Mike Nelson's Colorado -- Saving The Mishawaka

Legendary Restaurant, Music Venue Survives High Park Fire, Thanks To Firefighters

As the High Park Fire burned through Larimer County in June, it seemed it set its sights on the legendary restaurant and music venue Mishawaka, not once, but twice.

The fire burned so intensely, that some said it was like "looking into the mouth of Hell." And as it headed into Poudre Canyon, the "Mish," as fans call it, was vulnerable.

Mishawaka owner Dani Grant, of Fort Collins, bought the 96-year-old facility just 18 months before the big fire. When her place was closed down and everyone evacuated, she watched, waited and worried. Well-meaning friends called to say they were pretty sure the property had gone up in flames.

She said it happened a number of times, so when she was finally allowed to go back into the canyon and pulled up at the site, she was amazed to see that Mishawaka was still standing.

When she went inside she found a handwritten note on the bar from a Colorado Springs firefighter. He described how the flames had taken aim at the Mish from across Highway 14, but they’d held the flames off. He said the fire burned further down Poudre Canyon, crossed the river, and then came at the Mish from another direction.

Firefighters actually set up on the riverside deck to fight back the flames. That firefighter, David Vitwar, signed his note: “Long live the Mish."

When the venue was able to reopen, the first act on the amphitheater stage was Keller Williams who performed "Fire On The Mountain." A testimony to the resolve of the firefighters, the owners and the fans to 'Save The Mish.' For more information on this remarkable music venue and restaurant, go to TheMishawaka.com for directions and concert information.

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