Cafe Society

A chile welcome for Barack Obama

Good enough for the Oval Office.
Barack Obama can’t get enough of Colorado.

On Saturday afternoon, he’ll be in the Union Avenue Historic District in Pueblo – on his second trip to the Centennial state in just seven days, and his fourth since the Democratic National Convention in August. Last Sunday, Obama attracted a reported 100,000 people to his speech at Civic Center Park.

But if Obama really wants to get a taste of the state, he should check out Patti’s, a family-owned restaurant at 241 South Santa Fe Avenue in Pueblo, which has managed to blend foods from two of our most historic populations into a meal that could be – maybe even should be – Colorado’s signature dish.

The menu item, which goes by the politically incorrect name of the “Half Breed,” consists of spicy Italian sausage wrapped in a tortilla and smothered with spaghetti and green chile. Invented by the late Jim Patti, whose wife, Judy, now owns the restaurant, the Half Breed takes the classic sausage and pepper sandwich several steps further.

“You pay for it with money and then you pay for it afterward,” Judy says with a laugh. But apparently the sandwich hurts so good, since a woman in her eighties has been coming in every Saturday for a Half Breed and a margarita for years.

Since Patti’s, which has been in the Patti family since the 1930s, is only a couple of blocks from where Obama will appear, stopping by could be a great place to wrap up votes. After all, the restaurant is popular with local judges and other elected officials, and over the years has hosted the likes of bigmouth former U.S. Representative Scott McInnis, Senator Ted Kennedy and the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White.

“It would be nice, but I don’t think he’ll be coming in here," Judy says of Obama."I think they would have told us if someone that important was coming by.”

Oh. well, that leaves more food for the eighty-year-olds. – Jonathan Shikes

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes