THC Scare Trickles Down to Jean's Family Kitchen, Hugo's Only Eatery

Hugo water tank on a sunny July morning.
Hugo water tank on a sunny July morning.
Kevin Kearney

Headed to Hugo for a meeting yesterday, I texted a friend whose parents live in the small plains town two hours from Denver, asking for a breakfast spot. "There's only one restaurant in Hugo," she responded. "Jean's."

And even Jean's Family Kitchen is closed today: Yesterday afternoon, Hugo officials warned the 720 residents of the town not to use its tap water because preliminary tests had come back positive for THC. That sparked a series of state and federal investigations; the culprit has been narrowed down to one well that's been sealed and secured. Even so, officials recommend that the public avoid the water until the weekend.

Despite Hugo's status as the capital of Lincoln County — which does not allow either retail or medical marijuana stores and has only 62 registered MMJ patients — the town is usually pretty quiet. Much of the morning action is at Jean's, where regulars settle into comfy booths for breakfast sandwiches, lots of neighborly conversation and endless cups of Farmers Brothers coffee, a fixture at so many cafes in small towns across the West. Coffee is just seventy cents at Jean's. Those breakfast sandwiches are a bargain, too.

No charge for water, which tasted just fine.

No one is answering the phone at Jean's today, but it should be back in business this weekend. In the meantime, you can read the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment advisory on Hugo's water.


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