Tag Archives: Saguache County Colorado

Grammy’s Kitchen: Good Eats, Baked Treats

By Kathy Bedell, Saguache Today

Grammy’s Kitchen. These two simple words conjure up generations of delicious smells and sweet memories. It’s the place you go to for the good eats and specially-baked treats.

Tina Freel owns and operates Grammy’s Kitchen located at CO Highway 17 in Moffat, CO. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

And so it goes for regulars and visitors to Grammy’s Kitchen located off CO Highway 17, just south of the town of Moffat in Saguache County. In fact, this breakfast-lunch-dinner, roadside eatery has established its reputation for offering traditional, home cooked meals, at a reasonable price, since it opened its doors in January 2018. After all, this is the San Luis Valley, home to the hard-working people who work the land.   

“Dad always saw it as a gathering place for the farmers and ranchers to get together, have some coffee, and catch up on the valley news,” said owner Tina Freel in a recent interview with Saguache Today. Dad was Terry Lee “Ted” Freel, a fourth generation family man, dedicated farmer and rancher who bought the roadside building in 2013 with the intention of starting a restaurant which his daughter could own and operate so that she wouldn’t have to make the trek over Poncha Pass for work every day.

The dining room floors were re-purposed from the old school gym’s basketball courts.

“For probably the past 25 years, I knew I wanted a restaurant, having worked in food service pretty much, off and on, my whole life,” said Tina Freel who was born and raised in Moffat.

So six years ago, Terry Freel bought the building which had sat empty for nearly 20 years on the side on Highway 17, and the father and daughter team got busy with the renovation, creating a community meeting and eating place for the town. As these things go, it took years to remodel the building with salvaged materials from around the valley and months and months of sweat equity. But finally, in January 2018 Grammy’s Kitchen opened. Unfortunately, the celebration was bittersweet.

“While we were building it, Dad ended up being diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.” Tina pauses, steadying her voice. “And so he didn’t make it, to see it open. But he’s here every day.”

In fact, Terry Lee “Ted” Freel is respectfully honored at a table for one situated up front which bears his name along with his favorite things. But it’s not the only familiar thing that locals may notice.

While Terry Freel never got to see the restaurant open, “he’s here every day,” according to his daughter Tina who owns the Moffat eatery with her mother Kathy.

During the renovation of Grammy’s Kitchen, the town of Moffat was simultaneously building a new school and tearing down the old one(s). The Freels ended up salvaging a lot of materials from the old schoolhouse(s).

“We bought a lot of their equipment,” explained Freel. “The window between the dining room and kitchen is an original from the 1921 schoolhouse.” But perhaps the most notable repurpose project is the dining room floor. In fact, patrons of the restaurant might just hear the sneaker squeaks from the five generations of Freels who played basketball on the oak and maple planks harvested from the old gym, as well as recent hard-wood rehabs, which have been lovingly pieced together, creating the foundation of this family-run-and-built business.

And if the building at the corner of Highway 17 and W. 15th Street represents the soul of the eatery, then it’s heart can be found in a bowl of chicken noodle soup or on a plate of mouth-watering chicken fried steak with all the fixings. Because that’s where Grammy Freel comes into the kitchen.

“We named the restaurant after my Great Grandma, who everyone in the town of Moffat knew as Grammy Freel,” Tina said. But it’s all-in-the-family when it comes to recipes, including her mother’s bread – all baked on-premises – and green chili recipes.  View MENU HERE

The Chicken Fried Chicken sandwich is a Grammy’s Kitchen favorite, made from Grammy Freel’s secret family recipe. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell.

When asked about locally sourced food, Freel joked, “No because all of the farmers around here grow weed, and I don’t want any of that in my food. Green is good, but we ain’t going that green!” And while she may not be using any of that green in Grammy’s Kitchen, Freel is seeing the return on her family’s investment with the greenbacks which are ringing the register, albeit it from a slightly different clientele than they originally anticipated.

“Oh, I’m feeding farmers,” laughs Freel, referring to her father’s original vision of hay farmers having coffee along aside ranchers. “But it’s pot farmers, not hay farmers. And it’s sometimes two and three times a day.” In fact, in the middle of the San Luis Valley on a cold winter’s day, it’s the crews building the hemp-grows and then farming their plots, who are gathering for coffee and valley news, explained Freel expressing her gratitude to be feeding any kind of farmer in Moffat these days.

But it’s her fresh menu and the generous portions that keep those farmers coming back for more. And on Saturday nights, Grammy’s Kitchen offers a Prime Rib special that brings in a pretty good crowd, so plan ahead.

There’s plenty of seating and they have the capacity to accommodate bigger groups, evidenced by the large group of crafters exiting the restaurant after an afternoon gathering of good food and neighborly news. The dining room has a pot-bellied, gas-powered stove in one corner and a small, yet lovely display of local crafts and arts in the other. The eatery has two clean, gender-neutral bathrooms with one big enough to accommodate family and mobility challenged needs.

Down the road, Tina plans to clear off several lots to the south to accommodate the big rigs, hauling goods from Denver to Durango. But for now, motorists biggest challenge will just be pulling off the highway safely, just look for the Grammy’s Kitchen billboard sign painted on the side of an old shipping container.

Grammy’s Kitchen is located at 17396 CO Highway 17 in Moffat. They do to-go orders. You can call them at (719) 256-6000, or connect on their Facebook Page. During the winter, their hours are Tuesday thru Sunday 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. They are closed on Mondays. At some point this spring, the eatery will return to its summer schedule, open seven days and week. So, stop in and check out this eatery, where the delicious smells will bring you in and the great food will have you coming back for seconds at Grammy’s Kitchen.

Look for the Grammy’s Kitchen billboard along CO Highway 17 in Moffat.

Saguache News – October 27

Halloween Fun Awaits in Saguache Today

What a great way to kick off the holiday party season! The Kids Halloween Costume Party is being held in Saguache Today, Saturday, Oct. 27. Gather up those kiddos in costumes and head over to the Saguache Public Library from 4:30 – 6 p.m. This is a family-friendly event and snacks and prizes will be provided.


The Saguache library hosts their annual Halloween party tonight from 4:30 – 6 p.m. Photo: Photo: Lynn Nowiskee/Saguache Today.

Then don’t forget next Wednesday, Oct. 31 there will be Halloween Festivities sponsored by the Saguache Volunteer Fire Department and Mountain Valley Athletics and Activity Booster Club. The fun begins at 4:30 on Halloween with a Hayrack Ride, with the doors to the firehouse opening at 5 p.m. for a chili dinner and the popular Trunk of Treat out front. The Costume Contest will be at 6:30 p.m. and determined by age. The fire house will also have Chimfex sticks for sale for $12.

If you haven’t quite put your costume together yet, then head to downtown Saguache to the Blue Earth Mercantile and Thrift Store. It’s the perfect place to find all the things you need to get decked to for some spooky fun.

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The Annual Trunk or Treat at the Fire House will be on Halloween! Photo: Lynn Nowiskee/Saguache Today.

Saguache News – September 25

Self-Defense Class Offered Locally

On Saturday, Sept. 29 Kuma Tactical and the Saguache County Sheriff Department‘s will be putting on their women’s only self-defense class on. This class is taught by state and nationally certified instructors and has limited spaces so  sign up now!self-defense-class

This three-hour workshop is FREE and designed to increase self-confidence through awareness and prevention. You will:

  • Learn practical self-defense techniques.
  • Expand your awareness and avoid danger.
  • Find the personal safety and security tools.
  • Have the confidence you need when threatened.
  • Learn how to trust your instincts.

The women’s self-defense class will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Mountain Valley School from 9 a.m. – noon. For more information or to register contact Kuma Tactical at 719-298 -6169. Kuma Tactical teaches the free self defense classes a few times a year as part of giving back to their community. They also teach active shooter classes for schools, churches and business along with several other classes.



Saguache News – September 13

Community Meeting on Saguache Sewer Project

While initial inspections for the Saguache Sewer Project started earlier this week, a more formal Question & Answer session will be hosted by The Town of Saguache tonight, Sept. 13 from 5 – 6:30 p.m.  The meeting will discuss project start and end dates, as well as start locations. Representatives from RMS Utilities and SGM Engineering will also be in attendance to answer questions.

The meeting will be held at the Saguache County Road and Bridge, 305 3rd Street, Saguache,  This is open to all town citizens.

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A community meeting regarding the Saguache Sewer Project will be held on Monday, Sept. 17. Stay Informed! Stay Involved!

RMS Utilities is based out of Alamosa with over 30 years of experience. Some of their most recent projects include the new Wastewater Treatment Facility for the Idaho Pacific Corporation in Center, as well as the new “tower” structure at San Luis Valley Health in Alamosa. This local company understands the SLV and has proven reliability and customer satisfaction when it comes to municipal sewer installation, repairs, and replacements.  

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RMS Utilities out of Alamosa will be the contractor for the upcoming Saguache Sewer proejct. Pictured here is the new Wastewater Treatment Facility they recently built in Center. Colo. for the Idaho Pacific Corporation. Photo: RMS Utilities.

 SGM Engineering has a solid reputation across the state providing engineering solutions to Colorado communities. They have been doing this type of work for decades, so they’ll be around to address any issues or concerns that come up as the Town of Saguache initiates this very involved and necessary upgrade and replacement process for its sewer system. SGM is headquartered in Glenwood Springs, but has offices around the state, including nearby Salida and Gunnison.

Stay Informed! Stay Involved!

This video is from a presentation given by former Saguache Town Administrator Pam Fry outlining the Water and Sewer Project. This was presented in November 2016. Tonight’s meeting should give an update on the situation.

Saguache News – September 10

9/11 Memorial Ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 11

The Saguache Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) will be holding its Annual 9/11 Memorial Ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Started in 2009 by former Ute Theater owner Christine Gydesen, the event honors those who were lost during the attacks on America on September 11, 2001.

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Saguache County Emergency Responders will commemorate 9/11 on Tuesday at the fire house.

According to the SVFD Facebook Page, this special commemoration will begin and end from the fire house located at 330 Denver Ave. in downtown Saguache. The annual event includes a circle around the town of Saguache by emergency responders honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

It is a very meaningful service. Here is a Saguache Today video of the 2015 event when it was held in the park. Now you can find the commemoration just a few blocks north at the fire house.

The emergency vehicle procession will start at 6 p.m., returning to the fire house for a community gathering with light refreshments. The public is invited and encouraged to attend or take a moment at some point on September 11 to remember those who lost their lives on that fateful day.

For more information check in at the Saguache Volunteer Fire Department Facebook Page.

Sign Up for San Luis Valley Emergency Alerts

If you would like to receive Emergency Alerts please register on this site. San Luis Valley 911 has moved to a new system called Everbridge and has moved away from Code Red system. Residents are encouraged to sign-up to receive notifications. Here’s the info:

SLV_911_Emergency_2Get alerted about emergencies and other important community news by signing up for our Emergency Alert Program. This system enables us to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods.

You will receive time-sensitive messages wherever you specify, such as your home, mobile or business phones, email address, text messages and more. You pick where, you pick how. 

Remember this is also a good thing to signup for if you have a relative or friend living in the valley that you want to be alerted about in case of an emergency. Sign up today!


Emergency Responders take a moment to remember the lives lost on September 11, 2001 during the 2015 9/11 commemorative service held in Dave Martinez Park in downtown Saguache. This year the event will take place at the fire house. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

Latest News – August 1

Flowers – and Flooding – Greet Hollyhock Festival

The 6th Annual Saguache Hollyhock Festival saw a bit of sunshine last Saturday which was a welcome reprieve from relentless rain Saguache has been seeing for more than a couple of weeks.

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Byron Williams garden at the Smith Market Gallery won the blue ribbon in the Hollyhock Garden category. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

While some of the gardens experienced a pretty good hail lashing the day before the July 29 event, most sprang back to life with some tender, love and care from their owners. Garden tour-ists seemed to make a goodtime of it regardless, exchanging gardening tips and of course, conversations about the weather .

This year’s garden winners for the 2017 Saguache Hollyhock Festival could be found on the same street, but a few blocks apart. The winner in the Hollyhock Garden category was Byron Williams, artist and owner of the Smith Market Gallery. “The judges must have seen them before all this rain, when they were at their peak,” Williams said in front of is artists shop at the corner of 5th and Denver Streets. And while there were plenty of the official town flowers gracing his garden, many seemed to be bowing in homage to the ancient settlers who brought them here.

The blue ribbon top prize in the garden category went to Sarah Krantz and Dave Smalley for their entertaining and whimsical garden at 655 5th Street.

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The see-saw feature in Sarah Krantz and Dave Smalley’s whimsical garden was one of the things that garnered it the top prize for the garden catagory.

From the campfire feature to the fake alligator in the newly-formed swamp created from all the recent rain, most visitors left with a smile. But for those who really wanted to throw their heads back in laughter, it was the giant hand-crafted see-saw feature that took the cake!

And while all of the floral beauty could be seen outside, the festival’s homage to the Hollyhock continued inside the Saguache Community Center as well.

“We’ve seen about 100 people, so far,” stated Committee Member Sarah Krantz and that was only at 12:30, with two and a half hours left to the celebration. There was plenty of fun for the kiddos with Hollyhock doll making with Lacey Reed, face-painting by Town Administrator Pam Fye and the Saguache Girl Scouts kept busy making windsocks to place in gardens.

The locals show up to support the fundraising efforts from the Saguache Volunteer Fire Department serving up some delicious hamburgers and frito pie with some of those roasted chilies on top.

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The 6th Annual Saguache Hollyhock Festival brought good crowds out to the Saguache Community Center last Saturday, July 29. Want to see more photos? CLICK

The Friends of the library served their famous root beer floats and Don Baker of Evergreen Apiaries was on-hand extracting some of his delicious honey for tasting and to buy!

 In the Hollyhock art contest which is open only to residents of Saguache, it was Wade Collins who took the top price for his piece: Offering. In the youth contest which artist Samantha “Sami” Robinson’s painting “The Hollyhock” garnered the blue ribbon.

“We want to expand the art competition for next year,” said Hollyhock Committee Member Caroline Irwin. “We are hoping to get more students involved by offering some kind of art class earlier in the spring, so that they can submit work for this show.”

Girl scouts_Face Painting

The face painting with Town Administrator Pam Fye was a big hit with the kiddos!

There has also been some discussion about having a separate category for those artists who do not live within the town of Saguache, which would cast the net of submissions a bit farther as well.

That’s a wrap for the 6th Annual Saguache Hollyhock Festival report. Next up on the Chamber of Commerce event calendar is the Saguache Art Festival, which will be Saturday, August 19. Stay tuned to Saguache Today for coming details.


Latest News – July 29

Hollyhocks Celebrated in Saguache Today

Don’t let the rain deter you from getting to the 6th Annual Hollyhock Festival in Saguache Today from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. It just mean sthatthe gardens you tour today will be extra lush and green. Plus there’s plenty of fun and Hollyhock activties inside at the Saguache Community Building should the rain return.

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The Town of Saguache’s official flower – the Hollyhock – will be celebrated with great fanfare and affection at the 6th Annual Hollyhock Festival on July 29. Photo: SaguacheToday/Lynn Nowikowski.

Presented by the Saguache Chamber of Commerce, this event has grown in popularity, finding many San Luis Valley residents joining in the celebration of Saguache’s official town flower!  So if you’re looking for the shade of the tall trees and haven’t stopped into downtown Saguache for a while, be sure to include this self-guided walking tour in your plans to see what’s new.

Hollyhock Festival goers will begin their route at Otto Mears Park in Saguache. Check in at the Community Building anytime between at 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. More than a dozen gardens, some with Hollyhocks, some without, will be on display as gardeners compete for generous prizes.

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Pictured here standing next to one of the Hollyhock artworks from last year, Saguache Mayor Greg Terrell is the official Hollyhock Festival greeter. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell.

The celebration of Saguache’s official flower commemorates the dedication of early settlers who brought the hollyhocks and old-fashioned roses to the area. In addition to the delightful tour, master gardeners will hold a plant clinic. So if you’ve been wondering what’s been going on with your green thumb, this is the place to do it!  And be sure to bring the kids along for a special session on how to create a Hollyhock doll; of course the adults are welcome too! There will also be Hollyhock plants which will be potted and available to buy for your garden!

In addition to the beauty created by Mother Nature, local galleries will have their artwork on display, many pieces highlighting the delightful Hollyhock. Artists’ work will also be displayed in the Community Building, all featuring glorious Hollyhock in various mediums – painting, needlework, carving, etc. Be sure to be there at 2 p.m., when the winners of the best adult and juvenile Hollyhock art will be announced. It all leads up to the grand announcement of the first, second and third place prizes will be awarded for the best Hollyhock garden and the best general garden.

As part of the Saguache Hollyhock Festival there will be breakfast, snacks and lunch available in the Community Building as a fundraiser for the Saguache Volunteer Fire Department. So fuel up before you tour the gardens, or when you come back for the awards and announcements. In addition, those World Famous Root Beer Floats will also be offered by the Friends of the Saguache Public Library.

Hollyhock Festival Doll

Children enjoy making Hollyhock dolls from the town’s official flower while sipping on a homemade root beer float from the Friends of the Library.

Once you are finished touring the gardens, you’ll want to make a day of it! From downtown’s Magpie Art Gallery, the Hauck Pedersen art gallery and The Range to Antiques, Etc., the Fenton Studio Pottery, and Smith Market Gallery just a few blocks off main street, if you haven’t visited in a while, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see a thriving arts community in Saguache Today.

There are a lots of new and thriving businesses on 4th Street, Saguache’s downtown business and arts district. Be sure to visit the Welcome Center, along with the 4th Street Food Store, and Blue Earth Thrift Store, and don’t miss out on the new Saguache Bicycle Service shop located behind the thrift store.  Wander over to see a movie at the Cozy Castle Cinema.

There are also now a few dining options in Saguache. Of course, the 4th Street Diner and Oasis Restaurant are favorites among locals, but also check out the Village Pub now in its second summer. The Saguache Hotel is undergoing some renovation work, so be sure to “check in;” that’s just one of the many exciting things happening in Saguache Today!

So make it a lovely day of gardens and small town enjoyments at the 6th Annual Saguache Hollyhock Festival on Saturday, July 29. The Hollyhock Festival is presented by The Saguache Chamber of Commerce with the generous support from the following sponsors – Thank You! Saguache County Commissioners, North River Greenhouse in Alamosa, Monte Vista Co-op, Walmart in Alamosa & Salida, True Value in Salida, Salida Greenhouse, SLV Garden Center in Monte Vista, Always Azul in Villa Grove, Catlin’s Greenhouse in Monte Vista, Brady’s West Greenhouse in Salida, Yvonne Halburian in Saguache, Saguache Office of Rio Grande National Forest.


The garden competition includes a Hollyhock and general garden category. Pictured here is one of last year’s winners.