Cafe Society

Santiago's pulling out of Black Hawk

For almost a year, Santiago's has spiced up the dining scene in Black Hawk, a spot better known for its casino buffets than green chile.

The day after Christmas 2011, the ever-growing institution opened two locations inside Bullwhackers: a full-service, 64-seat restaurant on the top floor, and an express service on the mezzanine level. But as of August 5, Santiago's is pulling out of Black Hawk.

"We just weren't making it," says an employee of the company-owned store, one of 24 units with the Santiago's name.

Carmen Morales founded the chain in Brighton back in 1990, using her mother Rachel's recipe for Santiago's now-famous "Authentic Green Chile Sauce with Pork." There are currently twenty full-service Santiago's dining locations and four limited-service or "Express" locations, spread from Arvada to Golden, all owned and operated by either a family member or their lucky friends and in-laws.

And even if fans won't be able to get a Santiago's burrito in Black Hawk after August 5, they can still feel the burn (if they plan ahead): Santiago's green chile sauce is also sold in supermarkets around town. Unfortunately, there are no supermarkets in Black Hawk...