The Stone’s delivers green chili flavor with (almost) every bite | food drink

If you lived in the south For quite some time in Colorado, you’ve probably taken sides in the great green chili debate: hatch-grown or Pueblo chilies?

But here’s a twist: What if the answer is neither? Restaurateur and former Colorado Springs resident Todd Duplantis brings another variety to the ring. All of the peppers he uses at Stone’s Sports Grill and Bar are grown in a small town of about 5,000 people called Tucumcari, New Mexico. I find it charming that the producer – who keeps three freezers full of chili peppers at the end of each season just for Duplantis – is a friend he’s known from his days on the Tucumcari High track team.

Duplantis once served his city as a city commissioner and already owns two restaurants in Tucumcari: Kix on 66 and Cornerstone’s First Edition Pizza & Subs. The Stone’s operates as a partner restaurant of the latter, which he has owned for five years. They share similar New Mexico-inspired menus, but Stone’s opened here in December 2021 as a cooler sister, with a full bar that’s unavailable in New Mexico due to prohibitive liquor licenses, says -he. Housed in the former location of Slinger’s BBQ (previously Sarges’ Grill), Stone’s retains the remains of both businesses, including a wood-paneled “saloon” that houses a pool table and insignia-encrusted bar top military. Duplantis commissioned an artist from New Mexico to add pizzazz in the form of an eye-catching mural that depicts the more than 300-mile route from Colorado Springs to Tucumcari.

We pass by to try the menu and have a few cold ones. I didn’t check their Facebook page before going, and we just happened to show up at an open mic night. Stone’s is looking to make a name for itself in the community with near-night events, including comedy and biker nights as well as live music. (So ​​yeah, do what I does not have do and check their Facebook page to see what’s going on.) For a random weeknight, we find the place brilliant. We have a drink at the bar and sit at a table near the stage.


The roast beef melts with green peppers.

Duplantis tells us that Stone intentionally places the “grill” before the “bar” in their name because he doesn’t see it primarily as a place for fancy cocktails; he wants guests to leave remembering the food. That said, drink pricing is good, with a solid variety of local and domestic craft beers on tap in the $5-6 range, and standard liquor options. We try a vodka soda with homemade strawberry syrup, which initially sips extremely vodka, so I ask for more soda. We start our meal with Stone’s signature chile relleno pizza – what cheese dreams are made of – with a thick mozzarella base and layers of whole green chiles topped with cheddar cheese, dough and crushed tortilla chips.

Each bite, not too spicy, fuses the classic Mexican restaurant dish with a classic pizza experience, and I can truly attest that I have never had anything quite like it. Whole green chilies make all the difference. Stone tosses his pies by hand, and the effort is noticeable when I get to the last bites of rolled, chewy crust. As another appetizer, we order the Fried Green Tomatoes, one of many fried options, with a homemade cornmeal batter. They chew crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, nothing special, but also nothing to complain about if you’re looking for a quick snack.

Then: the New Mexican Burger and a melting green pepper. As on the pizza, the green chili in the burger is quite tasty, but not overwhelming. It’s a solid burger, and I especially enjoy the buttered, toasted bun, because there’s nothing worse for me than a soggy burger. Cast iron is also stable so simple, with roast beef, cheddar and the stylized green chili on a grilled hoagie. The ingredients taste high quality and a generous serving of sides makes for a hearty meal. For a crispy choice, stick with the wedge fries or onion rings, as we find the sweet potato fries a flop.


The hand-prepared chili relleno pizza.

Finally, we sample Duplantis’ Colorado Cheesesteak, a dish he invented days before opening, as a specialty plate not available at his New Mexico restaurants. I’m not sure what screams “Colorado” about the beef brisket with BBQ sauce, Pepper Jack, onions and jalapeños on toasted bread initially, but the sandwich delivers a savory flavor from the tender meat. On the menu, the sandwich claims to come on jalapeño cornbread, but tonight we have toasted sandwich bread. If the quality of the rest of the bread from their vendors remains consistent, I suspect the cornbread might take this sandwich from good to memorable, so I’ll have to come back for a second taste.

And on reflection, I realize what puts this cheesesteak in Centennial State rather than Enchantment Land: the absence of green chiles. Elsewhere, the menu showcases New Mexico’s beloved export so well that here we have a moment to rest from its earthy warmth. For me, Tucumcari peppers are what make The Stone’s menu: the subtly spicy, yet still sweet and smoky peppers offer a unique take on common dishes like pizza and burgers. And Stone’s decision to leave them whole instead of diced ensures they’re the flavor you’ll remember.

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