Mostly forgotten since CF&I closed, there are things happening in Bessemer demanding a fairer outlook.
When my new wife and I decided to plant roots in our longtime hometown of Pueblo in the fall of 2013, we had some things to consider; Where in town did we like? What were we looking for in a house? In a neighborhood? We had lived downtown, blocks from the Courthouse. We had rented a small house on the east side of town, near our respective parents. Although we loved the house, the area did not seem to suit us. Not because we had any fear or trepidation about living there. On the contrary, we had both grown up and loved our extended stays in parts of town some people seem afraid to venture. But in the end, we decided we needed a home base that was closer to both our places of business and near to where we liked to spend the majority of our leisure time.
In the end, we decided on the area known as Bessemer. One of Pueblo’s oldest neighborhoods.
The storied history of the Bessemer neighborhood, nestled against a towering steel mill forever tied to its legacy. What should be addressed is the perception of it as a place. There are plenty of people that pontificate on the “bad” parts of town, meanwhile never spending any time with them. Because if they did, they’d see a truly unique and vibrant community, full of crackle and personality, brimming with old charm, and just as importantly — new promise.
Take, for instance, Tacos Navarro. Formerly known as King Taco, the unassuming building located at 217 East Northern Ave, just of the I-25 overpass, sports painted black brickwork and Tacos Navarro established 2004 painted plainly on its side, white on black. A slogan above it advertises it as “Home of the Street Tacos”. But this building houses one of Bessemer’s and Pueblo’s best-kept secrets.
The fare offered at Tacos Navarro is simple, which is not a slight against them by any means. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Tacos prepared simply offering a fantastic and flavorful product that is fresh and authentic not to mention deliciously addicting; that will forever beat any of the strip mall chain restaurants popping up on Pueblo’s north side.
Tacos Navarro is not the only one turning the axis in Bessemer. The recent overhaul of Polito’s Beer Barrel and the newly opened Maks show something is happening in Bessemer.
That change is in the air not only with Bessemer’s restaurants but in some of its’ bars, too.
Opened in August of 2015, Stacks is slowly altering the sometimes negative way in which people see bars in Bessemer. But the “Bessemer Bar” has always been the image of every bar in Pueblo.
Offering up an impressive array of small batch craft beers on tap all made in Colorado, Stacks Bar, located at 2100 E Evans Ave, sits just across from the smokestacks from the steel mill. A bar that is easy-on-the-eyes, Stacks is not your run-of-the-mill Budweiser-signs-on-the wall type of place, it offers up a welcome change update, with gorgeous murals running the span of the walls and eclectic and fun artwork displayed all over its’ interior from various up and coming Pueblo artists.
Unique events abound as well at Stacks, with the bar hosting Democratic Debate Parties that look more like Bronco ragers than stuffy old debates. Add to that a monthly comedy showcase every first Friday and various local musicians and themed events, and you find a bar that is trying to create a fun and unique atmosphere for its patrons, one that connects with its community.
Bessemer may have its problems, ones in which we as a city should not ignore nor downplay, but something is happening in Bessmer. In the time lived in the 81004, the historic buildings of Bessemer, the friendly and welcoming neighbors and the resurgence of eateries around, it’s time Bessemer gets another look.