Silver Grill History

Flossie Widger
The Silver Grill Cafe is the oldest restaurant in Northern Colorado, serving breakfast and lunch since 1933 and with roots going all the way back to 1912. Wooden floors, huge windows looking out on Old Town, and brick walls, booths and tables lend the place character. The Silver Grill’s breakfasts and lunches are legendary. They have been named the best in all of Colorado by news stations and lauded by local and national publications. They are known for their gigantic homemade cinnamon rolls, made fresh daily and oozing with sweet sugary toppings.

The history of the “Grill” traces back over 99 years to 1912. Originally, located at 212 Walnut Street, it was known as the Uneeda-Lunch Café, and owned by Charlie Liggett and Chink Brown. Charlie and Chink had purchased the café from a disgruntled shop owner for a mere $140. Shortly after their purchase, Chink left the business and a new partner joined Charlie, Leonidas “Flossie” Widger.

The proud name, “Silver Grill,” came from a hungry sign painter who thought of the name. He painted it on the window and traded it for a pork chop lunch, which is featured on our menu today.

Charlie and Flossie continued operating the Silver Grill until 1918 when they sold out to seek other opportunities. On October 28, 1933, Flossie returned to lease the building at 218 Walnut Street. He and his family operated the business until 1949, when his son, Pete, and new partner Max McDowell took over.

The “Grill” continued to prosper for the next 30 years. In 1979, the “Grill” was sold to John Arnolfo, and then partner, Mike Gress. The “Grill” closed November 1987 to expand into its second building. Reopening in January 1988, the “Grill” continued to grow and prosper with the increased popularity of its Giant Cinnamon Rolls. In the summer of 1990, buildings three and four were acquired and another expansion was in the future, a fifth building was acquired and another dining room was opened in March 1996. In the summer of 2000, the last major expansion was completed, which included a newly remodeled kitchen and restroom area. In the spring of 2003, a back outdoor patio was opened.

Still today, the Silver Grill is carrying on with good home style cooking, serving breakfast and lunch, seven days a week, and evening events on request. We invite you to come visit us and experience our tradition once enjoyed by the hungry sign painter.

Click to View a Timeline of the Entire Silver Grill’s History

Silver Grill History Timeline