How Sweet It Is – Lewis Sweet Shop in Empire, CO

Lewis Sweet Shop - Empire, CO

It’s like you’ve gone through some type of portal and emerged in a completely different dimension. The town that time forgot. Empire, Colorado is a former mining settlement that flourished during the Colorado Silver Boom in the late 19th century. Today it is a small mountain town with less than 300 residents.

We moved less than 8 miles from Empire several months ago, yet we had never even heard of the town until we moved in – probably because we weren’t avid skiers. Denver skiers pass through Empire on the way to several ski resorts.

If you’ve traveled through Empire, you are surely in one of two camps:

  1. You’ve been to Lewis Sweet Shop and love it.
  2. Every time you pass by the Lewis Sweet Shop you promise yourself that next time you will check it out.

Lewis Sweet Shop - Empire, CO

The Lewis Sweet Shop has been around for 68 years. It started off as a hotel back in the silver boom days and the current sweet shop is the old lobby of the hotel. The Lewis family owned the shop for 45 years: from 1949 to 1994.

Lewis Sweet Shop

Following the long reign of Dwayne Lewis, Larry & Sandy owned the place for 11 years and then Bernie & Peggy for the next 11 years. Dean & Julie purchased the sweet shop just over a year ago.

Lewis Sweet Shop - Empire, CO

Dean – current owner of Lewis Sweet Shop with his wife Julie.

Lewis Sweet Shop - Empire, CO

Lewis Sweet Shop - Empire, CO

When we finally visited the Lewis Sweet Shop, we were greeted and waited on by Devon Smith – who was very helpful with ordering suggestions. Devon has worked at the shop more than 6 years and knows all the ins and outs of the business. We were not disappointed with the green chili cheese fries, burgers, spicy chicken sandwich, and (of course) a thick shake.

Lewis Sweet Shop

Lewis Sweet Shop

The locals know what to order!

Thick shakes are what the Lewis Sweet Shop is known for. All of the shakes start with a chocolate or vanilla base and there are 26 different flavors you can add for a whopping 650 different flavor combinations. If you order a thick shake, you will definitely need a spoon – it’s much too thick for a straw!

Lewis Sweet Shop - Empire, CO

Lewis Sweet ShopThe building is just as colorful and unique on the inside as it is on the outside. There’s a train running on a track near the ceiling and a 1898 piano just begging to be played. Between the decor, the graffiti and all of the mostly in-house made candy, you need to give yourself time to take it all in.

There are board games and live music on the weekends to keep you entertained while you wait for your order. You will definitely want to be able to switch gears and just hang out for awhile at Lewis Sweet Shop.

Lewis Sweet Shop

Lewis Sweet Shop

Lewis Sweet Shop

Lewis Sweet Shop

 

 

Lewis Sweet Shop

Lewis Sweet Shop

 

Lewis Sweet Shop

Lewis Sweet Shop

There are 4 seasons in Empire:

  1. Ski Season – October through April.
  2. Mud Season – From closure of ski slopes to Memorial Weekend.
  3. Summer Season – Memorial Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.
  4. Waiting for Ski Season Season – Labor Day Weekend until start of Ski Season.

No matter which season you find yourself traveling through Empire, you are going to want to make a point of stopping at Lewis Sweet Shop. But be aware … if it’s mud season you need to check for closures. There is nothing quite as disappointing as having your taste buds firing off demands for burgers, ice cream and candy – and being greeted by a “closed” sign.

Lewis Sweet Shop

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