Review by: Jess Dawson

If you walk down the main drag in Pagosa Springs, you can’t miss Kip’s. It’s busy from the minute it opens until well after it’s scheduled to close. But we’ve heard they have the best tacos in Pagosa Springs, so put our name in and head next door to the Neon Mallard to wait. (The Neon Mallard has excellent cocktails and outdoor seating so you can see when the host at Kip’s is ready for you.)

A Southwest start

Inside, the lighting is low. On the wall are old license plates and signs that say things like, “Eat potatoes. Rice will make you gain weight.” 

We start with the special: a Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Green Chile vinaigrette. It’s simple and fresh, with creamy local goat cheese and tangy red beets. 

Next: six mozzarella-stuffed Roasted Green Chiles. They’re long, thin and charred, and served with a delicious salsa fresca that tastes like it has tomatillos, with a more nuanced type of spice than the chiles, which are almost hot to touch on the tongue. The flour tortillas are small and slightly charred, served warm. 

Tender tacos with a kick

Our favorite is the Pilewski tacos, with tender pork barbacoa. They are more like an enchilada than a taco, with provolone, chipotle, chile verde, cheese, avocado and jalapeños. They’re juicy and well balanced, but not oily, with just the right amount of sauce.  

Finally, a cup of the Sante Fe Green Chile, which is sort of like a warm salsa and chili mixed into one flavorful stew. It’s served with more of those tortillas and topped with cheese. It’s hearty and comforting and tastes distinct from the Toasted Green Chiles.

Mountain Mexican

Started in a caboose on the side of the highway in Del Norte, Colorado in 1996, Kip’s had one goal: to make amazing handmade tacos — the best tacos in Pagosa Springs. They’ve done just that and more, with their first Creede location and second in Pagosa Springs, and still aim to “please the people.” It’s a local hangout through and through, with families, ladies’ nights out, and casual dates happening in every corner. The margarita list is thorough and the drinks strong, a wonderful complement to a kind of magical Mountain Mexican experience.

What To Eat

Pilewski Tacos

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Green Chile Vinaigrette

Roasted Green Chiles with Mozzarella

Santa Fe Green Chile


Kip’s Recipes


What do you think of Kip’s?

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