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Rudy’s in Silverton serves up the best Mexican food in the Four Corners

Rudy’s in Silverton serves up the best Mexican food in the Four Corners

It was pretty late the night we stumbled into Rudy’s Restaurant, a little Mexican restaurant off of Greene Street in Silverton. It wasn’t our intention to eat at this little dive – or anywhere, really – but the howling winds and downpour at our campsite just down the road had other ideas. There was no way to light a fire in the midst of the rain, which meant there was no way to cook at the campsite, and we knew if we waited any longer to track down food, we’d be eating cold s’mores instead.

Our first stop was at the tried and true brewery across from Rudy’s. We’d been there before, and the pizza was fine, but there was no room at the inn. This little Silverton hot spot, which was still full of people, had put out the last call for food about ten minutes before we’d stepped foot in the door. The only other place we could try, they said, was Rudy’s, just across the street.

We trudged across the road, hungry and defeated, and grabbed a table in the dark restaurant. We’d never heard of Rudy’s, and we weren’t even sure what kind of food they served, but at that point, we were willing to take whatever was thrown our way. As we surveyed our surroundings, we took solace in the fact that even at this late hour, there were a handful of patrons at the bar and the tables – a family on a quick jaunt to Silverton from Durango, and a few locals – and everyone seemed full and content.

And, when the basket of chips and salsa appeared at our table, it became clear why every table seemed so happy. Turns out that Rudy’s, this little hole in the wall in old town Silverton, is cooking up some of the best Mexican food in southwest Colorado. The chips were warm and salted, and the salsa – well, we hadn’t had salsa that good, that flavorful, since our days in south Texas. We couldn’t help but ask the bartender, who was busy whipping up a jalapeño margarita for us, if the owner was from Texas, and if not, how this restaurant, and salsa, came to be.

We were in luck, because the bartender we chatted up was also the owner, and as suspected, this place has some serious Mexican roots. Everything in Rudy’s is homemade, he said, and it’s all made from recipes his family had passed down. He’d moved from southern California to Silverton a while back, he said, and set up shop in the corner building, just below the historic Teller House Hotel. He gets asked if he’s from Texas quite a bit, he said, and it usually stems from the salsa.

Given the quality of the chips and salsa, we were excited to see what else Rudy’s could whip up. We ordered queso – which, by the way, is actually called queso and not cheese dip here – chicken flautas, and a chimichanga, our fingers crossed that the dishes would live up to our expectations.

The first dish to roll out was the queso, and we were pleasantly surprised to find it had the right consistency for this Mexican staple. Not too runny or too thick, but just right. We used those warm chips to shovel it into our mouths, and it disappeared in what felt like minutes. It was a fantastic start to what became one of the best meals we’ve had since moving to Durango.

Our chimichanga and chicken flautas arrived at our table shortly thereafter, and we were thrilled to see that our main dishes looked impeccable, and were stationed next to a hearty serving of rice and beans. One bite into the main dishes and we were sold on Rudy’s. The flautas were crisp and fresh, and the rice was exactly the right consistency. It wasn’t gummy or undercooked, and was clearly conjured up by some skilled hands in the kitchen.

As with the queso, it wasn’t long before our plates were wiped clean. We were stuffed, and couldn’t even contemplate ordering one of the desserts that was displayed in the glass case near the front door. We settled for another jalapeño margarita and a few more minutes of chatting with the bartender instead.

We may not have intended to visit Rudy’s Restaurant in Silverton, but we sure are glad we stumbled upon it during a wet, chilly night of camping. We have already made a return trip, in fact, to load up on more salsa and flautas. It isn’t the closest Mexican restaurant, but a drive to Silverton is worth it when Rudy’s is on the menu.

Angelica Leicht