Oh Tocabe’s fry bread! It is light, fluffy, and so incredibly delicious.
A friend suggested we go to dinner at Tocabe one night after work. She had attended an event catered by the restaurant and had been impressed. So we decided to hit up the North Denver location.
With so many amazingly reliable foodie friends – and always keeping my ears open for restaurant recommendations – I was surprised I hadn’t heard of Tocabe before. When I learned it was an American Indian restaurant, I was intrigued. I have been fortunate to eat fry bread on Native American land before and was eager to have another Indian Taco.
Well…I can’t wait to go back! My friend and I both ordered the recommended Indian Taco with Braised Shredded Bison. For my salsas, I selected the Osage Hominy and Mild Tomato but added the Ancho Chipotle Sauce for a little extra kick. The fry bread melted in my mouth. The dry rub on the shredded bison was tasty. And, as our server explained to us, there aren’t many places where you can eat bison!
Tocabe’s service was great. The staff offered information and great suggestions. The Osage News reports that half of the employees are Native Americans, including Northern Cheyenne, Apache, Arapaho, and Rosebud Sioux.
“My heroes have always cooked fry bread.” – Tocabe
The best part: we received some complimentary Fry Bread Nuggets for dessert. I can say with great confidence the only thing better than fry bread melting in my mouth is fry bread covered with cinnamon and powdered sugar melting in my mouth.
Controversial History of Fry Bread
Fry bread, however, has a controversial history. Its origins in the West trace back to when the United States Calvary forced Native People off their lands and forcibly relocated them. Thousands of American Indians died from malnutrition, exhaustion, and exposure. During that time, the Native Americans could not continue with their traditional hunting and gathering; instead, they were given army rations of flour, salt, lard, and water. As a means of survival, the Indians created fry bread. Today, for many American Indians, fry bread is a symbol of resilience.
The History of Tocabe
Tocabe is owned by friends Ben Jacobs and Matthew Chandra. Jacobs was born in Denver and is an Osage tribal member. His parents owned the now-shuttered Grayhorse, which also served Native American food. Tocabe even uses some of the recipes from Jacobs’ parents’ restaurant, which have been passed down through generations. One more cool fact: Tocabe’s food comes from Native American and Colorado organizations. Okay, okay – one last cool fact: according to Ben Jacobs, Tocabe means “blue” in Osage.
Tocabe | www.tocabe.com
Open 11am to 9pm Monday-Saturday, Noon to 8pm Sundays