Rusty’s Hickory House |

Rusty’s Hickory House

Christina Patterson

“World Famous” is a term you see thrown around a lot at Rusty’s Hickory House. World famous sauce. World famous ribs. World famous catering service. I don’t know what a catering service has to be to become world famous, but there it is, right there on the catering menu.

But at the Hickory House you get the feeling that being world famous has nothing to do with why people the people that eat there eat there. The Hick House is affordable, down home, cozy and quite possibly the most unpretentious thing left in Aspen. They have grits on the breakfast menu, for goodness sake!

Although Rusty’s is well known for their ribs … a quick glance around at the collection of mylar banners proclaiming “Best Ribs” from various locations around the U.S. and Canada will tell you that…they also throw down a mean breakfast. With omelets in the $6 range (with hash browns, grits or tomatoes and toast, muffin or biscuit), pancakes and waffles in the $2-$4 range, and the most expensive thing on the menu is the 6 oz. steak and two eggs for $8.20, you are pretty sure you aren’t at some hoity toity bran tofu algae smoothie joint. In fact, just ask for a smoothie and see what happens. The waitress is liable to laugh so hard that she drops your order of biscuits and sausage gravy.

Lunch time is when the ribs come out. You can have the 4-bone rib taster with soup and slaw for $6.49, a third of a slab of ribs and a quarter chicken with fries and cole slaw for $9.99, fried shrimp with cocktail sauce as an appetizer for $5.99, or an order of cottage cheese from the salad section. Cottage cheese? That must be a misprint. I can’t imagine ordering something that is served by the slab and then getting a side of cottage cheese. I may as well ask for a smoothie.

There is also a full page of sandwiches to be had for lunch. A slow hickory-smoked pork with B-B-Q sauce and slaw on a Kaiser roll or Texas toast will set you back a mere $6.29. In fact, most of the dozen sandwiches on the lunch menu are only about six bucks. You got your hot roast beef with gravy, the slow hickory smoked hot turkey with gravy, chicken fired steak, BLT, one third pound hamburger, fried fish sandwich and even a grilled cheese. And with each one you get your choice of all sorts of hearty sides, like steak fries, mashers and gravy, potato salad, cole slaw, apple sauce or …there it is again …cottage cheese. This is one of those lunches that you can be pretty sure will last you for the better part of the afternoon. Even with the world famous cottage cheese.

If it’s dinner time, you may as well just show up with your rib bib already on, because you can bet the sauce will be flowing. A full slab of ribs is $15.99; the rib and chicken combo dinner (the “dinner” means you get the meat with your choice of garlic bread, cole slaw, baked beans and choice of potato … for a dollar less you just get the plate of meat) is $15.99; and the shrimp dinner goes for $13.99 (or only $12.99 for … you guessed it … plate ‘o shrimp). They also have various combinations of chicken, ribs, beef and shrimp for your sauce soppin’ pleasure.

If you brought the family along, and ribs is on yall’s mind, then check out the family pack specials, featuring the four half-slab rib dinner family pack for $42.99, also available in chicken for $32.50.

And not only does Rusty’s do to-go orders and delivery, but they also ship their award winning, world famous ribs to anywhere in the country. And you can literally buy a case of the World Famous B-B-Q Sauce to take home with you ($29.99…or $3 for a 16 oz. jar if you just want to start small.) If you ask real nice, I bet you could probably get a little container of cottage cheese thrown in.

And oh yes, Rusty’s does do catering, make no mistake. The catering options menu is about as big as their lunch menu. So if you’re having, like, 20 people over and you want to do them right, for $249.95 they’ll get eight racks, four pounds of beef or pork, four chickens, baked beans, cole slaw, rolls and butter. This includes napkins, plates, flatware, finger towelettes, the whole bit. There are also options for parties of 10, 15, 30, over 30 … from the looks of it, no matter what you have in mind, Rusty’s party planning service will see to it that everyone goes home well fed and with little bits of sauce on their shirts. Assuming you can get them to go home at all.

If you are the type who is serious about your ribs, then take note. All kidding aside, Rusty’s ribs and sauce have won 43 national competitions. Those who know ribs know Rusty’s ribs, and those who don’t already know should know that some of the finest ribs are (or could be) in your own back yard.