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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 11 November 2018  

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  Black Forest Pies and Grinders
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Black Forest Pies and Grinders, a locally owned restaurant in Black Forest, Colorado, first opened in 2001; after the owners of the building and the restaurant closed their doors in 2005, the building housed various businesses. The restaurant reopened as the original Black Forest Pies and Grinders in 2011, and business has been going strong ever since.
   Although the dining area is small, there are five flat-screen televisions that provide entertainment for the patrons — and takeout also is available.
   The no-frills menu provided a variety of options. For starters, we ordered the fried pickles and fried mushrooms, which arrived piping hot with a tasty Ranch dressing. The pickles breading was a bit overcooked but overall the appetizers were well-received.
   Given that the restaurant clearly boasts pizza pies and grinders –- the latter is basically an East Coast term for a sub or hoagie sandwich –- we felt compelled to try both. We sampled the cheese pizza with ham and pineapple from the kids’ menu for the younger members of our party, and then ordered three different sandwiches: the hot Italian grinder, the chicken parmesan grinder and the hot beef cheesesteak.
   The Italian grinder featured pepperoni, ham and salami topped with provolone, lettuce, tomato and onion on a fresh hoagie bun. It was good — a little light on the oil and vinegar dressing, but the server promptly brought additional dressing and that solved the issue.
   The chicken parmesan grinder also started off with a fresh hoagie roll, toasted to perfection with just the right amount of crunch. The breaded chicken was tender and moist, and the hearty marinara sauce and melted cheese put this sandwich into the “would definitely order again” category.
   Although not technically listed as a grinder, the hot beef cheesesteak also came on a fresh and flavorful toasted hoagie bun. Because each cheesesteak can be customized to fit the palate of any customer, the combinations were more plentiful than the other sandwiches. This version included provolone cheese, with sautéed onions and green peppers — the meat had a nice, bold flavor; but the cook could have piled on more veggies, which would have skyrocketed this sandwich from “good” to “great.”
   All the sandwiches were accompanied by a side of crisp, thin French fries that were plentiful and yummy.
   The Stromboli, which featured pepperoni and sausage with melted mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, was paired with a side of marinara sauce for dipping. The bread for the sandwich was excellent and crispy on the outside, and the dish met the mark for a scrumptious Stromboli.
   The self-proclaimed “famous” wings were labeled mild; however, the boneless chicken wings, served with a side of Ranch, were hot to me. I would say be prepared for a much spicier flavor, but we all know spice and temperature levels are a deeply personal matter. Others in our party thought the wings were spot on.
   The service was top-notch. Initially, we had ordered wings as part of the meal but a communication mixup occurred, and we did not get them with the rest of the meal. The staff readily offered to cook a batch at no charge, and that got a thumbs-up from everyone. We were pleased with the service.
   We opted for two different desserts: the Zeppolis and the carrot cake. The Zeppolis, which are knots of deep-fried dough rolled in powered sugar, had a pleasantly soft inside with a crispy exterior. The order came with eight pieces for $3.49 — the value cannot be beat.
   The flavors of the carrot cake and the frosting were good, but the cake’s texture was dense — possibly from being frozen.
   The overall consensus of Black Forest Pies and Grinders was positive. The small-town atmosphere, coupled with good food and ample options are certainly reasons that the restaurant was hopping with both dine-in and take-out customers, even on a Wednesday night.
   The restaurant is located at 11470 Black Forest Road.
The Stromboli, which features pepperoni and sausage with melted mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, at Black Forest Pies and Grinders got a thumbs up from this reviewer. Photo by Robin Widmar
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