We’re not embarrassed to admit it: we spend A LOT of time eating and drinking in the cities where we live (hey, eat local!) We love to support talented people in the food industry, and happily, that also means eating and drinking what they produce! This year, we discovered some incredible new places, and continued to be impressed by our old favorites. It was quite a feat to put together this 2019 Insider Guide to Eating & Drinking Along the Front Range. It’s not necessarily a “best of” list; instead, it reflects some of ROOT’s favorite spots, with insider tips to help you choose your next date night or happy hour hang out. Reply in the comments to tell us if you agree or disagree, and if there are any places you feel should definitely be on the list!
Comfort Foods to Warm You Up This Winter
Steuben’s – You can count on Steuben’s for all your down-home comfort food classics. Start out with Steubie Snacks, warm up with French Onion Soup, then dig into some Fried Chicken. Plus, the boozy milkshakes are the stuff your diner dreams are made of.
La Loma – An all-time favorite of ours, La Loma serves up some of the best Mexican comfort food in the area. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but make sure to try the Grilled Shrimp Salad, Pork Green Chili, and sizzlin’ Mesquite Grilled Fajitas.
Sip Booze in Style
The Cooper Lounge – Located in the mezzanine of Denver Union Station, Cooper Lounge offers fantastic cocktails, a charming ambience, and great people watching. Sip on classic cocktails like the Corpse Reviver or Vieux Carré, or try a bourbon neat from the sizable whiskey list. Throw on your fancy clothes because this spot is perfect for special occasions.
Corrida – There are endless reasons why Corrida is one of the best new restaurants in the area (hello, Flatirons!), but we’re just here to talk about the cocktails – more specifically, the gin and tonics. With a myriad of gin varieties, flavor pairings, and enticing garnishes, all served up from a cute little bar cart, these G&Ts will keep you coming back for more.
Drinking on the Job
The Palm – Whether you need to meet a client for lunch or you’re trying to put in a few hours on an assignment, The Palm’s Iceberg Wedge Salad paired with a stiff martini hits just the right spot. If your boss asks, we don’t know anything!
BookBar – A great spot for combining work and pleasure, BookBar is both a bookstore and wine bar that offers small bites. Grab yourself a glass of wine and charcuterie board and you’ll wish every workday went down this easy.
Treat Your Honey (and You!)
Oak at Fourteenth – Need a classy but cozy date spot in Boulder? Oak is the perfect place to dress up, or down, and dine on quality food. We recommend the King Ranch Prime Ribeye with Whipped Potatoes, Smōk Brisket, and the Broccolini Hash, which conveniently comes in a portion for two.
Spuntino – Spuntino exudes neighborhood Italian charm while delivering unique dishes in a fully from-scratch kitchen. It offers handmade focaccia and pastas, and locally sourced meat, like goat from El Regalo Ranch. Top off the evening with some of their house-made Fernet Branca.
The Plimoth – If you’re headed to this City Park eatery, make sure you have a reservation AND an empty stomach, as the seasonal cuisine is best enjoyed in (many) courses. We recommend the New Zealand Red Deer Venison paired with a Swiss Pinot Noir from their extensive wine list.
When You’re Missing Mom’s Home Cooking
Rye Society – This new delicatessen in RiNo serves up gourmet, made-from-scratch Jewish comfort food. Be sure to try the Gentile Sandwich, which is only available during the week. They also feature vegetarian options, like the Veggie Breakfast Bowl, and vegan options, like the Vegan Reuben. Rye Society really has something for everybody!
Annette – Annette is an American “scratch to table” restaurant in Stanley Marketplace that consistently serves up phenomenal food, including brunch. Try the Quiche of the Day, the Amaranth & Almond Granola with house-made Earl Grey Yogurt, or the Pork Hash. To round out your brunch experience, order a carafe of mimosas for the table.
Get Your Fill for Under $12
Snarf’s – A Boulder original, Snarf’s focuses on quality sandwiches at affordable prices. These toasted sammies are packed perfectly to the brim with meat and veggies, and all veggies are cut fresh daily. Try one of their specialty sandwiches like the Smoked Brisket, or the Artichoke & Feta sandwich, which is sure to satisfy any veg-head. Their signature giardiniera pepper blend adds a kick to all the right places.
Quiero Arepas – Located on the lower level of Avanti, Quiero Arepas will fill you up with authentic Venezuelan fare. If you’ve never had an arepa, now’s your chance to savor this traditional dish. Plus, the plantain chips are muy delicioso. Also be on the lookout for their food truck!
Tia Maria – Tia Maria is a no-frills, comfortable Mexican restaurant with high-quality but affordable versions of the Mexican food (and margaritas!) you crave. DO NOT MISS the carnitas, only available on the weekends, and ask for extra griddled onions and green chile.
Most Bang for Your Buck (and Taste Buds) at Happy Hour
Old Major – Old Major recently made some big changes, like launching their new bar menu with everything under $15, and extending their happy hour to 4-6 pm. Now you have more time to grab $6 cocktails like a Dark & Stormy while snacking on the stellar Charcuterie Plate, and Pork Fat French Fries.
Bar Dough – Daily happy hour at Bar Dough will keep you coming back to this elevated Italian restaurant week after week. We recommend you grab a seat at the bar and start with an Aperol Spritz. Food options are plentiful, including Bruschetta, a $6 Margherita Pizza, and other discounted dinner menu favorites.
Good Food You Can Grab in a Pinch
Choice Market – In addition to offering fresh groceries (many from Colorado farmers and producers), Choice Market also has grab-to-go meals, a deli counter and an in-store fast casual restaurant. A few of our favorite dishes include the Southwest Chicken Quinoa Bowl and the Tender Belly Meatball Sandwich. Everything under one roof means the possibilities are endless for how you choose to eat fresh, healthy meals – and get yourself the occasional snack or treat!
Chook Charcoal Chicken – This spot has only been open since early December, but it’s already one of our favorites. Chook serves up delectable charcoal rotisserie chicken, plus tasty veggie sides and salads, all with an Australian flair. This unique concept will definitely be one of the hottest places to lunch in Denver in 2019.
Vital Root – Vital Root is an all-vegetarian and largely vegan restaurant which offers fresh food that will satisfy people of all eating persuasions. If you need a full meal, try the Banh Mi Tacos or the Indian Kitchari. Creative snacks like Cashew Queso Dip are also available, along with many cold-pressed juice and nut milk options.