My first view of Boulder appeared much like an oasis… A cluster of buildings in the distance shadowed by a beautiful mountain range I would soon learn was the Flatirons. A quick 40 minute drive from Denver Intl Airport, Boulder is not only home to the sprawling University of Colorado campus, but a hub for foodies, culture seekers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Magnificent in all seasons, Boulder boasts an array of world-class restaurants, hiking trails with majestic views and it’s ranking as one of the healthiest and happiest cities in the U.S. according to an annual Gallup Poll. Considered one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine, Boulder’s yearly International Film Festival coming up March 5-8, 2015, brings hordes of visitors to the city for four days of movie-filled mania. The city maintains a hippie-chic vibe, with its artsy outdoor spaces, restaurants of every variety, unique shops mixed with more recognizable chains and an array of coffee bars. Current and former CU students, many who have chosen to stay in Boulder despite having graduated, mingle with retirees, young families, backpackers and street performers on Pearl Street, Boulders main, mostly pedestrian-only thoroughfare.
Boulder’s Best Breakfasts
With its fun, colorful, 50s-style décor, Snooze on Pearl Street is a Boulder favorite for breakfast and lunch. Long lines await, especially on weekends as students and families alike gather, but the creative take on American fare make this place worth it. Inventive pancake varieties including Pineapple Upside Down, Sweet Potato, and Blueberry Danish will have you begging for more. If eggs are your thing, six different Benedicts will make your mouth water as will the Peter Paul Rubens Sandwich and Mmmm BLT. You definitely won’t fall asleep at this eatery.
Snooze Boco 1617 Pearl Street Boulder, CO 80302 303.225.7344
Family-owned since 1995, The Buff is a Boulder institution and a definite stomping ground for CU Students and their families. Though recently relocated just across 28th Street to a roomier, airier space, the huge menu and large portions did not change at all. A large array of Breakfast classics from eggs, pancakes, skillets and southwestern flavors as well as gluten-free and vegetarian options offer something for everyone at this crowded hangout. In addition to breakfast and brunch, don’t miss their salads, soups, burgers and grillers (hot melted sandwiches) for lunch.
The Buff, 2600 Canyon Blvd., Boulder, CO 80302 303.442.9150
Boulder’s Best Lunch/Dinner Spots
A fixture on Pearl Street for the last 10 years, The Kitchen offers farm-to-table, seasonal fare with the “mission to create community through food.” This bistro has a daily price-fixed option as well as a varied assorment of fresh meats, vegetables, charcuterie, cheese and appetizers. With cocktails and food served at The Kitchen Upstairs beginning at 5:30 daily and a more casual, pub-like atmosphere at The Kitchen Next Door, for lunch and dinner, there is something for everyone. A portion of the proceeds from the Kid’s Menu are donated to plant gardens in local schools.
The Kitchen 1039 Pearl St., Boulder, CO 80302 Phone: 303.544.5973
The Kitchen Next Door 1035 Pearl St. Boulder, CO 80302 Phone: 720.542.8159
The Mediterranean, commonly referred to as The Med by locals, offers a casual, diverse menu which is extremely popular among CU students and their families. Moderately priced and known for their tapas, paellas, artisan pizzas and fresh seafood, this place has a friendly atmosphere and is great for big groups. Weather permitting, it has a large outdoor dining area.
The Mediterranean 1002 Walnut Street Boulder, Colorado 80302 Phone: 303.444.5335
If you are looking for an upscale, hip and urban vibe, The OAK at Fourteenth is the place to visit. Craft cocktails, wood burning ovens and seasonal choices are the draw at this eaterie. Reservations are necessary at this place described as offering “New American Cuisine,” and the food does not disappoint. Known for Small-plate specialties like their Wood-Grilled Eggplant, Shaved Apple and Kale salad, and Oak-Grilled Hamachi collar. Large-plates include Wood-Roasted Local Boulder Chicken and Pan-Seared Branzino. For lunch, try the OAK Grilled Double Cheese Burger & House Made Root Beer. The Oak always has a stylish crowd that appreciates the care put into the dishes here.
The OAK on Fourteenth 1400 Pearl Street Boulder, CO 80302 303.444.3622
Two features from Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives are located right in the heart of Boulder’s action. The Sink, a favorite situated on The Hill, a popular area for CSU students that President Obama has visited, is known for its graffiti covered walls, low ceilings and assortment of local craft beer. Pub food including burgers, pizzas and salads is the norm, and don’t miss the Budah Basil Pesto Pizza which was featured by Guy Fieri. Another local hangout, Foolish Craig’s on upper Pearl Street, known for its crepes, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and bakes its own fresh bread daily. Be sure to leave room for dessert. Order the decadent Butter Rum Crepe Cake, which was the standout recipe showcased on Diners,Drive-Ins, and Dives.
The Sink, 1165 13th Street, Boulder, CO 80302 303.444.SINK
Foolish Craig’s, 1611 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 303.247.9383
Boulder is a city of healthy living, so it’s no surprise that a host of healthy eateries abound. Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place, owned by three sisters, is way more then a place to eat. The relaxing, zen-like atmosphere invites patrons to spend some time in the open, airy space and to mingle at the community table. With a philosophy of “eat, heal and live well,” Shine’s kitchen is 100% gluten free, non GMO and offers 85% local and organic foods. A tonic and potion menu has unique juice and tea-based drinks and the food ranges from Beet Hummus and Kale Seaweed Salad to Grilled Cheddar and Avocado Sandwich, Grass-Fed Beef Burger, House-Made Curry and Seasonal Veggie Stir Fry.
Another local favorite, Modmarket located at the 29th Street Mall, is a cool, clean cafeteria style locale. “A bastion of health and happiness” according to the company mantra, Modmarket offers sandwiches, soups, salads, pizzas and more and boasts many vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and seasonal options.
Leaf is a fully vegetarian restaurant which owns its own farm for sourcing all organic produce, herbs and eggs. Chefs work closely with the farm to ensure the best seasonal ingredients for their recipes. Offering a full menu for brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, happy hour and dinner, Leaf also does catering for all types of events.
Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place, 2027 13th Street, Boulder, CO 80302 303.449.0120
Modmarket, 1600 28th Street, #1212, Boulder, CO 80302 303.440.0476
Leaf, 2010 16th Street, Boulder, CO 80302 303.442.1485