"Sometimes, you want to go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came."
Walter’s Bistro is that kind of place – but with contemporary fine dining.
“I’ve been around for a long time,” said owner Walter Iser. “We have such a great repeat business. People think of it as a little Cheers. It’s a good feeling.”
Walter started his culinary career in 1964 in Salzburg, Austria, eventually serving his way through prestigious establishments in Switzerland, Bermuda, Scottsdale and Dallas before landing in Colorado Springs.
The Rise of Walter’s Bistro
After more than a decade as food and beverage director at the Garden of the Gods Club, he struck out on his own in 1999 to open Walter’s Bistro. Five years later, the restaurant moved from its original 8th Street location to its current home at 146 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd.
It would be easy to miss it, tucked into the corner of a strip of businesses behind a sprawling, tree-lined parking lot. But the unassuming location is part of its beauty. Patrons never have to compete for a parking spot here.
Step inside to a different world. Warm lighting, a huge hearth and white tablecloths invite diners to relax and enjoy being pampered for a spell. The main dining room seats a max of 65, meaning each customer gets special attention, usually including a visit with Walter himself.
“I know more people by name than not,” Walter said.
Adds Executive Chef Greg Thorman: “He’s the heart and soul of the restaurant. …Walter makes it special. … We’ve got the friendly neighborhood atmosphere.”
Some fan favorites such as Chilean sea bass and lobster bisque have been on the menu since the beginning and never rotate off. Others rotate in and out over the course of a year, including ossobuco, cioppino, chili and roasted half chicken.
“We’ve been very consistent in food and quality,” Walter said. “We change the menu three to four times per year.”
And in between, Chef Greg and Walter have re-instated their monthly “Fresh Sheets” – simple, printed paper sheets with new menu ideas they want to try out before adding them to the official menu.
“It’s a new way to try out different menu items,” said Greg, who has been chef at the bistro for 7 1/2 years.
The youngest of five children, Greg was raised in the kitchen with his mom. At age 18, he started working with chefs in Florida and later in the Carolinas. He has brought fresh ideas to Walter’s, including Carolina-style BBQ ribs.
“It took me a couple of years,” he said, chuckling. But finally, he persuaded Walter to try his mustard-and-vinegar-based BBQ sauce and they have since added the dish to the regular rotation.
Chef Greg gets inspiration from various magazines and swaps recipe ideas with his many chef friends serving up great food from coast to coast. The dishes never get stale here – they’re constantly innovating.
Walter's is open Monday thru Saturday from 5-8:30 pm, with the exception of a few major holidays, and reservations are recommended. There’s a well-appointed bar, as well, and every menu item is offered in that space, too. Don't forget dessert!
Facebook + Instagram: @WaltersBistro