being surrounded by an alpine forest brought whiskey to mind. As such, we ended up starting our meal with an old-fashioned. It hit the spot pretty well as we stared out the window into the wilderness.
The grill has a standard menu, but it also has an extensive special menu on any given day, and the rest of our meal came from that. For an appetizer, we ordered some BBQ Pork Queso Fries. They were good, but in the reverse order we thought they would be. In our minds, the pork would stand out the most, followed by the cheese, on top of average fries. Instead, the fries were cooked to that perfect zone in which they still feel very much like pieces of a potato, but have been seasoned to perfection and cooked. The queso was a white cheese that was used relatively sparingly, but which really made an impact. The pork was decent, but forgettable compared to the other parts of the dish.
For our main course, we briefly eyed the pastas and ribs, but landed on the “Welcome to the Country Burger.” In addition to the usual burger fixings, it featured grilled peaches, bacon, grilled onions, and jalapeño chutney. The beef patty, the bun, and the other standard elements were good. The most exciting part of the burger, as you can probably guess by the above list of toppings, was the interplay between the peaches and the chutney.
We have a vague memory of trying peaches on a burger at some point in the past, but this burger served as a reminder that they’re an excellent, if rare, addition to a burger. Combine their fruity sweetness with jalapeño spiciness and you’ve got a whole complex flavor profile riding the burger into your mouth.
We also got some garlic mashed potatoes as a side — because you can never have too many potatoes. The garlic wasn’t overpowering, and the potatoes were fine, but we greatly prefer the grill’s fries when it comes to sources of starch.
Unless you happen to be playing up at Vallecito anyway, the restaurant is a bit out of the way — we clocked it at 35 minutes from downtown Durango. But if you’re in the area, the Weminuche Woodfire Grill is a pretty great spot to grab a bite.