Pueblo has plenty of local treasures putting the city on the map, but none is quite as delicious as the slopper.
A burger topped with Pueblo green chilies (and a variety of other toppings), the delicacy is the city's unique contribution to the food world. Today, more than 25 Pueblo restaurants slop up sloppers, and they're all a little different.
Gray's Coors Tavern vs. Sunset Inn
Which one is the best? In April 2010, the Travel Channel set out to answer that question.
“Travel Channel found out about the Pueblo slopper on the Internet and called us in early April 2010 to get everything in motion,” says Chuck Chavez, who owns the slopper-selling restaurant Sunset Inn Bar & Grill with his wife, Gerda.
Sunset Inn and fellow slopper purveyor Gray’s Coors Tavern were contacted by the Travel Channel to compete slopper vs. slopper in an episode of Food Wars, the TV show that pits two restaurants against one other in a competition to prepare a signature dish unique to their particular city.
Gray's Coors serves an open face slopper with two burger patties, cheese, green chili, large pieces of pork, and optional crackers for the soupy mix. The Sunset's supersized version tops a 3/4 pound cheeseburger on an oversized bun with the all-important hot green chili sauce, melted cheese, crackers, tortillas and onions.
More than 1,000 spectators were in attendance for the show’s taping at the spacious Pueblo Union Depot, where five local judges picked their favorite in a blind taste test.
And the Winner Is...
The "Food Wars" winner was Sunset Inn, although the victory has been hotly debated in Pueblo.
“Honestly, we really make the best slopper in Pueblo – most people know that we do,” owner Donnie Gray says.
But the real winner is any adventurous foodie in Pueblo, who has the chance to try more than 25 versions of the local delicacy.
Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce president Rod Slyhoff said the chamber is planning to organize a Slopper Days Celebration in addition to including a slopper cook-off competition during Pueblo’s annual Loaf ‘N Jug Chile & Frijoles Festival.
Other Sloppers Around Pueblo
“That way a person could try different sloppers all over the city,” he says.
And since the episode aired in September 2010, Pueblo has been doing a booming slopper business.
Gray of Gray’s Coors Tavern said during Food Wars, a Travel Channel representative told him the restaurant's business would never be the same after the episode aired.
“And she was right,” he says. “The show has been great for both places because many residents of Pueblo never visited Coors Tavern or Sunset Inn before the airing. Now they do."
Find more on Pueblo, CO's chile sloppers.