Cover Story – Isle Casino Hotel Black Hawk provides incomparable experience
By Tom Barry
The drive to Black Hawk and Central City from Denver made me recall the splendor of previous trips to the area. Recent rains had greened up the foliage, as fall colors are right around the corner. Some of the tall aspen trees are already showing early signs of changing to the brilliant fall colors.
My friend suggested we take the Central City Parkway into the gaming district. The well maintained wide road and ample-sized lanes made it easy to traverse the drive into the historical districts. We later took the colorful canyon road back to the city.
We headed directly to the Isle Casino Hotel Black Hawk and drove into their expansive parking lot and quickly found an open space in just minutes. With some luck, we actually found a spot right adjacent to the entrance to the elevators.
Once inside The Isle, we went to Calypso’s Buffet to view the offerings. There was a sign noting the “Made-to-order Pasta and Omelets,” which made our decision an easy one to each go for the superb all-you-can-eat lunch buffet.
I found numerous selections that were posted, including barbecue peach pangasius and chicken ala king. The buffet also offers freshly sliced smoked brisket and a roasted turkey breast.
Calypso’s even serves fresh “never frozen” horseradish cream, a treat that I have not found in most
Denver area restaurants.
“Ninety percent of the food we serve at Calypso’s is homemade and prepared from scratch,” said James Gilmer IV, the Chef D’Cuisine at The Isle. “We even make our pizza dough from scratch.”
The tempting selections were freshly made and continually replenished, as many of the
offerings were creatively presented in their respective dishes. I quickly noticed the perfectly prepared mini turkey club sandwiches grilled golden brown to perfection that included fresh lettuce and tomato. The biggest challenge was selecting from the extensive array of entrees and specialty items that were freshly prepared.
I then took a second large white plate and headed to choose some fruit and vegetables and some side dishes. The staff assistant had just filled up the fruit bowl with a colorful assortment of fresh berries. Behind the berries was a selection of freshly cut melon pieces that were delectably juicy. There was also a full salad bar featuring a complete line of nutritious fresh items.
After seeing my friend’s made-to-order pasta dish, I could not resist. I decided to have a healthy dish with an assortment of fresh vegetables, cheeses, some mushrooms and a bountiful helping of sizable shrimp that I conveyed to Amanda O’Rorke, the patient and pleasant cook tending to the pasta and omelet bar. Minutes later the dish was grilled to perfection and ready for me to savor the hot and appetizing ingredients on a separate plate.
We then enjoyed our lunch in a comfortable and spacious setting.
Calypso’s Buffet is definitely worth the drive from the metro area for the bountiful selection of wholesome and appetizing selections of hot entrees, fresh fruits and vegetables and delectable desserts at a very reasonable price.
“I judge a buffet by the potatoes and they were great,” said Evelyn Ford. “This buffet has freshly prepared potatoes, not a mix like some other places.”
Evelyn and her husband Terry drove from Colorado Springs to entertain their friends Ronnie and Ann, who were visiting from Dallas, Texas.
Farraddays’ one of the best
I then ventured into Farraddays’ Steakhouse to check out the ambiance of one of the state’s top restaurants. The formal dining room, named after a worldly adventurer, is quiet and subdued and can accommodate a special romantic date for two, a group of friends or larger groups in the private and secluded room.
“We are far enough to be a getaway but still close enough to drive back home or spend the night in our hotel,” said Johnny Graziano, the food and beverage manager of the Isle Casino Hotel Black Hawk. “We pride ourselves on the quality of our extensive food offerings that are prepared by our expert chef and his staff.”
Brian Watts, vice president and general manager of The Isle, said, “Farraddays’ has the best lobster bisque in the Denver area. “Farraddays’ is competitively priced and its food quality is comparable with the other well known restaurants in Denver, rivaling the top competitors.”
He shared that this respected and top-notch restaurant features locally sourced buffalo, certified Angus beef, along with fresh fish. Farraddays’ also offers guests nightly specials, which recently included sea bass and barracuda.
In addition, the Isle also provides guests a new menu at the adjacent Tradewinds Restaurant that features what the staff claims is the “best burger in Black Hawk.” The appetizing offerings range from the classics to a green chili and chipotle to the black and blue or mushroom and Swiss burger. Tradewinds also offers a mouthwatering cheeseburger burrito in a bright and colorful setting.
The Isle also provides guests a newly remodeled 402-room hotel. The guest rooms and suites are well appointed, roomy and comfortable with some exceptional views in this quaint mountain community.
“We wanted to be in the middle of the area in the casino district,” said the Gamroths from Casper, while enjoying their mini-vacation at The Isle. The couple said they loved their spacious and comfortable hotel room.
Something for every player
We then walked into the casino area and saw what game players experience with the Isle’s 1,100 slots and 24 table games, including nine poker tables. The spacious casino makes it easy for players to enjoy the diverse selection of slots, table games and other venues.
The extensive staff at The Isle was notably friendly, as many wore smiles on their faces. The staff’s positive attitude and considerate style made our adventure enjoyable and a refreshing experience for the afternoon.
“It’s all about the employees and the customer experience,” said Watts. “Any casino can buy the same slots and provide comparable offerings. It’s about the relationship our staff has with our customers at The Isle that makes the experience special.”
The Isle has recently introduced a newly expanded overflow room for players, which includes a table games pitfeaturing nine blackjack tables and a craps table. This spacious and nicely decorated area will provide an added dimension to the player’s experience.
In addition, The Isle has just remodeled their large bar to be more spacious and efficient to serve players, providing a more expansive area that is surrounded by big screen televisions providing continuous sports entertainment.
As the Denver Broncos approach the regular season games, the Isles extensive array of big screen TV’s will be telecasting the entire game, along with pre and post game interviews for guests to enjoy while playing there favorite games and slots.
The Rockies games are also telecasts around the Casino to enjoy throughout the remainder of season. A wide selection of televisions assures sports enthusiasts will be able to catch almost every game and related programming.
This promotion is bound to attract a lot of attention from current and potential players with an opportunity to potentially win up to $1 million. It is expected that the lever on the massive and brightly lit slot will receive a lot of action during this noteworthy promotion.
“Players have a chance at winning the Million Dollar Mega Slot on Fridays in September from 4 until 10 p.m. For every 20 unadjusted points you earn on your player’s card, you will receive a pull on our gigantic slot machine with a chance to win up to $1 million. Other prizes may also be awarded, based upon your spin,” said Kari Johnson, The Isle’s advertising and public relations manager.
Win a 2014 Ford Explorer or $25,000 Cash
Beginning Sept. 2 through Oct., The Isle will offer players a chance to win a new 2014 Ford Explorer or up to $25,000 in cash, according to Johnson. In addition to the drawing for the Explorer or cash there will be drawings for $1,000 at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
“It’s up to you take the wheels or the cash deal,” said Johnson.
Players receive one free swipe per day and earn additional entries for every 20 adjusted points during the promotional period. Increase your chances by playing on Tuesdays to receive 25X entries.