At Flagstaff House, atop Flagstaff Mountain and overlooking downtown Boulder, the menu changes daily, so “you can dine with us over and over and never eat the same food,” said General Manger Adam Monette. This allows the Flagstaff House team to “cultivate dishes based off of local and seasonal availability” and “highlights the creativity, knowledge and skillset of Chef Chris Royster.” When paired with Flagstaff House’s wine list, a recipient of the “Wine Spectator Grand Award,” the hospitality and cuisine at Flagstaff House provide “a culinary journey unlike any other,” he said. A mainstay in Boulder for 49 years, Flagstaff House is “humbled by the endless memories created for our guests here at the Flagstaff House.” 1138 Flagstaff Road, Boulder, 303.442.4640, flagstaffhouse.com.
Runner Up: The Greenbriar Inn, 8735 N. Foothills Hwy., Boulder, 303.440.7979, greenbriarinn.com.
Thirty years into serving a traditional Chinese menu in Boulder County, Joy Fan, owner of China Gourmet, and her team are still celebrating the joy of Chinese cooking. “I like to see the families coming here to eat their dinner and their smiles,” Fan said. A lover of natural food, Fan steers clear of MSG and is happy to accommodate the dietary needs and choices of her customers. “We can prepare things gluten-free and made to order, and we can vary the spice level,” Fan said. Nothing is served from a can, and natural meats and fresh vegetables shine in China Gourmet’s most popular dishes. Fan’s Egg Foo Young features fried seasoned vegetables and egg patties topped with a garlic sauce, and the Mu Shu Chicken blends eggs, cabbage, carrots, onions and wood-ear mushrooms with a hoisin sauce and is served with authentic flour pancakes. 3970 N. Broadway, Boulder, 303.440.3500, chinagourmetmenu.com.
Runner Up: Tsing Tao, 607 S. Broadway, Suite A, Boulder, 303.494.6228, tsingtaochineseboulder.com.
Le French Café
Owners Agnes and Quentin Garrigou expressed excitement and gratitude for winning Boulder County Gold this year. Quentin gives big thanks to the Boulder community for all the support. “We were not expecting it, we are super happy, especially during this time because it’s pretty hard for everyone.” Instead of going for the fancy French cuisine vibe, Quentin said they’re more about a family-friendly vibe that dishes up simple foods with fresh ingredients. “Customers appreciate the prices and that it’s a family restaurant.” At Le French Café, staff take pride in treating everyone like they are family. Want a top selling lunch item? Lyonnaise is the one. The large salad of mixed greens is topped with grilled onion, bacon, tomato, potatoes and a poached egg. Save room for dessert – if you have a weakness for French pastries. 2525 Arapahoe Ave., C-1, Boulder, 303.284.2265, lefrencafeboulder.com.
Runner Up: Flagstaff House, 1138 Flagstaff Road, Boulder, 303.442.4640 flagstaffhouse.com.
Taj Indian Cuisine
Owner Vin Rai wants Boulderites to enjoy “the best Indian food” their money can buy. He credits his chefs for giving customers “good honest food.” That means chefs at Taj take great pride in making every dish as if they were feeding it to their own family. “It’s not just a job for our chefs, they are really proud of what they create. It’s not showy or pretentious, just solid Indian food.” Rai thanks the Boulder community for all the support and continued patronage, now, and over the past 24 years. Everyone at Taj appreciates all the continued take-out orders and kind words from customers who express their desire to support the success of this landmark restaurant in Boulder. 2630 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303.494.5216 tajindianboulder.com.
Runner Up: Tiffin’s India Café, 2416 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303.442.2500, tiffinsindiacafe.com
Best Italian AND Best Ambiance AND Best Gluten Free
Carelli’s of Boulder
Placing in three categories this year, Carelli’s of Boulder has “developed quite a local following,” said Greg Carelli, who opened his namesake eatery as a sub shop in 1991. Today interspersed fireplaces, birch wood accents, mosaic tiles and warm lighting create an intimate, unpretentious ambience, and the classic Northern and Southern Italian dishes please diverse palates. The menu features classics such as chicken parmigiana and manicotti as well as original pasta dishes such as Scozzi, a lighter dish with sautéed chicken, artichoke hearts and broccoli. “Fresh fish specials and risotto dishes are also customer favorites,” Carelli said. An extensive gluten-free menu, wine list and melt-in-the-mouth desserts ensure everyone leaves happy. During this season, Carelli’s has socially distanced their tables and is offering patio seating and curbside to-go meals. 645 30th St., Boulder, 303.938.9300, carellis.com.
Runner Up for Best Italian: Zucca Italian Ristorante, 808 Main St., Louisville, 303.666.6499, zuccalouisville.com.
Runner Up for Best Ambiance: Flagstaff House, 1138 Flagstaff Road, Boulder, 303.442.4640, flagstaffhouse.com.
Runner Up for Best Gluten Free: Tangerine, 2777 Iris Ave., Boulder, 303.443.2333; 300 S. Public Road, Lafayette, 303.443.5100; 379 Main St., Longmont, 720.815.2888, tangerineeats.com.
Efrain’s of Boulder Mexican Restaurant
General Manager Christian Pinon wants locals to feel like they’re having a meal with family and friends when they show up at Efrain’s. He said some of his waiters have been with the restaurant for 20 years, so they know the customers quite well. Customers take time to let Pinon know how much they appreciate the friendly faces and top-notch service. The top selling entre – chimichanga. “It has so many flavors, the meat itself is well seasoned. Plus the pork green chili, sour cream and gauc, the flavors come together harmoniously.” Pinon extends his gratitude to Boulder residents who made the award possible. “We want to give you a huge thanks for voting for us and the continued support during these difficult times. To see our hard work is being appreciated and recognized means the world to us.” 1630 63rd St., #10, Boulder, 303.440.4045, efrainsrestaurant.com.
Runner Up: Sancho’s Mexican Restaurant, 6545 Gunpark Drive, #280, Boulder, 303.955.4772, sanchosmexican.com.
When it comes to tantalizing, globally-inspired cuisine, Chey Thuy ticks all the boxes. Since 1993 the popular Vietnamese restaurant has been dazzling its diners with its delectable menu and energizing atmosphere. Known for its exciting, eclectic dishes, Chef Thuy richly mingles French, Chinese, Thai and Indonesion traditions with her own Vietnamese roots and culinary magic. Ever striving for perfection, Chez Thuy only uses high-quality meats, seafood and seasonings, selecting the freshest and healthiest herbs and spices. Delicious authenticity marks traditional, gluten-free, vegetarian and kids’ menu options, paired with a range of refreshments from beer and Sake to Vietnamese coffee, Boba tea, and classic soft drinks. With soothing soups, stunning hot pots, fried favorites, and creatively delightful flavor blends, it’s no wonder diners keep coming back for more. 2655 28th St., Boulder, 303.442.1700, chezthuy.com.
Runner Up: Black Pepper Pho, 2770 Pearl St., Boulder, 303.440.1948, phoboulder.com
Aloy Thai Cuisine
Renowned for rich, authentic flavors, Aloy Thai delivers the ultimate in satisfaction from the purist to the most health-conscious diner alike. From light, fresh spring rolls and fresh salads to hearty slow-cooked noodle soups and rich curries, the vibrant menu features Owner Kim Naka’s traditional family recipes cooked in a way that caters to all dietary needs and choices. Swoonworthy creations contain no added MSGs, and can be prepared gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. Aloy Thai has always been dedicated to inventive, beautiful and delicious dishes for all. But today, creative cuisine for every diet feels even more like a way to give back to loyal patrons. “We really appreciate our local community,” says General Manager Tess Portfolio. “Everyone has been so supportive throughout this time, and we are thankful and determined to keep on making delicious food everyone can enjoy.” 2720 Canyon Blvd., Boulder, 303.440.2903, aloythai.com.
Runner Up: Busaba, 133 McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 303.665.0330, busabaco.com.
Succulent brisket, ribs, burnt ends, pork and chicken smoked low and slow over Texas oak – customers at Lulu’s BBQ are hooked by the aromas wafting from the charming sidewalk location alone. Paired with a variety of popular southern dishes and unique house-made drinks the likes of Texas and Sangria Slushes, Margaritas, hand-selected tequilas, and more, this is comfort food at its finest. And, don’t forget the special sauce! Lulu’s original Sweet and Mild, Smokin’ Hot, and Zesty Mustard BBQ sauces are so popular, they’re being shipped to Texas and various states throughout the country. The tasty BBQ sauces and rubs are expected to be available in grocery stores soon. “We truly appreciate our customers, who have kept us in business during these challenging times,” says Owner Kevin Herrington. “We’re focused on continuing to provide the best Central Texas-style BBQ and unique sides, all made from scratch daily.” 701 Main St., Louisville, 720.585.1789, lulus-bbq.com.
Runner Up: Georgia Boys BBQ, 250 3rd Ave., Longmont, 720.999.4099, georgiaboys.com.
Lark Burger is not shy when it comes to changing up the menu and getting creative with their latest portabella burger – served with griddle-delish onions and house sauce. Some popular gluten free options on the menu include, lettuce wrapped burgers, gluten free buns and French fries, of course. Apparently, truffle fries are worth a shout-out. One claim to fame of Larkburger – they offered gluten free foods before it was the hip cool thing to do. Looking for something tasty? Some customers can’t say enough about the ahi tuna steak with cilantro and wasabi-ginger dressing – um, yum. Online orders are in full swing, so give it a try and pick up your food curbside if you prefer noshin’ at your own dinner table. 2525 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303.444.1487, larkburger.com.
Runner Up: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill, 2922 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303.442.8162, darkhorsebar.com.
Piece, Love & Chocolate
Ushering the frothy deliciousness of the chocolatier café experience to Boulder for nearly 10 years, Piece, Love & Chocolate is “truly a Boulder creation, supporting Boulder artisans, producing innovative products of very high quality,” said Greg Amorese, “cocoa conductor” at Piece, Love & Chocolate. “Our products speak chocolate first,” he said. Endeavoring to minimize sugar and emphasize chocolate, the Piece, Love & Chocolate artisans concentrate on darker chocolates, while also preparing milk and white chocolate products, and offer gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan sweets. Tiramisu, a variety of cakes sold whole and by the slice, chocolate drinks and more than 50 varieties of truffles are available fresh daily. Asked his favorite truffle, Amorese said, “I have to bypass the most popular truffle (dark salted liquid caramel) and go to the champagne truffle. It’s a dark chocolate ganache infused with the cognac from French champagne.” 805 Pearl St., 303.449.4804, pieceloveandchocolate.com.
Runner Up: Chocolaterie Stam, 103 N. Public Road, Unit B, Lafayette, 303.800.8201, stamchocolate.com.
Given today’s unusual circumstances, everyone at Pizzaria Locale is just thrilled to be open and able to serve the community we love. Since owners Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine opened doors in 2011, elegantly casual Pizzeria Locale has been going a mile high to offer a supreme Napolitano pizzeria experience. From importing a custom-built Stefano Ferrara oven to sourcing the best ingredients available, every detail is taken into consideration when it comes to perfecting the full dining experience. Great pizza starts with great hospitality, from the pizzaiolos artfully cooking the pizzas to the bartender making the spritzes. Combining their favorite aspects of southern Italian food and wine culture while nestled in the foothills of the Front Range, the team at Pizzaria Locale consider it an honor to be called the best in anything. Moreover, however, they embrace it as a call to continue to push for an even greater experience and an even better pizza. 1730 Pearl St., Boulder, 303.442.3003, localeboulder.com.
Runner Up: Cosmo’s Pizza, 3117 28th St., Boulder, 303.442.3278; 1325 Broadway, #108, Boulder, 303.447.1133; 659 30th St., Boulder, 303.447.3278; 520 W. South Boulder Road, Lafayette, 720.598.5123,
Best Ice Cream AND Best Dessert AND Best Place to Entertain Kids
Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato
Seriously, what’s not to like about ice cream? And for anyone and everyone who has ever been to Glacier, what’s not to fall udderly, head-over-heels in love with? A Boulder County Gold winner for each of its 18 years in business and counting, Glacier Homemade Ice Cream has everything your heart could desire from the creamy, dreamy indulgence, including divine, coconut/almond-based vegan and paleo offerings the likes of Mexican Chocolate, Maple Pecan and more. Founder Mark Mallen’s focus is as much on premium quality as it is on supreme taste. “Our citrus is fresh-squeezed, and our paleo/vegan Glacier creams use coconut sugar instead of white,” he says. “We’re always experimenting and rolling out new flavors. Mallen’s dedication to creative innovation shows in every aspect, from the cheerfully decorated walls and unique kids-only zone to the dazzling choice, with 1,000, always hand-mixed flavors created to date. 4760 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303.499.4760; 3133 28th St., Boulder, 303.440.6542, glaciericecream.com.
Runner Up for Best Ice Cream: Sweet Cow, 2728 Broadway, Boulder, 303.447.3269; 669 S. Broadway, Boulder, 303.494.4268; 637 Front St., Louisville, 303.666.4269, sweetcowicecream.com.
Runner Up for Best Dessert: Sweet Cow, 2728 Broadway, Boulder, 303.447.3269; 669 S. Broadway, Boulder, 303.494.4268; 637 Front St., Louisville, 303.666.4269, sweetcowicecream.com
Runner Up for Best Place to Entertain Kids: Community Park, Foothills Community Park, 800 Cherry Ave., Boulder; East Boulder Community Park, 5660 Sioux Drive, Boulder; Louisville Community Park, 955 Bella Vista Drive, Louisville; Erie Community Park, 450 Powers St., Erie
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
Consistently voted “Best of” in Boulder, Jax has been serving up the freshest and finest sea cuisine since 1994. Culinary Director Sheila Lucero works hard to ensure culinary delights to the tune of furikake-crusted Hawaiin Bigeye Tuna, buttery Lobster Cavatappi in a creamy garlic sauce and so much more, are all sustainably sourced. While loyal patrons love the welcoming yet wild vibe signature to the Pearl Street hotspot, folks are increasingly discovering that seafood makes for one luscious takeout option, too. “We’ve optimized our menu for to-go service,” says Lucero. “We’ve got family meal kits for lobster mac and cheese, lobster rolls, crab cakes, grilled oysters and more – fully prepared and ready to assemble at home.” Jax approaches everything with seriousness, from impeccable service to sourcing ingredients – but, is also all about fun! 928 Pearl Street, Boulder, 303.444.1811, jaxfishhouse.com.
Runner Up: Boulder Cork, 3295 30th St., Boulder, 303.443.9505, bouldercork.com.
Forget Taco Tuesday – with inventive, unbelievably delicious flavors Boulder’s beloved urban taqueria, why not make every night inviting with fresh Mexican fare? Traditionally Mexican prepared meats, piled on handmade tortillas, and topped off with fresh creative toppings…the variety is endless and delivers the utmost in taste. Locally owned by the same owners since 2012, T/ACO is as authentic and family-oriented as can be. The 100 percent female kitchen staff, all of whom are all of first-generation, Mexican descent, deliver the utmost in their commitment to cooking from scratch. “Every morning we run boiled corn through our wet mill to make fresh corn masa, which is then rolled out and cut into circles and grilled on our plancha to make fresh tortillas,” says Managing Partner Peter Waters. “No one else in Boulder is following all these steps to make their own in-house tortillas.” 1175 Walnut St., Boulder, 303.443.9468,tacocolorado.com.
Runner Up: Pica’s Mexican Taqueria, 5360 Arapahoe Ave., Unit F, Boulder, 303.444.2391; 901 Front St., Louisville, 720.535.8311, picascolorado.com.
Sushi Zanmai has been delighting patrons for over three decades. With its lively atmosphere, friendly diverse staff, and most memorably its fresh, beautifully-made sushi rolls, sushi and sashimi combos, and mouthwatering tempura, it’s no wonder this Boulder gem is appearing in the Boulder County Gold Awards for its 21st year. “I have truly enjoyed serving the Boulder community for the last 35 years and the most heartwarming thing for me is when we see three generations of customers still enjoying Sushi Zanmai,” says Owner Nao Kanda. “I want everyone to know we are taking your safety very seriously and wish everyone health and happiness during these strange times. Thank you for your constant and continued support! We love you Boulder!”1221 Spruce St., Boulder, 303.440.0733, sushizanmai.com.
Runner Up: Hapa Sushi Grill and Sake Bar, 1117 Pearl St., Boulder, 303.473.4730, hapasushi.com.
Best Foodie Experience
Best Appetizers/Happy Hour
Counting 51 years in business in the same location, Boulder Cork has perfected happy hour. “Guests love to snack on our house-made waffle potato chips with blue cheese and arugula while sipping one of our coin-style margaritas or a classic martini,” said Donna Karmeris, Boulder Cork general manager. She continued, “Our guests love celebrating special occasions with us, as well as popping in for a casual drink and lighter fare at Happy Hour. Having been a part of the Boulder community for over 50 years, our steak, seafood, service and consistency speak for themselves.” A large indoor space, two patios and a robust take-out curbside business facilitate social distancing. “We are so happy to be able to safely host our guests, both regulars and new friends,” Karmeris said. 3295 30th St., Boulder, 303.443.9505, bouldercork.com.
Runner Up: Zucca Italian Ristorante, 808 Main St., Louisville, 303.666.6499, zuccalouisville.com.
Best Bakery AND Best Lunch AND Best Customer Service
Breadworks Bakery & Cafe
For an incredible 9,300 consecutive days, Breadworks Bakery & Cafe has been providing scrumptious baked goods and extraordinary customer service. Larry Domnitz, who owns and operates Breadworks with Colleen Doran, said, “Everything is made fresh from scratch every day,” and all breads and pastries are baked with “100 percent certified organic flour.” Domnitz reminisced, “Breadworks opened on Valentine’s Day 1995. We love our regular customers who have steadfastly supported the bakery through two major expansion projects, the 2008 recession, the demolition and reconstruction of Broadway and even now during this business-crippling pandemic that we are all finding ways to endure.” Along with delicious baked goods, Breadworks serves soups and specials created fresh in-house by employees who have been with the business between ten and 20 years and relish serving amazing food. 2644 Broadway, Boulder, 303.444.5667, boulderbreadworks.com.
Runner Up for Best Bakery: Moxie Bread Co., 641 Main St., Louisville, 720.420.9461, moxiebreadco.com.
Runner Up for Best Lunch: Tangerine, 2777 Iris Ave., Boulder, 303.443.2333; 300 S. Public Road, Lafayette, 303.443.5100; 379 Main St., Longmont, 720.815.2888, tangerineeats.com.
Runner Up for Best Customer Service: Flagstaff House, 1138 Flagstaff Road, Boulder, 303.442.4640, flagstaffhouse.com.
Best Breakfast AND Best Brunch
For 8 years, Tangerine has been awarded for being the best breakfast and brunch spot in Boulder County, thanks to Tangerine’s loyal following and innovative take on morning fare. The menu is crafted around natural, farm-fresh ingredients and features seasonal vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Tangerine’s brunch blends American with Mediterranean-inspired recipes, in addition to offering a full bar and locally roasted Salto coffees. Alec Schuler, Tangerine founder, chef and proprietor, said his egg Benedicts are always a hit, and the “great hollandaise sauce is irresistible.” Since the spring, Tangerine has expanded outdoor dining in Boulder and Lafayette, and in cooler weather Schuler hopes to serve customer in “mini greenhouses in the parking lots.” Like most restaurants, Schuler said, “(We) are trying everything and anything to help us get through the pandemic” and best serve those seeking a terrific breakfast or brunch. 2777 Iris Ave., Boulder, 303.443.2333; 300 S. Public Road, Lafayette, 303.443.5100; 379 Main St., Longmont, 720.815.2888, tangerineeats.com.
Runner Up for Best Breakfast: The Huckleberry, 700 Main St., Louisville, 303.666.8020, thehuckleberry.com.
Runner Up for Best Brunch: The Greenbriar Inn, 8735 N. Foothills Hwy., Boulder, 303.440.7979, greenbriarinn.com.
Three Leaf Catering
When you’re planning a shindig with lots of guests and nothing but delicious foods will do, residents and businesses call on Three Leaf Catering to get the job done. “We build custom menus if you have unique dietary or ethnic needs,” said Crystal Blaskis, director of catering and special events. Whether you’re on the gluten free, keto or paleo path, or your guests are, the chef has you covered. Three Leaf Catering provides offsite catering within two hours of Boulder, from corporate events and galas, to weddings. At their Three Leaf Farms location, Blaskis said they host a limited number of weddings and cooking classes.“Our farm hosts different workshops and we’re constantly figuring out new ways to get out and enjoy dining out.” 808 Main St., Louisville, 303.862.8584, threeleafcatering.com.
Runner Up: A Spice of Life, 541 Central Ave., #272, Boulder, 303.443.4049, aspiceoflife.com.
Zucca Italian Ristorante
General Manager Matthew Mulkey could not be more thrilled to bring this award home to Zucca. That’s because he’s the man burning the Midnight oil to ramp up curbside and to-go options for hungry Boulder locals. Despite all the changes restaurants have endured in recent months, Mulkey never lost sight of giving customers what they truly desire – an elegant meal at home. “I knew people would still want to pick up restaurant food.” And it helps to have menu items that stand the test of time where food delivery is concerned. “From scratch-made pasta and pizza, these things travel well and it’s hot when it arrives to your home.” The restaurant is open for those who still wish to enjoy the ambiance that goes with the dining experience. 808 Main St., Louisville, 303.666.6499, zuccalouisville.com.
Runner Up: Boulder Cork, 3295 30th St., Boulder, 303.443.9505, bouldercork.com.
No matter how you look at it, Cosmo’s Pizza delivers. For 19 years, the popular family-owned restaurant has been slinging up authentic New York-style pizza just the way we love it – hand-tossed, thin crust that’s just thick and crisp enough on the edges yet soft-and pliable beneath the toothsome sauce and toppings to be folded up and devoured. Known for its generous slices and fun flavors like its popular Spicy Ranch, Cosmo’s is as dedicated to quality delivery service as it is to dishing up great taste. “Our commitment to offering free delivery with our in-house delivery drivers allows us to retain quality control over every pizza we deliver,” says Owner Adam S. “The people make the place, and there is no better group of people than those on staff here at Cosmo’s.” 3117 28th St., Boulder, 303.442.3278; 1325 Broadway, #108, Boulder, 303.447.1133; 659 30th St., Boulder, 303.447.3278; 520 W. South Boulder Road, Lafayette, 720.598.5123, cosmospizza.com.
Runner Up: Abo’s Pizza, 637 S. Broadway, Unit S, Boulder, 303.494.1274; 2761 Iris Ave., Boulder, 303.443.1921; 720 Austin Ave., Erie, 303.828.9777; 7960 Niwot Road, B5, Niwot, 303.652.0830; 1834 Main St., #8, Longmont, 303.678.0111, abospizza.com.
Best Food on the Hill
Can’t get enough of The Sink? You’re in good company. Since 1923, this Boulder staple has been wowing its patrons, including the likes of former President Obama and Chefs Antony Bourdain and Eric Ripert. Originally named Summer Sunken Gardens after a large, sunken fountain in the dining room, CU Alum John Pudlik officially renamed the popular restaurant to its affectionate nickname, “The Sink”. Now in its 98th year, The Sink has been a beloved gathering place, drawing all with its timeless artwork, funky vibe and most importantly its mouth-watering menu. Under the local ownership of the Heinritz family since 1992, The Sink has evolved into a hip hangout best known for its burgers – grass-fed beef with all the fixings you can think of. Not into burgers? Not a problem. The Sink offers a mouth-watering variety sure to please all palates, from fresh, light salads to hearty dinners and irresistible pizza. Now offering pickup, curbside and delivery, you don’t have an excuse not to try The Sink’s award-winning food! 1165 13th St., Boulder, 303.444.7465, thesink.com.
Runner Up: Boss Lady Pizza, 1129 13th St., Boulder, 303.449.0909, bossladypizza.com.
Best New Eatery
Since opening in Erie in June, Birdhouse has soared as a taco, ramen, rum and tiki drinks paradise. “It’s weird but good, and our customers love the eclectic mix,” said Tony Firestine, Birdhouse associate director. “We are lucky to have a wide range of outdoor seating – both an outdoor and rooftop patio,” he said. “Our dining room and bar are also wide open with garage doors that let in plenty of fresh air.” For those stopping by, enjoy the daily happy hour, and customers dining in or carrying out will relish Tartare to start a meal. “Made with a daily rotating selection of fresh fish with avocado, cucumber and a Szechuan peppercorn vinaigrette,” Birdhouse’s Tartare is topped with a puffed sesame rice cracker. Another savory choice is the Tonkotsu, “one of our most popular styles of ramen with roasted pork and crispy onion finished with a little of our Birdhouse chili sauce,” Firestine explained. 526 Briggs St., Erie, 303.997.9630, eatatbirhouse.com.
Runner Up: Dry Storage, 3601 Arapahoe Ave., D-181, Boulder, 720.420.0918, drystorageco.com.
Best Outdoor Dining
The Greenbriar Inn
Since 1967, the Greenbriar Inn has showcased a one-of-kind Colorado setting. The Inn’s large patios, fashioned with Lyons sandstone, are surrounded by expansive lawns, elegant flower and vegetable gardens, a waterfall, pond and picturesque woodlands, all framed by majestic mountain views. During the day, green and white umbrellas provide shade, and after dusk, lights twinkle from the trees. The ambiance is ideal for a romantic dinner date or relaxed Sunday brunch, as well as a charming wedding and private events space. Menus include the bistro, American classic dinner menu, Sunday brunch and a picnic menu for guests enjoying a fabulous meal by the pond. For an unforgettable experience, try Greenbriar Inn’s Colorado Beef Wellington or Lobster Tail with Seafood Ravioli, both complemented with selections from the Greenbriar Inn’s 900-label wine cellar. Philip Goddard, owner and manager, said, “The freshness and quality of our food paired with the beautiful, relaxing setting is what makes our dining experiences so amazing.” 8735 N. Foothills Highway., Boulder, 303.440.7979, greenbriarinn.com.
Runner Up: Chautauqua Dining Hall, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303.440.3776, chautauqua.com/dining-hall.
Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
Anyone who has not stopped by to bliss out on this off the charts patio – let’s just say – add it to the bucket list. Teahouse Owner Lenny Martinelli agrees that this magical patio is like no other. “The patio offers you the chance to be outside next to the river, surrounded by roses and grape vines, and still experience the teahouse.” With two patios, both burst with vibrant roses planted by the Rose Society, while the riverside patio offers natural shade from the grapevine arbors. Martinelli expressed his excitement to win the award, with this to say: “Thank you for supporting the tea house for the past 22 years. It’s been an honor to serve you with our great foods and teas from all around the world.” 1770 13th St., Boulder, 303.442.4993, boulderteahouse.com.
Runner Up: Chautauqua Dining Hall, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303.440.3776, chautauqua.com/dining-hall.
Since 1996, when Snarf’s Sandwiches “started slinging our hot toasted subs in Boulder back in 1996 on Pearl Street,” said Ellen Crossley, marketing manager at Snarf’s Sandwiches, Snarf’s has epitomized “finding and devouring the perfect sandwich.” Now with four locations in Boulder and two in Longmont, it is even “easier to get your hands on one of our ridiculously good sandwiches,” she added. Favorites include the Classic Italian, Super Club, the secret menu’s Chicken Cordon Bleu and a drool-worthy vegetarian Artichoke and Feta. Sandwiches are topped with hand-sliced meats and/or vegetables as desired, including Snarf’s signature giardiniera hot peppers, and served on fresh-baked white, wheat or gluten-free bread, with kids sizes available.
2660 Pearl St., Boulder, 303.444.7766; 5340 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303.444.3404; 637 S. Broadway St., Boulder, 303.444.7714; 6562 Lookout Road, Boulder, 720.622.0107; 645 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303.774.1441; 2130 Mountain View Ave., Longmont, 303.702.1111; eatsnarfs.com.
Runner Up: Salvaggio’s Italian Deli, 2609 Pearl St., Boulder, 303.938.1981, salvaggiosdeli.us.
Best Vegetarian AND Best Natural Ingredients
Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant
Shane Jackson is the executive chef at Leaf, saying he has a high degree of “creative freedom” when it comes to menu and recipe creation. Winning the two categories comes as a big compliment, especially since Jackson’s specialty is meat and seafood. If he had to guess why readers chose Leaf, he said it’s likely because, well, it’s tasty and a lot of TLC goes into each dish. “We make everything from scratch and most meals are very prep intensive,” Jackson said. Wondering which mouth-watering dishes customers can’t get enough of? “Our most popular dish is our cauliflower tacos.” Followed by the savory portobello burger, served full sized on the lunch menu – and sliders for happy hour. As for offering fresh natural ingredients, he attributes it Three Leaf Farms, which is part of the restaurant concept. “During the summer I get most of my produce from them, kale, tomatoes, radishes, squash, zucchini.” 1710 Pearl St., Boulder, 303.442.1485, leafvegetarianrestaurant.com.
Runner Up for Best Vegetarian: Flower Child, 2580 Arapahoe Ave., #110, Boulder, 303.386.8090 iamaflowerchild.com.
Runner Up for Best Natural Ingredients: Black Cat Farm Table Bistro, 1964 13th St., Boulder, 303.444.5500, boulderdowntown.com/go/black-cat