Best of Colorado 2017 – Food and beverage
The best food businesses fueling the people and the economy of Colorado
We've all got to eat. But when it comes to the dining destinations that best suit your business needs, there are specific expectations as it relates to service, cuisine, ambiance and part of town. Check out the Best Food and Beverage businesses throughout Colorado.
BEST DELIVERED LUNCH
If you’re stuck at your desk at lunchtime or if your company wants great sandwiches for a meeting, Jimmy John’s is the way to go. The fast-casual restaurant’s food is made from scratch with minimally processed ingredients that are free from phosphates, MSG and artificial preservatives. The locally owned and operated stores use locally purchased produce, which is brought in fresh and hand-sliced daily. Its provolone cheese and meats also are brought in fresh and sliced by hand daily at every location.
The lines outside any of Snooze’s seven Colorado locations are a sure sign that the restaurant does breakfast right. Founded in 2006 by brothers Jon and Adam Schlegel, Snooze dishes up creative twists on America’s favorite breakfast classics — your basic biscuits and gravy turns up as Breakfast Pot Pie on the Snooze menu. It’s a flaky puff pastry smothered in Snooze’s homemade rosemary sausage gravy and topped with an egg any style — complete with hash browns. Snooze proved to be so popular in Colorado that it has expanded to California, Arizona and Texas.
BEST BUSINESS LUNCH
Denver’s filled with great places to eat, but for a business lunch Guard and Grace stands above the rest. The 9,000-square-foot restaurant in the heart of the city’s Central Business District has multiple private rooms, as well as an elegant yet comfortable dining room. Troy Guard, one of Denver’s finest chefs, offers his take on the modern steakhouse with fiery grills, an oyster bar and a walk-in, floor-to-ceiling glassed 4,000-bottle wine cellar. The prime, certified angus and local grass-fed cuts of beef are available in 4- to 22-ounce portions to satisfy a variety of appetites.
BEST HAPPY HOUR
With fresh oysters at $1.50 each, it’s tough to beat happy hour at Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar. But the deals don’t stop there. You can enjoy peel-and-eat shrimp for $5; a pork belly or buffalo shrimp slider for $6; or a chicken and shrimp gumbo with andouille sausage and okra for $4. Drink specials include Jax Strawberry Lemonade or Cucumber Lemon Press for $4; a Grapefruit Ginger Sling or Cherry Sour for $5; or a Jax Moscow Mule for $6. The restaurant also offers well cocktails for $4 and specials on select bottles or glasses of wine.
BEST CATERING COMPANY
Whether it’s your company holiday party or the grand opening of your business, Footers Catering will deliver restaurant-quality food wherever you hold your event. Footers’ catering trucks are fitted with full-size ovens. The company also provides additional cooking equipment, such as convection ovens, grills, fryers and portable burners that allow its crew to set up field kitchens at the event site. Owned by Anthony and April Lambatos, the second-generation family business caters more than 600 events and feeds more than 75,000 guests each year using the freshest ingredients cooked on-site at every event. The company also offers full event coordination to ensure every detail is perfect.
BEST FOOD TRUCK
You don’t have to get the same thing twice at Quiero Arepas, which dishes up Venezuelan-style sandwiches. The truck’s menu changes daily, and in addition to its regular offerings features a rotating, seasonal menu with more than 15 items throughout the year. An arepa is a corn-based flat bread made from scratch and formed into a patty that is grilled, baked, split open and stuffed with a variety of ingredients. Owners Igor and Beckie Panasewicz serve up arepas that are as authentic as they come. A native of Venezuela, Igor Panasewicz enjoyed arepas so much that he decided to make them himself. And in case you can’t find the food truck, Quiero Arepas has a brick-and-mortar location at Avanti Food & Beverage in the Lower Highland neighborhood.
BEST SPORTS BAR
Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings has 1,200 franchise locations around the world, including several in Colorado. The restaurants offer wings, beer and sports on many HDTVs and big screens, and the chain regularly updates its menu with new items such as flatbreads and various limited-time offers. Buffalo Wild Wings also engages in charitable endeavors such as Community Day, an annual celebration that raises funds for local kids as part of the Buffalo Wild Wings Team Up for Kids mission. This year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America will receive 10 percent of total restaurant sales and 100 percent of guest donations from the one-day event in April.
BEST LOCAL COFFEE SHOP
While Starbucks was the top vote-getter, Crema Coffee House, located in Curtis Park, won best local shop for the second straight year. The place has a cozy atmosphere, the baristas are experts in preparing espresso drinks for coffee aficionados (or coffee snobs), and there is free Wi-Fi. The food ranges from pastries, including vegan, to meals such as quiche and quinoa salad.
BEST LOCAL BREWERY
A Fort Collins gem, New Belgium Brewery is the fourth-largest brewer of craft beer in the
nation and the eighth-largest brewery in the United States. Sure its beer is great, but what makes it the best brewery in Colorado is the experience visitors have when taking a tour or stopping into New Belgium’s tasting room, open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for samples of at least 15 beers. New Belgium also hosts an array of events — on National Corndog Day, for example, New Belgium offered $3 pint parings with corndogs. Tour de Fat — New Belgium’s signature event — is a festival that includes live music and a bike parade.