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Dispatches from the Great Separation: The Pueblo Slopper

The Sunset Inn sits dark in Pueblo, Colo on Friday March, 27, 2020. The Sunset Inn, a Pueblo favorite for its Pueblo Slopper and cold schooners of beer, is temporarily closes as owners Gerda and Chuck Chavez, wait for the COVID-19 to pass Pueblo. (PULP Colorado)

A schooner, a Friday night, and the businesses that made Pueblo Chile a thing. It’s Friday, just after work, and you want some Pueblo comfort food with comfortable people. For decades Pueblo has turned to The Sunset Inn and Gray’s Coors Tavern.

With national appearances on TV, write-ups in food magazines, and just about every local Pueblo food recommendation – when you think about it, two eateries took “Pueblo pork green chile” and made it a national thing. A hamburger, in a bowl, smothered in green chile. Sure other cities do this, but it’s not the same without the heat of the Pueblo Chile.

But they did something else, arguably if it wasn’t for the slopper, Pueblo Chile might just still be some pepper. Demand, in this case, drove a brand.

With stay-at-home orders and social distancing, these two iconic places will now fight on in different ways. The Sunset Inn wrote on social media that Gerda and Chuck Chavez will take time off, a first, in who knows how long – temporarily closing until they can reopen.

Over at Coor’s, the Gray’s family are still making sloppers for carryout and delivery – while the baseball gloves wait for customers to return.

When one of Pueblo’s iconic Sunset Inn is dark on a Friday night, and Coors’ parking lot isn’t packed – Pueblo just doesn’t feel like Pueblo. Boy, we’re missing the day when we can have a frosty schooner again.