New Rifle restaurant offers Mexican, American fusion |

New Rifle restaurant offers Mexican, American fusion

Chef Ruben Gomez Sr. prepares some fajitas at Dos Patrias in Rifle.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

There’s something distinctly unforgettable about ordering a juicy torta complemented with a crispy side of fries that makes a “foodie” truly think they indeed came to the right place.

Family-owned Dos Patrias restaurant — which translates from Spanish to “Two Homelands” — offers just that. Amid the handful of Latino restaurants already furnished throughout the Western Garfield County city, the new establishment generally gears its menu toward a mixed selection of fare.

Carne asada tacos or pollo asado fixes are always there for the taking. But additional main entrees otherwise usually advertised on the last page of most Mexican restaurant menus include familiar fare like chicken sandwiches, cheeseburgers and, of course, fries.

It’s pretty much as if your two favorite foods decided to marry and go on a delicious honeymoon cruise together, and you were the captain.

Originally from Nayarit, Mexico, owner and head chef Ruben Gomez Sr. combined his natural love for Mexican cuisine with classic bar eats after he arrived in the United States.

He’d spend time growing his culinary reputation behind a flat top at the upscale French-American restaurant Cache Cache in Aspen. For years, Gomez worked as a chef at Aspen Valley Hospital.

“It was my dad’s dream to own his own restaurant,” Manager Ruben Gomez Jr. said of his father.

In 2018, Gomez Sr.’s dream started to come to fruition. The former “Moo’s Place” ice-cream and yogurt shop at 840 Railroad Ave. went up for sale, and Ruben Sr. and wife Maria Gomez pounced.

The building being in dire need of some elbow grease, Gomez Sr. rolled up his sleeves.

“It was mostly my father — he spent a lot of his free time here just trying to fix it up piece by piece before we can actually hire people,” Gomez Jr. said. “He had to install new floors and add the hood for the kitchen and stuff like that. We had to take apart the floors one day because they’re just crap.”

And just like that, Dos Patrias would officially open its full menu May 16. The items, an assortment of traits made from scratch.

Ruben Gomez Jr. and Ruben Gomez Sr. pose for the camera inside Dos Patrias in Rifle.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

“So most of the recipes are his. I grew up eating all this food, and it tastes great,” Gomez Jr. said. “He’s a great chef. … He’s very proud of his work, and, you know, it took him years to kind of figure it out, his top marinades.”

Gomez Sr. said whether it’s for chicken or steak, his marinades provide an original kick.

“I make the marinade homemade,” he said. “I think that’s the thing that’s special is everything’s made fresh.”

Take, for instance, the chicken, which comes with a distinct marinade flavor of cayenne, Gomez Jr. said.

“And just like the flavor. I feel like it is the best,” he said. “And we only offer that marinade for the chicken for pollo asado. Because we have other chicken dishes, but that marinade’s different.”

From turf to surf, Dos Patrias also has two types of shrimp.

“One’s grilled with a little bit of garlic butter, and the other one sauteed in the pan with kind of like a spicy red sauce, and they both feature rice and vegetables,” Gomez Jr. said. “So they’re pretty popular right now, too.”

But in addition to fine eats, the Gomez family provides a friendly, personable atmosphere to its hungry patrons.

“We like to get involved with all the people here in town,” Gomez Sr. said. “We like to invite everybody to come to try my food. … We like to share with the people and make them feel comfortable. And we like to invite especially those who are coming up here to be happy.”

Dos Patrias is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.