Chasing a bone
BY MATTHEW WILBURN KING | PHOTOS BY LUKAS CROSBY
In 1997, without an inkling of knowledge about the restaurant industry, Steve Ross set out to chase that bone. He had recently relocated to Boulder after one visit to America’s Shangri-La in 1973, when he had long hair and bell-bottoms. What he found, nearly 25 years later, was an entirely different Boulder. What he didn’t find was a decent sports bar where people who didn’t call a dorm “home” could go to enjoy a decent meal and watch a game.
Ross learned lots of new tricks and opened the Lazy Dog Sports Bar and Grill with the motto: Every drink, every meal, every customer, every time. Thanks to the Lazy Dog’s early success in its first location at 28th and Iris, Ross took the leap to 1346 Pearl St. in 2004. He now has more than 60 employees working for him in a family-friendly atmosphere that serves a range of comfort food and healthy options—all from scratch. You can watch nearly any sporting event on dozens of televisions, ensuring you’ll never miss a game. If a game isn’t on one of the TVs, ask a server to change the channel and voilà, your favorite game appears.
Beyond the food, Ross made clear that part of the ethos of the Lazy Dog is that customers and employees should always feel safe. They enforce a zero-tolerance policy on any kind of inappropriate behavior, which applies to both employees and customers. The restaurant culture is also about preventing drunk driving. The Lazy Dog has a policy of not over-serving anyone, and Ross was emphatic when he said, “We’ll pay for anyone’s Lyft or Uber home and back to pick up their car the next day, and we’ll do the same for our staff. There’s always a free ride to stay safe.”
While some are closing their doors on Pearl Street, Ross started expanding the menu in Erie and Boulder in April/May of 2018, reinvigorating the current space on Pearl, and opening a new location in Johnstown, Colo. (opening in 2019). “I couldn’t afford to be here (on Pearl) if I didn’t own the building—there is no way I’d be here,” he said. It also helps that the Lazy Dog serves more than 3,000 people every day on the weekends.
His vision is to make the Lazy Dog the best sports bar with a tavern-bistro-oriented menu. “I envision a family of four arriving, the parents and two little kids roaming freely and loudly, while Dad orders up moderately priced ribs, and Mom asks for a delectable ahi tuna.”
The new bistro menu includes bacon-wrapped dates, short rib nachos and blistered shishito and Peppadew peppers with ponzu. The locals love the pappardelle alla vodka with shrimp, but don’t worry, you can still get a big fat burger, fries and chicken wings.
Along with Ross’, Boulder’s long hair and bell-bottoms may be gone, but a hunger for great food is not. As long as this Lazy Dog continues to learn new tricks, he’ll have no trouble staying.
11:30 a.m.–9 p.m.
Fri. 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Sun. 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Open at 10 a.m.
Sat. and Sun. through football season