The Fort at Fifty

Landmark restuarant celebrates a half-century of frontier-inspired food and history

Holly Arnold Kinney and hthe late Sam Arnold, creator of The Fort.
Holly Arnold Kinney and hthe late Sam Arnold, creator of The Fort.

“Every museum worth its salt has someplace to eat. When you visit The Fort south of Morrison, you feel as if you are dining in a museum.  Within the thick adobe walls are eight dining rooms decorated with Southwestern antiques, artifacts and artwork from the region’s intertwined Native American, Spanish and Anglo traditions.” That was my lead paragraph to a feature in edibleFront Range magazine several years ago.

The Fort is a restuarant like no other – an adobe recreation of Bent’s Old Fort, a fortified garrison and trading post along the Santa Fe Trail. The restaurant was the fulfillment of the dream of the late Sam Arnold, ad man, history buff, culinary historian and passionate advocate for the frontier West. Sam’s saughter, Holly Arnold Kinney, runs it now, doing honor to her father’s vision. This is The Fort’s 50th anniversary month, and the Denver Post’s Kristin Browning-Blas told the story as well as anyone. She started her piece. “The Fort Tuns 50” by writing, “The Fort might be the only restaurant in the country that can say it has served world leaders, American presidents and a bear.” Tomorrow evening, The Fort celebrates with a house concert featuring the legendary Ian Tyson, a singer who captures the era evoked at The Fort.

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