Located in the Town of El Dorado, on the original Lincoln Highway, and the Pony Express Trail before that, sits a little place we’re sure you’ve heard of- World Famous Poor Red’s. An iconic roadhouse with a history as storied at the town it calls home.
Originally a Wells Fargo Weigh Station, built for the Gold Rush of the 1800’s, the building of Poor Red’s has held a handful of businesses among her Century-and-a-Half existence. After burning down in the first town fire, it was rebuilt and became a brothel, then later, a general store. Only after succumbing to a second town fire in the late 1800’s, the building made a triumphant return as Kelly’s Bar in the 1920’s. Kelly sold drinks out the front while Red Sadler would sell ribs out of the back door for over two decades. Eventually, Kelly and Red wanted to part ways, so they played a game of dice to see who would get to the buy the other person out. Red Sadler won and Kelly’s Bar became Poor Red’s in 1948.
In 1952, a newlywed couple on their way to Lake Tahoe from San Francisco stopped to have a celebratory drink. The asked the bartender, Frank Cline to make them something special in their honor. Frank finally settled on a golden colored, anise-flavored drink that the new couple loved! Frank asked them to name the drink. “The Gold Cadillac” was given the title, named from the newlywed couples brand new, 1952 Cadillac parked out front. The drink consists of an Italian Liqueur called Galliano, and Poor Red’s consumes more Galliano than anywhere else in the world! Their first year back in business, Poor Red’s consumed over 250 CASES of this yellow liquid, while second place was a measly 12 cases.
In 2016, brothers Mike and Jeff Genovese teamed up with Mike Hountalas to remodel, revamp, revive and reopen Poor Reds. Bringing back the silver dollars as change when you sit in the horse shoe shaped, two-level bar, among other traditions, stared with Red Sadler in the 1940’s.
The Quintuplet brought on Dean Hiatt, a local Chef and El Dorado County native. Hiatt wanted the menu to stay true to the “Ribs, Chicken and Steaks” theme that is on the neon marque out front, while also offering a local sampling of fare, continuing the traditions of “Keeping it local, like Red always did.” Since reopening in April of 2016, Hiatt and Poor Red’s have won numerous awards for their food, drinks, and service, including: Best Burgers, Steaks, Ribs, Salads, Patio, Bar and Drinks.
To get a sample of the specialty foods served at Poor Red’s you can come to the 10th Annual Sample the Sierra!
Check out their menu and more here: http://poorreds.com/