Best of Colorado Business Choice 2016 food & drink winners
ColoradoBiz readers pick the top spots to eat and imbibe
Here are the Best of Colorado Business Choice 2016 winners and finalists in the "Food/Beverage" category:
BEST BREAKFAST SPOT
Usually when there is a 45-minute wait for brunch, customers might want to look elsewhere. Not so at Snooze. The eatery hands out free coffee, water and even samples of pineapple upside down pancake to would-be diners who are waiting. The guest experience starts not when the guests are seated, but when they visit the website or call one of the 13 locations, says Christin Marvin, whose title is The Conductor (it’s a train reference, as Snooze has a location at Union Station). “We put a lot of thought into every aspect of how we serve breakfast,” Marvin says “That’s an extraordinary gift for people to give us so much time of their day. We want to make that experience great.”
Runners-up: Lucille’s, The Egg & I, Sam’s No. 3
BEST BUSINESS LUNCH SPOT
The renowned steakhouse, located in the Westin Downtown Hotel, is known for the artwork of caricatures on the wall and for its steaks, iceberg wedge salad, and other favorites. The Palm originated in 1926 in New York City and is still family-owned, with 25 restaurants across the U.S. and Mexico. The Palm’s location in Denver underwent two months of renovations early this year. http://www.thepalm.com/Denver
Runners-up: Illegal Pete’s, Guard and Grace, Panera Bread
BEST CATERING COMPANY
People hire a caterer for the most important events of their lives, and also for their businesses’ most important events. Footers Catering works on everything from weddings to black tie fundraisers to client appreciation festivities. The firm is a full-service catering company and its mission statement begins with, “Love what we do. Make it better every day.” Sometimes staff members go way beyond preparing and serving food. At one recent event, a client was walking back to their car and realized the vehicle had a flat tire. “So the chef changed the tire for them,” says Anthony Lambatos, whose title is The Coach, and the owner. “It was the end of the evening and they were cleaning up.”
Runners-up: Epicurean Catering, Biscuits and Berries, Catering by Design
BEST DELIVERED LUNCH
Jimmy John’s Sandwiches
The Champaign, Ill.-based Jimmy John’s Sandwiches has 2,458 locations in the U.S., and 79 of them are in Colorado. The franchise company prides itself on its fresh baked bread, freshly sliced vegetables and meats, and the blazing speed in the store. For customers within the store’s delivery area, Jimmy John’s will deliver as little as one sub right to their doorstep. “Our combination of speed and service is what sets us apart,” says Nathan Louer, company spokesperson.
Runners-up: Snarf’s Sandwiches, Panera Bread, Jason’s Deli
BEST FOOD TRUCK
The Waffle Lab
Belgian style yeast-leavened waffles are different from the breakfast staple that most people know, and the Waffle Lab in Fort Collins specializes in these Liège waffles in sweet and savory dishes. “It’s a completely different kind of waffle experience,” says co-owner Erik Rohman. “We make everything from scratch, with fresh ingredients, and that’s a big draw.” Every other Tuesday during the summer, the Waffle Lab is a big hit at the Food Truck Rally at City Park in Fort Collins. On other days the truck is at Old Town, where the owners plan to open a restaurant in May.
Runners-up: Comida, Quiero Arepas, Smoke: Colorado Craft Barbecue
BEST HAPPY HOUR SPOT
Justin Cucci, who is chef/owner at Linger, says happy hour is about more than discounted alcoholic beverages. “There are a million places to buy a cheap drink, but this is a great place to drink with food and hospitality,” he says. Customers can drink, eat small plates such as the popular steamed Pork Belly buns and Mongolian BBQ Duck buns, and sit at the rooftop bar, which features a refitted RV that Cucci calls a Bar-V. Linger is located at the site of the former Olinger’s Mortuary in the Highlands, and the big sign now reads, “Linger EATUARIES.”
Runners-up: Govnr's Park Tavern, Hapa Sushi, Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
BEST SPORTS BAR
Buffalo Wild Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings offers everything from burgers to salads to mac and cheese, but what it’s really known for is its New York-style chicken wings.
With 21 signature sauces and seasonings ranging from salt and vinegar to Thai curry, Buffalo Wild Wings is a growing owner, operator and franchisor of restaurants featuring made-to-order menu items.
Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Minneapolis, Buffalo Wild Wings’ popularity can be measured by a few startling statistics: its more than 1,000 restaurants sell an average of 27 million traditional and boneless wings weekly, and on Super Bowl Sunday 2015 alone, they sold 11 million.
Runners-up: Blake Street Tavern, The Viewhouse, Stoney’s Bar and Grill
BEST COFFEE SHOP: NATIONAL
There are about 50 Starbucks locations in Denver, and 50 more around the state. The Seattle-based giant, in an emailed statement, said it is excited to be honored by Colorado customers. “We are proud to be a member of our Colorado communities and look forward to serving as a gathering place for years to come. We believe that our stores, our partners (employees), our customers and our coffee can bring people together, and we’re proud to play a role in building awareness for the finest coffee around the world.”
Runner-up: Caribou Coffee, Panera Bread, The Human Bean
BEST COFFEE SHOP: LOCAL
Crema Coffee House
While Starbucks was (by far) the repeat winner for Best Coffee Shop, the top locally based vote-getter was Crema Coffee House. Crema, whose name refers to the top layer of a well-crafted espresso, serves coffee from several different roasters, and foods ranging from Five-Spice Granola with Noosa yogurt to Sweet Potato Waffle to Pork Belly Banh Mi.
Runners-up: ink! Coffee, Pablo’s Coffee, Dazbog Coffee
BEST COLORADO BREWERY
Breckenridge Brewery is a pioneer in the Colorado craft brewing scene. The original brewpub in Breckenridge recently celebrated its 26th birthday. Last summer, the front range production brewery moved to a brand new 12-acre campus in Littleton where it offers brewery tours, great food, a spacious beer garden, and an interesting and ever-changing selection of beers made on-site.
Runners-up: New Belgium Brewing Co., Odell Brewing Co., Avery Brewing Co.