The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Colorado
Our readers choose the Best of Colorado food and beverage for 2019
BEST RESTAURANT :: BREAKFAST
Snooze is known for doing things differently. “Many breakfast spots start with the same script: eggs, batter, coffee and a big griddle,” says Becky Fairchild, whose title is The Storyteller. “At Snooze we've found that scripts are a lot like pancakes — they're best when flipped.” That means innovative menu items and dedication to bettering both the communities and the planet. Each Snooze restaurant donates 1 percent of sales to neighborhood charities, and composts and recycles nearly 90 percent of waste.
“We want each morning to feel like your weekend and happy hour rolled into one, no matter which side of noon it's on,” Fairchild says. “We're the place where you can be you. Everyone is welcome at our table.” This year Snooze will open in Westminster and Colorado Springs, and in Charlotte, North Carolina and Kansas City, Missouri.
BEST RESTAURANT :: LUNCH
The Nickel, which opened nearly five years ago in Hotel Teatro, is an approachable lunch spot with a straightforward menu. “We have American-centric kind of cuisine, a great burger, the Nickel salad, our charcuterie, and everyone just kind starts around there,” says Greg Monjure, the restaurant’s general manager. “You walk in and there is a nice kind of feeling. It’s quiet, almost like a dining room that can be a retreat.”
Monjure says the large, wraparound booth tables are also conducive to doing business, but mostly it’s the menu that people like. “We do change our menus four times a year,” he says. “People enjoy coming in and getting a seasonal menu served to them.”
BEST RESTAURANT :: DELIVERED LUNCH
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches has been delivering since before the days of trendy third-party delivery apps. The shops slice their meats, bake bread in-house, and use local produce. There are 21 stores in the Denver area, 18 in Colorado Springs and many more statewide.
BEST RESTAURANT :: PATIO
The modern-day food hall Avanti Food & Beverage, located in LoHi, consists of seven different restaurant concepts, housed in modified shipping containers. The concept provides customers with an eclectic mix of affordably priced, chef-inspired cuisine and is inspired by European markets and food truck roundups. There is a rooftop bar, and Avanti’s patios boast some of the best views in Denver. “You can see fans cheering at Coors Field and also get a nice view of the Front Range,” says general manager Daniel Wyman. “Our outdoor stadium-style seating is fun as well for kids or larger groups looking to lounge in the sun.”
BEST RESTAURANT :: VEGETARIAN
The longtime vegetarian and vegan restaurant City O’ City serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night, and is also a specialty coffee, craft beer, wine and cocktail bar. There are two happy hours, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. to close, serving cocktails and seitan wings, cauliflower chorizo tacos and other foods. City O’ City says it uses local produce whenever possible, and has an urban micro farm that provides much of the produce in the summer. Delivery is now available through DoorDash.
BEST RESTAURANT :: VIEW
All the locations of The View House - Ballpark, Centennial/DTC, Littleton and, coming soon, Colorado Springs, have great views. It typically takes more than a year to find the perfect location. “We always seek the best combination of accessibility and visibility, while making sure it's centrally located and has a large amount of parking,” says Jennifer Ruppert, marketing director. “We seek cities that align with our brand celebrating Coloradans’ love of sports, the outdoors and healthy active lifestyles revolved around food, activities and all things local. Pair these characteristics with a scenic landscape for stunning rooftop views, and the site selection is perfect for a View House.” Guests enjoy the local menu, games, live music on the rooftop, watching sports on the 200-inch LED TV, free yoga or hosted fitness classes on the courtyard, or corporate luncheons.
BEST RESTAURANT :: WINE LIST
The restaurant Tavernetta has three full-time sommeliers. “We work hard to source the best Italian producers for our wine program,” says wine director Carlin Karr. “We are always ready to help our guests navigate our exclusively Italian and Champagne-driven wine list.” The staff focuses on service details and takes notes on what wines customers drink. When they return, the experts can guide them in the direction of something else they might enjoy.
This year Tavernetta has gone deeper on Nebbiolo and large-format bottles. Wines by-the-glass change seasonally with the menu to ensure they pair with Chef Ian Wortham's cuisine. Also new are more wines from regions like Valtellina, Valle d'Aosta, Campania and Sicily.
BEST RESTAURANT :: BAR-HAPPY HOUR
Happy hour at Jax Fish House is Tuesday through Sunday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and all night Monday. The drink menu ranges from Strawberry (vodka) Lemonade to Oyster Shooters to long lists of wines and beer. The food menu is also vast, featuring everything from oysters to peel and eat shrimp to Spicy Ahi Tuna Poke, and non-seafood items such as Salami Pastrami Tater Tots and Bacon Fat Chicken Thighs. Jax Fish House is committed to serving sustainable seafood and has locations in LoDo, Boulder, Glendale, Fort Collins and Kansas City, Missouri.
BEST RESTAURANT :: SPORTS BAR
The website for Stoney’s Bar and Grill has an option in which you can choose which date you want to visit, and you can see what sports will be on TV. Stoney’s Bar and Grill calls itself “your home away from home for watching any sporting event.” The central Denver establishment has 31 HD TVs and two 120-inch projection screens, and even a stage to watch local bands. There are also places for private parties, and guests can play their own sports, such as arcade games, cornhole and miniature bowling.
BEST FOOD TRUCK
The Pig Latin food truck uses social media to share its weekly schedule for where it will be. The food truck, which has a brick-and-mortar location in Colorado Springs, was featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” The menu offers a Latin American menu with a Caribbean flair. Its $3 Island Taco blends pineapple-braised pork with jalapeno-habanero cilantro cream, cabbage, cotija and lime in a crunchy blue tortilla. The food truck also offers an $8 Stacked Arepa, an open-faced corn patty with mozzarella, pineapple pulled pork, sauteed spinach and siracha. The $11 Caribbean Nachos are a pile of fried greed plantains, citrus garlic pork, roasted garlic aioli, black beans, cabbage, cotija cheese, lime and cilantro.
BEST CATERING COMPANY
BEST COFFEE SHOP :: FRONT RANGE (LOCALLY OWNED)
BEST COFFEE SHOP :: WESTERN SLOPE (LOCALLY OWNED)
Main Street Bagels has been pouring coffee and dishing up bagels in a historic building on Main Street in Grand Junction since 1995. The shop also offers sandwiches, cookies and fresh-squeezed juices, as well as coffee, espresso and chai. Over the years, as the owners and employees studied artisan baking, the coffee shop has added cinnamon rolls, croissants and sticky buns, as well as soups, salads and smoothies.
Breckenridge Brewery is the third-oldest craft brewery in the state. The brewery opened its doors on Main Street in Breckenridge in 1990 and quickly found that there was more demand for craft beer than it could produce in that location. Breckenridge Brewery opened a second location in downtown Denver in 1992 but outgrew it when the Colorado Rockies built Coors Field across the street, so in 1996, it moved production to 471 Kalamath St. where it brewed beer for 19 years. When the company approached 60,000 barrels a year, it had run out of space for more expansions and built a new brewery on a former carnation farm in Littleton, where it moved in 2015. The campus features a new 100 barrel brewhouse, barrel-aging room, all new packaging and the Farm House restaurant.