Relax and let them cook your catch at Ted’s Sweetwater Grill & Trout Pond in Windsor
Catching a fish and preparing it for dinner could be one of the coldest and freshest meals.
Most likely, you would expect to find a restaurant with a crochet and cook program near a marina or by a lake, but sometimes a small pond near your home might surprise you.
There’s such a small landlocked pond just a short drive from Greeley at Ted’s Sweetwater Grill in the RainDance community of Windsor. The pond is one of the man-made bodies of water that dot the Water Valley development.
The family-friendly neighborhood restaurant at the corner of Crossroads and Covered Bridge Parkway sports its own bait shop next to the restaurant patio. Ted’s Trout Pond is stocked with rainbow trout from a Nebraska fish farm and receives approximately 500 stock per week. At any one time, around 1,000 fish are waiting for a hook.
Matt Nagle, catering manager at RainDance, said most people take their catch home after the restaurant cleans it and puts it on ice. But the grill can also beer batter and fry your catch, then serve it fish and chip style with fries and a side of tartar sauce.
Carter Emsing, one of the anglers working at the bait shop, said summer is the busiest, with at least 100 fish being caught each week.
“Fishermen try to understand how the trout act and help the children who come to fish,” he said.
Any age can cast a line, although Emsing said the majority of people fishing are children or people with little fishing experience. Once a trout is hooked, customers are welcome to bring it in and keep it or, if they don’t want to, they can donate the fish to the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program in Fort Collins. Guests are not allowed to catch and release.
To fish, a $12 day pass is required, which includes entry to the private pond, rod, bait and tackle donated by Scheels. There is a $40 refundable deposit for fishing equipment. The cost of the fish depends on the size of the big fish you catch – it’s $1.25 per inch and you pay for what you take out of the water, which Emsing says ranges between 11 and 20 inches.
It costs $3 to have your fish cleaned to take home, or you can ask the restaurant chef to cook it for you. Drop a line, take your dinner out of the water, then sit back, relax and reflect on the mishmash of found objects hanging from the restaurant’s rafters while you wait for your meal.
For non-fishermen, Ted’s all-day menu, designed by Executive Chef John Wightman, is varied, but highlights ingredients that have been grown or raised in Colorado.
There’s a slew of burgers, including the house favorite Grandma’s Burger, topped with brie, fig spread, spinach and lemon-pepper aioli. Fish and seafood keep the water theme afloat, no materials required. Try the blackened shrimp tacos with carrot and cucumber salad and spicy Thai chili aioli or fish tacos with trout or pickerel.
Landlubbers (non-fish lovers) can get the same taco preparation with grilled chicken.
Classic bites include a Cobb salad and sharing dishes like shrimp cocktail, cheese curds and spinach and artichoke dip.
After 5 p.m., the menu expands but stays the course with fish, including seared walleye or scallops and steaming Cioppino brimming with shrimp, clams, mussels and walleye in a spicy tomato broth. There are also Colorado-raised steak fries made with a 10-ounce rib eye served with truffle fries.
On weekends, the grill offers brunch with hearty omelets, eggs Benedict, and cookies and gravy — all accompanied by a satisfying mound of green cheddar potatoes served hash-style. Sweet tooths will be completely satiated with four-quarters of French toast and brunch purists will delight in another fishy menu choice: smoked salmon with capers, egg and cream cheese on a bagel.
The brunch menu also serves burgers, tacos, and a Reuben, as it’s common knowledge that people’s hunger juices wake up at different times on the weekends.
Ted’s Sweetwater Grill was formerly the Colorado Cherry Company, which still operates out of Ted’s kitchen as a commissioner to bake their beloved pies and treats. A cherry pie shop at the entrance sells pies, fruit salsas, and candies.
Ted’s is named after the father of Windsor promoter Martin Lind, Ted Lind, who farmed the neighborhood where the restaurant is now located, growing wheat, corn, pinto beans and sugar beets, according to the website. .
This farm-to-table theme is integrated into life in the RainDance community; residents can pick cherry and plum trees in season. Behind Ted’s is a field of actively cultivated corn; Halloween week brings Octoberfest with a corn maze and a big family restaurant party.
But the experience of crocheting and cooking slows time, recalling the days when life was slower and our connection to the land around us seemed closer. In a way, it’s an opportunity to take a mini-vacation, just minutes from home.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday | 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday | 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday | 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday | Brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays |
Where: 2191 Covered Bridge Drive, Windsor, CO 80550
Contact: For fishing and other info: 970-460-1720 | tedssweetwatergrill.com
Other details: Dining room inside and on the terrace (water view) | Full bar with craft cocktails, beer, wine
RainDance residents get the first five inches of their catch free with their River Resort ID. Water Valley residents can receive the same offer with their recreation pass | Follow events on social networks | Tent available for private parties | Check the website for fishing details