Longtime Montezuma County resident Brian MacPherson plans to honor the past with his new Dolores restaurant, The Railroad Cafe.
MacPherson has wanted to own a restaurant, and in late December he got the chance to lease the building on South 11th Street previously occupied by That Place in Dolores. The Railroad Cafe, which opens soon, has a train theme in honor of Dolores’ history as a railroad stop and MacPherson’s late father, Gary, who was a train enthusiast.
Most of the decor in the restaurant, such as a model train and several pictures of mountain railroads, belonged to Gary MacPherson, who died in 2014.
“All this stuff was just in boxes, collecting dust,” MacPherson said. “I thought I’d put it to good use, to kind of honor him.”
His mother, Sandy, who helped clean the building for its opening, said the location just north of Railroad Avenue and a few blocks from the Rio Grande Southern Railroad Museum helped them decide on a theme.
“It seemed appropriate,” she said.
Like That Place in Dolores, The Railroad Cafe will serve medium-priced, homestyle food for all three meals, but MacPherson hopes to bring his own style to the table.
Although the restaurant’s ingredients currently are supplied by Sysco Corp., MacPherson plans to buy as much food as possible from local farmers, starting this summer.
Among the dishes he’s most excited to serve are his buttermilk fried chicken and chicken-fried steak. The menu also includes chicken and waffles, breakfast burritos, burgers, catfish and salmon.
“If people want to go out and eat, they want something good,” MacPherson said. “Otherwise, they could just throw something in out of their freezer.”
The former painting contractor has dabbled in food most of his life, but this will be his first time running his own restaurant. He said he was ready to get out of the paint business, as he believed the constant exposure to chemicals was making him sick. Now, he’s ready to “go all in” with his new business.
The restaurant still has one or two staff positions to fill. MacPherson didn’t spend much time or money on advertising, since he believes the best advertising is through word of mouth, but he plans to create a Facebook page and website for the restaurant. In the meantime, he’s confident his neighbors in Dolores will appreciate the food.
“I know it’s going to be a hit,” he said.
MacPherson’s original plan was to open the restaurant on Feb. 17, but he said a kitchen appliance failed about two hours before the opening. He plans to open as soon as he gets a replacement part.