Best Ambiance AND Best Gluten Free
Carelli’s of Boulder
Warmth. That word defines the steaming pasta, roaring fire, glowing lights, and the people taking care of you at Carelli’s. This fine Italian establishment oozes luxury, but is made for lingering. What started as an Italian sub shop in William’s Village Shopping Center is far from it nearly three decades later. Winning a design award from the American Institute of Architects, Carelli’s gorgeous dining space features three fireplaces, rich slate and copper, and calming birchwood accents. “Our architecture is timeless,” says Owner Greg Carelli. But ambiance is only part of the appeal here. Regulars return for the artisan pizzas, fresh-daily seafood dishes and an emphasis on gluten-free foods like a crispy crust made with tapioca and rice. “Gluten-free works for us because we’re a scratch kitchen, so changing out the starch is easy for us,” Carelli says. “We do a lot of rice, polenta, gnocchi and grilled dishes.” 645 30th St., Boulder, 303.938.9300, carellis.com.
Runner Up for Best Ambiance: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, 1770 13th St., Boulder, 303.442.4993, boulderteahouse.com.
Runner Up for Best Gluten Free: The Corner, 1100 13th St., Boulder, 720.398.8331, thecornerboulder.com.
Best Appetizers/Happy Hour AND Best Patio
The Mediterranean Restaurant
It’s hard to say what’s best at The Mediterranean. “Most folks who visit the Mediterranean appreciate the food and service foremost, and then we also have a beautiful space,” says Owner Joe Romano. This is the 20th year that The Med has been featured in our Boulder County Gold Awards, and that consistent recognition is important to Romano and his staff. “We are very proud of our team,” he says. “Many folks have worked very hard for many years to make this restaurant so wonderful.” He adds that these two categories — Happy Hour and Patio — really compliment each other. “We have created a space reminiscent of Capri, Italy,” he says. “It’s outdoors, in a garden-like atmosphere, and private, so you feel like you’re literally transported to the Mediterranean without a flight.” 1002 Walnut St. Boulder, 303.444.5335, themedboulder.com.
Runner Up for Best Appetizers/Happy Hour: The Boulder Cork, 3295 30th St., Boulder, 303.443.9505, bouldercork.com.
Runner Up for Best Patio: Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, 1101 Walnut St., Boulder, 303.444.3690, riograndemexican.com.
Best Bakery AND Best Lunch AND Best Customer Service
Breadworks Bakery and Cafe
A 19-year winner in the Boulder County Gold Awards, Breadworks Bakery and Cafe takes great pride in its scratch-made baked goods and long history in the Boulder area. “We have been told by our customers that Breadworks is an institution in Boulder, a neighborhood bakery that has become a staple in people’s lives and the bakery that their kids have grown up with,” says Larry Domnitz, who co-owns Breadworks with his wife Colleen. “High quality and consistency are the trademarks that help maintain Breadworks’ large and loyal customer base. The ownership and staff remain fully committed to maintaining the standards of excellence that have helped sustain our bakery/cafe since we first opened in this same location on Valentine’s Day in 1995.” 2644 Broadway, Boulder, 303.444.5667.
Runner Up for Best Bakery: Spruce Confections, 767 Pearl St., Boulder, 303.449.6773; 4684 Broadway, Boulder, 303.449.5819, spruceconfections.com.
Runner Up for Best Lunch: Tangerine, 2777 Iris Ave., Boulder, 303.443.2333, tangerineeats.com.
Runner Up for Best Customer Service: Flagstaff House, 1138 Flagstaff Road, Boulder, 303.442.4640, flagstaffhouse.com.
Best Breakfast AND Best Brunch
Owner and Founder Alec Shuler says Tangerine won in the right categories — the restaurant’s focus is definitely brunch and breakfast. Shuler calls ambiance, food and service “the needed trifecta” for a successful restaurant, and all three of Tangerine’s locations boast this trifecta. With real, natural ingredients and lots of veggies cooked to order, it’s easy to eat healthy at Tangerine. “You feel good after you leave, not weighted down,” Shuler says. “We want to be your daytime home away from home.” Tangerine recently introduced daily food and drink specials that are changed seasonally. They’ve also made some interesting new additions to their menu like a Golden Root Turmeric Latte, CBD additions for drinks, local Kombucha, local beers and new coffee drinks. 2777 Iris Ave., Boulder, 303.443.2333, tangerineeats.com.
Runner Up for Best Breakfast: Walnut Cafe, 3073 Walnut St., Boulder, 303.447.2315, walnutcafe.com.
Runner Up for Best Brunch: Chautauqua Dining Hall, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303.440.3776, chautauqua.com/dining-hall.
Best Caterer AND Best Corporate Cafe
A Spice Of Life
A Spice of Life has been serving Boulder and beyond for almost three decades and the business has been featured in the Gold Awards for the past 20 years. For Owners David Rubin and Dan Bruckner, this recognition is deeply meaningful in such a competitive market. “The restaurant and catering industry in Boulder/Denver is full of talent; which means we are always working harder to come out on top,” says Rubin. A Spice of Life recently established a Green Team committee, which has stepped up recycling efforts and eliminated single-use plastics from the company. “When it comes down to it, what makes us the best is our unwavering attention to detail, unrivaled customer service and unwillingness to settle for anything other than the best possible products we can provide to our clients,” says Bruckner. 5541 Central Ave., #272, Boulder, 303.443.4049, aspiceoflife.com.
Runner Up for Best Caterer: Sforno Trattoria Romana, 1308 Pearl St., Boulder, 303.449.1787, sfornoboulder.com.
Runner Up for Best Corporate Cafe: Celestial Seasonings, 4600 Sleepytime Drive, Boulder, 303.581.1202, celestialseasonings.com.
Best Farm To Table
Black Cat Farm Table Bistro
Black Cat restaurant was opened 12 years ago, and the farm opened two years after the restaurant. “We hoped our authentic farm-to-table business model would resonate and be valued here,” says Chef/Owner Eric Skokan. “Winning this award demonstrates that our hopes have been realized. Restaurants and farms are challenging businesses and knowing that the community supports our efforts makes it all worthwhile.” Black Cat Farm Table Bistro is the largest farm-to-table operation in the country. The menu changes daily to capture vegetables at the peak of flavor, and the farm grows dozens of new varieties each season. “The starting point of our mission is to take care of our guests,” says Skokan. “We do that by cooking delicious food, giving excellent service, having an award-winning wine list and, of course, growing and serving the freshest and best-tasting produce around.” 1964 13th St., Boulder, 303.444.5500, blackcatboulder.com.
Runner Up: Blackbelly, 1606 Conestoga St., #3, Boulder, 303.247.1000, blackbelly.com.
Best Natural Ingredients AND Best Food On The Hill
The Corner has a menu that might overwhelm you with choices — and you’re right to be overwhelmed, because everything at The Corner is not only good, but also good for you! All menu items are housemade with natural ingredients, many sourced locally. Specialty soups like broccoli cheddar are made fresh daily and come with warm french bread. Salads, bowls, sandwiches, tacos and burgers round out the choices, with special selections for kids and a variety of beverages like coffee, tea, cocktails, beer and wine. With gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian options, your specialty diet won’t limit your choices at The Corner. During the daily happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m., snag $2 off specialty cocktails and $1 local drafts and wine.
1100 13th St., Boulder, 720.398.8331, thecornerboulder.com.
Runner Up for Best Natural Ingredients: The Leaf, 1710 Pearl St., Boulder, 303.442.1485, leafvegetarianrestaurant.com.
Runner Up for Best Food on the Hill: The Sink, 1165 13th St., Boulder, 303.444.7465, thesink.com.
Best New Eatery
The competition is stiff for new restaurants in Boulder, and Flower Child has managed to stand out from the crowd. Flower Child has locations across the country and the healthy eatery knew that Boulder would be a natural fit. “Flower Child really encompasses what Boulder is about by providing healthy, delicious food and a ‘good vibes only’ type environment — we believe that contributed to this win,” says Anita Walker, vice president of marketing for Flower Child. “At Flower Child, we know what we do well and we stick to that, which is creating an all-inclusive menu that guests can enjoy without guilt and where they know that their dietary sensitivities are top of mind.” Download the Flower Child app to order meals for delivery or pickup and earn rewards. 2580 Arapahoe Ave., #110, Boulder, 303.386.8090, iamaflowerchild.com.
Runner Up: Corrida, 1023 Walnut St., #400, Boulder, 303.444.1333, corridaboulder.com.
Best Outdoor Dining
Chautauqua Dining Hall
Chautauqua Dining Hall was originally built in 1898, and it boasts all the charm and character that one might expect from something so historic. “Chautauqua Park and the Dining Hall are both local and national treasures that we take great pride in being a part of and operating,” says Managing Partner Gerald Manning. “There is great history weaved into everything we do here.” It’s hard to beat the dining hall’s wrap-around porch, perched perfectly at the base of the Flatirons — and within a national park, no less. Chautauqua Dining Hall is open year-round and the space is especially magical during the quieter, cooler months. The Dining Hall is your place for a pre- or post-hike meal, and it also makes an idyllic setting for almost any event.
900 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303.440.3776, chautauqua.com/dining-hall.
Runner Up: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse,
1770 13th St., Boulder, 303.442.4993, boulderteahouse.com.
The goal for Snarf’s Sandwiches is “to be everybody’s favorite sandwich,” says Helen Wood, director of marketing for Snarf’s Sandwiches. It’s fair to say Snarf’s has achieved that lofty goal, considering that this is their 11th year of recognition in the Boulder County Gold Awards. “We pride ourselves on providing exceptional sandwiches that bring people back time and time again,” says Wood. “We put a lot of love into our sandwiches. They stand out from the crowd because they’re made-to-order using only the finest ingredients, including premium meats and cheeses, crisp veggies, our own blend of giardiniera peppers and homemade, oven-toasted bread.” Check out the new combo deal to get chips and a drink with any 7” or 12” sandwich. 5340 Arapahoe Ave., #J, Boulder, 303.444.3404; 637 S. Broadway, #A, Boulder, 303.444.7714, eatsnarfs.com.
Runner Up: Fat Shack, 1110 13th St., Boulder, 303.442.2610, fatshack.com.
Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant
The fare at Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant illustrates the fact that diners don’t need meat to have a sumptuous, satisfying meal. That has a lot to do with the eatery’s commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Leaf’s direct line to the Three Leaf Farm in Lafayette ensures a steady supply of seasonable, sustainable components, and it allows the chefs to create meals that rival or outdo any meat-based alternative. The restaurant’s creative spin on meals ranging from polenta to Udon noodles to mushrooms make it a must-visit for any Boulder local who appreciates good flavor and healthy choices. “People in our community are thoughtful and intentional about their food choices,” said Leaf Spokeswoman Sara Stewart Martinelli. “Our goal is to offer creative, fulfilling and delicious meat-free cuisine. We want vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike to enjoy our dishes and to feel like they’ve had an indulgent experience.” 1710 Pearl St., Boulder, 303.442.1485, leafvegetarianrestaurant.com.
Runner Up: Flower Child, 2580 Arapahoe Ave., #110, Boulder, 303.386.8090, iamaflowerchild.com.