On any given day during the peak of the snowsports season, it is not unusual for people to start lining up outside Johnny McGuire's before dawn.
They'll order a breakfast burrito, a box lunch - or both- and then head out to the mountain to ski or ride the cruisers, the bowls and the parks.
Yes, it's a culinary institution in both Aspen and Las Vegas, as popular as any in snowsports.
Johnny McGuire's Deli has been around since an underground meeting in 1895. The groundwork for the deli was laid out in an Independence Pass silver mine when, on an unseasonably cool autumn afternoon, Ebenezer McGuire and Jabadi Johnny Hoffan formed a friendship and started discussing their dream of starting a chuck wagon in the mining town of Ute City.
Some years later their dream became a reality. Johnny McGuireâ€™s Chuck Wagon Deli was born. In the early years, or what is known in corporate circles as the "Bison Years," the deli served bison burgers, bison soup, bison brownies, etc. Facing bankruptcy many years later, the grandchildren, Terrance and Johnny, bought a giant pickle, changed the menu, and never looked back.
One of Johnny McGuire's trademarks is a large pickle, but the menu does not stop there. It features a wide array of hot and cold sandwiches, including the 220-B, a heaping pile of grilled steak, turkey, and bacon with barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, horseradish, and mayo.
Skinny sandwiches are $6.50, regulars are $7.50 (they are big), and fatties are $12.50.
Breakfast meals are $6.50.
Giant pickles are $2.
Just how popular the place is was evidenced on a sunny morning in march when Jennifer Speck, a former Aspen ski instructor who have been living in Las Vegas for years, noticed an old Volkswagen Beetle with a large pick on its roof drive by while she was at a Vegas shopping center waiting for the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort's Ski Bus.
"Are you kidding me?" she said. "Is there a Johnny McGuire's in town now?"
Yes, there was, since the previous September, when one of the owners, who has a home in Vegas, opened a shop on the south end of The Strip in the Town Square shopping plaza.
The Vegas shop has walls adorned with snowboards and other snowsports paraphernalia. The local lore around Nevada is, with 217 inches of snow this season, the local resort will never close.