Eating is necessary for human survival, along with breathing, sleeping, and remaining still while a curious velociraptor rummages through your closet. Practice survival tactics with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of comfort fare at Stagecoach Inn in Manitou Springs.
At Stagecoach Inn, housed in a historic log building beside Fountain Creek, executive chef Bob Swain combines classic comfort fare with gourmet touches to fill grumbling stomachs. After discussing the merits of using a Wingdings font on the dinner menu—with choices that range from $10.99 to $26.99—patrons can kick off feasts with more adventurous appetizers such as rocky-mountain oysters or wild-game quesadillas. Satisfying crunches fill the air as delighted diners feast on the Inn's Famous Fried Chicken, and seven juicy burgers repose on regular or gluten-free buns, including a local favorite Stagecoach burger, topped with a buffalo patty. Meal voyages conclude with one of several rich desserts such as a decadent old-fashioned peanut butter pie ($5) with an Oreo crust that's safe from the torment of milk-dunking ruffians.
Outside of Stagecoach Inn, a fire-engine-red stagecoach with large, yellow, spoked wheels rests beside a soaring pine tree near the entrance. Inside, patrons cozy up beside fireplaces or take in the picturesque sights on a covered deck overlooking the creek. The bar proffers a place for guests to swill libations while staring at flat-screen TVs and framed pictures of such rustic images as old frontiersmen and Johnny Appleseed surreptitiously planting orange trees.
Once upon time, the Stagecoach Inn was as famous for its fried chicken and biscuits as it was for stuffing Dwight D. Eisenhower's tummy and pants pockets with mouthwatering comfort food. Though the clattering of President Eisenhower's cutlery has long since faded from the log cabin, the eatery's fried chicken continues to draw in crowds of hungry locals and travelers alike. Their chefs cook up a well-rounded menu of such time-honored classics as pork chops with molasses and bacon and their signature-stuffed steak, a local favorite. Bartenders uncork Colorado wines and local brews—including Bristol Brewing Company's award-winning Laughing Lab Scottish ale—as hungry guests dig into meaty burgers and classic fish and chips. The Stagecoach Inn's rustic décor evokes the warmth and comfort of dining at a friend's house across its café, lounge, and upstairs dining room. Guests can also enjoy their meals creek-side outdoors or by the warmth of a fire.
Though the Stagecoach Inn has long since established itself as a community staple, Manitou Springs' old-timers remember a time when the old stage stop upheld another distinctive honor. The structure also housed the town's first electric company—an important feat, since Manitou Springs enjoyed electric power before even New York. The rest of the inn's past, however, is a matter of western lore, but many believe this rustic log cabin served as American author and civil rights activist Helen Hunt Jackson’s summer cottage.