The Buckhorn Exchange is Denver’s original steakhouse. It is located five minutes from downtown Denver in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. There is a light-rail stop across the street from the restaurant. It is referred to as the National Historic Landmark and Western Museum. This establishment has been in business since 1893, making it Denver’s oldest restaurant.
Some of the items on the main course menu are buffalo prime rib, quail, salmon, and prime grade beef steaks. For an appetizer, you can sample rattlesnake, alligator tale, and buffalo sausage. For the brave souls out there, their house special is Rocky Mountain Oysters. For lunch, they serve a lighter fare. They also offer an extensive wine list. They do recommend that you call and make reservations prior to visiting.
One thing they are famous for is the Big Steak. This large steak is intended to feed two to five people. The steak is carved at your table and is served with a sizzling crock of sautéed onions and mushrooms. For five people you can choose from a three and a half pound steak for $161.00 or a four-pound steak for $178.00.
Four nights a week, there is live entertainment in their upstairs bar and lounge. In their bar they have an authentic white oak bar that is from 1857. The Buckhorn Exchange also has the liquor license Number One in the state of Colorado. Henry H. Zietz, who was one of Buffalo Bill’s scouts, founded the restaurant. The restaurant chronicled the lusty and robust days of early Colorado.
The restaurant, when it first opened, catered to miners, cattle barons, railroad builders, silver barons, Indian chiefs, businessmen, gamblers and more. The restaurant got its name from a combination of two places. They were the Rio Grande Railroad yards, and the Buckhorn Lodge, where the railroaders spent the night.
In 1905, the Presidential Express stopped in the railroad yards, and President Theodore Roosevelt stopped in to have a meal. In 1938, the nephew of Sitting Bull, Chief Red Cloud and a delegation of 30 Indians, rode down the street and ceremoniously turned over to Henry Zietz the military saber taken from General George Custer during the Battle of Little Big Horn.
Along the walls, there are 575-piece collections of taxidermy, which include deer, moose, buffalo, and even a two-headed calf. There is also a 125-piece gun collection to see. The exterior structure of the building has been declared a historic landmark by the City and County of Denver in 1972.