The restaurant scene in Telluride is pretty glamorous. His restaurants get mentions in fancy publications like the New York Times and Vogue, win prestigious awards and have fans from all over the world.
The other side is that the local food industry is a close-knit community, which generously nurtures fresh talent, so that when one of them has a really good business idea, he or she has the knowledge and experience and necessary support to take that idea from concept to reality.
So is Cody Yates, who recently opened Borracho’s BBQ & Tacos at Poachers Pub in Mountain Village.
Yates explained that in the eight years he’s lived here, he’s worked as a chef in nearly every restaurant at Telluride Ski Resort, gaining experience and expertise with each new role.
“After being trained by some of the best chefs Telluride has to offer, it definitely boosted my confidence to dive in fully,” Yates said.
Yates added that Adam Pace, head chef at Tomboy Tavern, was a particular influence.
“Adam taught me how to be a chef,” Yates said simply.
Even Yates’ love of barbecue is the result of a mentorship relationship from his first restaurant job, when he was just a teenager.
“Charlie Costigan from Jack’s Barbecue, in Florida where I grew up, was the first person to give me a job and teach me how to take ownership,” Yates explained, adding that Borracho’s house Golden Carolina sauce is inspired by a classic Costigan’s recipe.
Yates continued, “Borracho’s came about after I bought my own smoker and started making smoke dinners for friends on holiday weekends like the Fourth of July, and using other recipes inspired by working at Jack’s.”
Last year, friends of Yates who work at Poachers informed owner Adam Singer that he was interested in leasing the pub’s kitchen and put the pair in touch with positive results.
Singer said: “With the employee housing crisis, we were struggling just to open the kitchen regularly and I felt I had to think outside the box. Cody came to our first meeting very prepared. He already had his own unique menu planned and I thought it might be great for poachers. Most importantly, we had similar ideas to make both companies successful.”
“I can’t thank Adam enough for believing in me and giving me this incredible opportunity,” Yates noted. “Since I moved to Colorado, it has been a dream to open a restaurant and have complete creative freedom. I feel so blessed to be able to do this in the city I fell in love with.”
Hungry guests will also feel blessed.
The menu — emblazoned with the Borracha logo created by artist Devon D’Ambrosio — is small but inviting, with nachos, tacos, empanadas and sliders, sides like tots, tostones with mojo sauce and smoked beans.
There are also rotating smoked specials, such as this week’s prime rib dinner with coleslaw, smoked beans and jalapeño cornbread.
“However, you can dine in, you can definitely get takeout,” Yates said. “I also have a menu option called ‘Crew Food,’ where you can order a large amount of meat and sides, and kind of cook your own style at home for families and groups.”
According to Yates, early favorites include Gringo Tacos (sliced chicken and chorizo tacos with pineapple, pico, queso fresco, tots and signature sauce) and Smoked Sliders, which are mixed smoked pork and turkey topped with lettuce and that Golden Carolina sauce.
Borrach’s soft opening was on January 3rd.
How was it so far?
“The best thing about my job is definitely the local support,” Yates said. “There is no way I could have done any of this without my friends and locals who believed in me and loved what I could bring. And I want to give a shout out to my family, who really believed I could do this and supported me every day to help make this happen.
“This was a team effort of family, friends and the local crowd who constantly encouraged me and believed that I could bring good barbecue to Mountain Village.”
See for more @borrachostelluride on Instagram or stop by Poachers Pub at Sunshine Plaza in Mountain Village.