I have never been to Black Hawk, Colorado.
A little less than an hour from Boulder, I took the venture with the man accompanying me after a warm invitation from the brand manager to tour their two casino locations in Black Hawk, Lady Luck Casino and Isle Casino, both owned by Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc.
Black Hawk, Colorado – Quick History:
Black Hawk is known as “The City of Mills,” and is one of Colorado’s oldest cities and also, the least populous city in Colorado (according to the 2000 Census). Nestled in Gregory Gultch, the strip of casinos, hotels and restaurants pop up at you after a beautiful drive through the mountains. It’s almost surreal to a first timer – like the Las Vegas of Colorado?
Let’s get to the food.
Name: Otis & Henry’s
Location: Black Hawk, Colorado in Lady Luck Casino (340 Main Street)
Cuisine: Comfort Food, American
Ambiance and Interior:
After our cruise up the mountain the man and I parked and headed straight into Lady Luck Casino. Bright and vibrant (wow, there were actually windows) we played the slots to warm up and then headed up to the second floor to Otis & Henry’s for our lunch reservation at 12:30.
At immediate glance the restaurant interior is warm, light and inviting – your attire need not be more then casual. It’s relatively laid back. Quietly in the background mellow 80’s and 90’s rock plays in the restaurant. Placed across the walls are photography of landscapes of Colorado. You can’t hear the slot machines ringing in Otis & Henry, an exact feeling of getting away and enjoying some relatively inexpensive but tasty comfort food.
We sat at a small booth near the windows (facing the craggy mountains and canyon). Michael Alton, the manager warmly greeted us and introduced us to Joe our waiter for the afternoon.
Only open for three weeks, Otis & Henry’s at Lady Luck has shiny wood floors, painted walls of a rust color with exposed brick and a fireplace in the center. For size, Michael told us he can sit about 150 people in the restaurant.
The menu is double-sided with comfort foods such as mac & cheese, sandwiches and their new salad bar. They serve breakfast all day long (even into the night, for those late night gamblers).
The prices are reasonable, which welcomes all visitors to the restaurant. Lunch items range between $6-10.
The man ordered beer battered cod, topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and tartar sauce (price $7.95). The sandwich came with fries and we both opted for the salad bar ($2.50 extra, great deal). As an appetizer, we wanted to sample the wings. The man is a connoisseur of wings and we are after all, eating comfort food.
I ordered the Cajun chicken sandwich with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayonnaise with my salad of course.
The salad and soup bar is small but I’m glad they had it. They have a mix of spinach and romaine lettuce. I put peperoncini’s, red kidney beans, croutons, cucumber and Parmesan on my salad. They had the usual necessary dressings from balsamic vinaigrette to ranch. I lightly dressed mine with Italian.
Our wings came after we ate our salads (which were great – cucumbers and lettuce were particularly fresh).
The wings are breaded prior to putting the hot sauce on, making for a thick hearty topping and more texture. We ordered them hot and were both impressed with the amount of tender meat on the bone. We both loved the wings and the man who usually puts wings on the 4-5 scale (out of 1-10) gave these an 8.
Next came our sandwiches. We didn’t have to wait, the service was fast.
I was full at this point, so I could only ate half my sandwich. The chipotle mayonnaise was a bit strong for my liking, but the chicken was tender and served on a white bun with the melted cheese. The french fries were spiced with pepper and soft, yet hot (I like mine a bit crispier) but I still finished mine.
The man devoured his cod, as fried fair he said it did the job. He enjoyed the tartar and we both felt pleasantly full from our salad, splitting wings and respective sandwiches.
Service and Experience:
After we were finished (and couldn’t do dessert!) Michael pulled up a chair and chatted with us. He talked about the extensive training his waitstaff had gone through recently (like a service boot camp). As a prior chef and now manager, he emphasizes on good food and service. For example, he has just one person who focuses on the salad bar to ensure it’s clean, fresh and filled (all day).
He said Saturday are their biggest nights, where from 5 PM to Midnight they’re packed and probably turn 400-500 people through. As the only restaurant in Lady Luck they take great pride in their customer service, support and in feedback (he sends out comment cards and loves brutal honesty).
Michael noted the other Otis & Henry’s owned by Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. have an element of focusing on what is local. For example, in their Southern location of Caruthersville they serve fried chicken, green beans and sweet potato casserole.
Michael’s kindness and personalization was greatly appreciated. He told us about his culinary and hospitality history and how much he loves his job (I said, good for him) glad to hear it. We need more stories like that. I can tell they’re in good hands.
The cuisine was simple, nothing over the top and nothing exotic but the comfort food was easy, you knew what to expect and I particularly enjoyed the warm, light interior and relaxed atmosphere.
The wings were our favorite part of the meal and hadn’t had that good of wings in a long time.
If you’re headed up to Black Hawk, you must check out Otis & Henry’s for casual dining and a break from the gambling. Order the wings, for a healthy kick hit up their salad bar and as Michael stated, their most popular item is the steak and eggs for breakfast (which you can order anytime of the day).
Website and Phone Number: http://black-hawk-ladyluck.isleofcapricasinos.com/dining-otisandhenry.aspx and 888-LADY-LUCK
Reservations: Not necessary
Food Blog: http://isleofcapricasinos.wordpress.com/
Disclaimer: I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions, photos and writing are mine. Thank you to the team at Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. – Black Hawk, for inviting us to stay and tour their casinos and restaurants (Lady Luck and Isle Casino) and for graciously taking care of the bill during the weekend.