In 1961 Ms. Elizabeth (Bay) Arnold wanted to create a home in the country just enough outside of Denver where she and her kids could appreciate the countryside filled with horses, fishing and mountain air. Bay, an amateur historian, was reading a book about Bent’s Fort, the famous Colorado fur trade fort of 1833, and thought an adobe castle was just the look she wanted. Morrison, naturally filled with the stunning, smooth red rock surfaces, was the perfect setting for an Adobe.
They hired an architect familiar with the adobes in Santa Fe. The Arnold family, the architect, contractor and almost two dozen workers created the main building. As with many construction projects, the costs went over the budget, which meant Bay and her husband, Sam, needed to find a way to keep the progress moving. As an avid cook, Sam took on a new role after plans were modified to include a restaurant on the main level and living quarters upstairs. After two years of planning, The Fort Restaurant opened its doors in 1963.
The Fort’s menu was inspired by Native American’s tradition of living off the land and their nose-to-tail eating style. The modern day menu – filled with buffalo, elk, quail, lamb and duck – still holds true to Sam’s “New Foods of the Old West” approach to cooking. Their daughter, Holly Arnold Kinney, who learned everything there was to know about the restaurant business while growing up on the property, now leads the menu innovation while remaining loyal to The Fort’s culinary roots.
Any adventurous eater will enjoy the tasty Colorado-classic Rocky Mountain Oysters, which marries a soft inner texture with a crunchy coating on the outside. Game lovers will revel in the entrée options like the deliciously tender 14-ounce buffalo tenderloin, the Flintstones-sized braised buffalo ribs served with a Jack Daniels whiskey BBQ sauce, or The Fort’s Game Plate – the most popular dish – prepared with a bone-in elk chop, buffalo sirloin medallion, and a grilled teriyaki quail. Those who love southwestern cuisine will appreciate the pan seared duck breasts with an ancho chile and orange glaze, or slightly-spicy shrimp Vera Cruz made with roasted peppers.
Top off your meal with one of The Fort’s famous desserts, like the Negrita where dark chocolate whipped with Myer’s rum served in a chocolate tulip cup.
Next time you’re looking for a dinner that is extraordinary, head on out to Morrison to experience The Fort, filled with tradition, fun and great food .