Asian fusion cuisine rounds out Salida’s 146 Taphouse

Amid Salida’s inviting downtown scene comes a unique take on casual dining and libations. With an indoor and outdoor setting, the new 146 Taphouse on First Street is owned and operated by Salida firefighter Chris Bainbridge and his wife, Kristine.

In a trendy self-serve style, the taphouse offers 40 taps  from light and domestic brews, Colorado beers and seasonal tastes  to nitro versions and even wine on tap. Though the establishment is in its first weeks of operation, its casual atmosphere, new outdoor stage and historic venue bring a fresh vibe to Salida’s downtown business district.

Head chef Monica Ceron, whose twin sister works next door at Wood’s High Mountain Distillery, tossed the idea to Bainbridge one day, and now this foodie, who also runs her own catering business called Moni’s Fusion, is finally getting to share with Salida some of her lifelong favorite family recipes.

As an exciting addition to the eclectic choices among Salida eateries, Ceron’s menu offers Asian fusion cuisine complete with a variety of small plates, including hand-rolled sushi. Because of the success she has received from her catering company, her egg rolls, a local favorite, will be featured along with her personal favorite, bao buns – from her grandmother’s recipe – made with a steamed rice flour bun and sweet and tangy cucumber slaw, spicy mayo and a choice of Korean barbecue beef short ribs or pork belly.

“Both my parents went to culinary school; my father went to culinary school in Japan. I was always influenced by the kitchen – by whoever was in there, my grandmother, mom, dad – and I just remember recipes from them and base it all off of taste. Each menu item has an intimate value to it, so it seems intricate because of the style of food. But for me it is truly my home cooking and something that is special to me, and I am excited to share it with Salida,” Ceron said.

The menu includes Japanese nachos, sesame baked pretzels, poke salad and even a dessert wonton made with cinnamon, cream cheese, strawberries and chocolate. Each dish is designed with the tap wall in mind to give patrons an appetizing bite to pair with whichever flavor of brew they enjoy, Ceron said.

She is most excited to bring sushi to downtown Salida. She’s presenting three classics: California roll, spicy tuna roll and a vegetarian option. Though these original recipes are tested and approved by Ceron’s entire family, she hopes to continually add a creative list of specials to the mix while also keeping the menu fresh and seasonal.

“It’s crazy to think that my recipes and my food will be made by a staff and served to patrons – I feel like it is a blessing more than anything. I knew it was something I wanted but never thought it would happen. So, I do feel like it was handed to me, but because it is such a gift I have to take care of it and do my best.”