Coming in search of gold, Charles Castello left Florissant, Missouri, travelling by ox team to Central City, Colorado in 1859. A year later, his father, James followed Charles to Fairplay Colorado, followed four years later by Jame’s wife, Catherine Hughes Castello, and their five living children. Over the next seven years they built and operated the Castello Hotel. Due to Jame’s experience as a sheriff in Missouri, the locals appointed him as a Park County judge and territorial governor appointed him as the region's Indian Agent - a position, coupled with his reputation for honest dealings with the Ute's, earned him the friendship of the Ute chiefs Ouray and Colorow. In 1865, he was elected to the first Colorado Territory Senate. You can find streets in Fairplay and Colorado Springs named after the judge, the only problem is the spelling - Costello rather than Coastello.
In June of 1870, as the placer mines petered out, they moved from Fairplay to where our restaurant sits today, at the base of “Fortification Hill“ (the rock outcropping immediately north of our building). Fortification Hill earned it name because the Ute's literally used it as a stronghold with food and weapons stores. The Utes used this 'fort' to protect junction of the Ute Pass (US 24) and Denver (Wildhorn Rd) trails and to protect the rich hunting grounds of the Florissant Valley. By the time the Costello’s arrived, the Ute trail to Manitou Springs was upgraded to a Wagon road. Taking advantage of the traffic, James opened a trading post and a hotel. He also started a ranch. Because the Castello's were friends of the Utes from James Indian Agent days, they would often have Ute guests in their home. Catherine Castello typically baked for the visiting Utes, who in return give her the nickname 'biscuits.' It is in this tradition, we carry on providing today!
Judge James Castello died in 1878. He is buried with other members of his family in the Florissant Cemetery. In 1885, the McLaughlin's purchased the this corner lot and built the current building. Additionally, the built a general store across the street. While not the original building, this store site now houses our sister restaurant, the Iron Tree and the Funky Town Brewery. If your tastes run to beer and savory snacks, stop by our beer garden.