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Thursday, April 25,2013

Best of Boulder 2013: American Restaurants

By Boulder Weekly Staff
Photo by Susan France
Snarf's, winner of best sandwich.

American Restaurant

1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886

627 S. Broadway, 303-543-0886

Second Place: The Kitchen
Third Place: SALT
Fourth Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill
Fifth Place: Foolish Craig’s

Pearl Street is by no means a picture-perfect, small-town-Main-Street slice of Americana — a few too many buckets being used as drums. But food-wise, Pearl is the spot for a taste of America. Aside from runner-up Dark Horse, the top vote-getters in this category represent a culinary trip up and down the main strip of the city. There’s the farm-centric, carefully crafted fare of The Kitchen and SALT, the French-influenced mainstay Foolish Craig’s and this year’s winner, Mountain Sun/Southern Sun, with a burger-centric fixed menu and hyper-creative specials. Whether you pore over the salad and wrap specials or go straight for a favorite burger or soup, the Sun’s food deserves as many accolades as its beer — and with its new Under the Sun, this empire keeps upping the ante.


2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-444-1487

Second Place: Mountain Sun/ Southern Sun
Third Place: Smashburger
Fourth Place: Rueben’s Burger Bistro
Fifth Place: The Sink

When you think about it, burgers are a pretty complicated and delicate food.

You’re starting with ground beef, a tricky protein that can go dry or flavorless if you’re not careful. Add on some of the less-thrilling vegetables out there — does anyone really salivate over lettuce? — and a bun that, again, could be a letdown if you aren’t picky about it.

Really, there’s a lot that could go wrong with burgers. But the winners in this category pull them off with panache and keep us hungry for more. Tops again this year is Larkburger, which gets the job done with simple, delicious ingredients — and the brioche bun, Tillamook cheddar and house sauce don’t hurt. In second place, Mountain Sun and Southern Sun get creative, topping their burgers with things like date puree and poblano peppers.


2128 Pearl St., 303-444-7766 5340
Arapahoe Ave., 303-444-3404 645
Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-774-1441
2130 Mountain View Ave., Longmont, 303-702-1111

Second Place: Salvaggio’s Italian Deli
Third Place: Half Fast Subs
Fourth Place: Great Harvest Bread Company
Fifth Place: Deli Zone

Boy, this establishment has really taken off since its humble beginnings in what was little more than a shack on Pearl Street. Now, in addition to two Boulder locations, it has two shops in Longmont. Oh, and there are locations in Fort Collins, as well as all over the Denver metro area. Did we mention Chicago and St. Louis? Yes, the sandwiches are that good. Check out the Italian. Snarf’s Sub Shop has even started serving breakfast at some of its non-Colorado locations. Please let it happen here too. Soon. Winning this award is a tall order in a county that is chock full of great sandwich shops like the runner-up Salvaggio’s, so this latest Snarf’s victory is a true testament to how darn good this place is.


2675 13th St., 303-442-3717
7464 Arapahoe Road, 303-786-7608

Second Place: West End Tavern
Third Place: The Rib House
Fourth Place: Moe’s Original Bar B Que
Fifth Place: LuLu’s BBQ

Keep it simple, stupid.

That might as well be the mantra for this category’s winner, KT’s Real Good BBQ, and untold numbers of other barbecue joints around the country. At KT’s, you’ll find the five meats that make barbecue magical — pork, beef brisket, chicken, hot links and spare ribs — and the three sides that barbecue demands — cole slaw, mashed potatoes and beans. A barbecue chicken salad is about the only deviation from the basics that define barbecue.

Tack on one of KT’s three sauces, which cover the thick and sweet Texas style, the vinegary Memphis and the straight-up spicy, and you’re ready to get messy.

STAFF PICK: Garlic Fries

2690 28th St., 303-444-1562

After he was done reading from his newest book, Smoke Signals, mountain man M. John Fayhee took questions from the audience. Predictably, a woman asked him what some of his favorite hiking and camping spots were in Colorado. Fayhee, an enemy of crowds, gave an honest answer: “I’m not telling you,” he said.

That’s where a prominent Western writer stands on a tricky paradox for journalists, particularly travel writers. The paradox goes like this: Articles about “secret,” undiscovered or less-traveled spots are very popular, but by writing them, you’re making the spots public, discovered and well-traveled. The reason Fayhee likes his favorite trails is that they aren’t getting trampled into oblivion. So he can’t write or talk about which ones they are.

Thus it is with a fond goodbye that we tell our readers about the incredible fries at 28th Street Tavern, a bar that isn’t empty by any means, but that is nonetheless off the beaten path. The fries, crinkle-cut and absolutely doused in garlicky oil guaranteed to utterly screw up your date, are one of Boulder’s best-kept secrets. Sure, they come plain and Cajun, too, but we can’t bring ourselves to order them any other way. Dear, delicious fries, dotted with diced garlic, we’ll miss having you all to ourselves. But you’re just too good to keep a secret.

STAFF PICK: Biker Bar With a Secret Garden

604 8th St., Dacono, 303-833-3469

You have got to check this place out. Yes, we know that Dacono is technically outside of Boulder County, but there just weren’t any good biker bars with secret gardens that compared to Jerry D’s, so we gave it to them anyway. Don’t let all those Harleys or the first impression of the place fool you. If you keep on walking you will eventually arrive at one of the area’s best-kept secrets, an outdoor paradise complete with tropical grass hut bars and stage, a regulation sand bocce ball court, a toilet full of flowers, tons of green grass and a lot of fun-loving people. So make the trek, grab a pitcher and some Mexican food, and enjoy the good old rock and roll that’s always on the jukebox.


2690 Baseline Road, 303-554-5312

We are a health-conscious staff here at Boulder Weekly. When we're hungry, we think lean, so we go green. Veggies, that is. And Beau Jo's Pizza has the best salad bar in town. I mean, who doesn't love a hot, steaming slice of salad, with delicious, lycopene-rich tomato sauce topped with heaps of healthful, protein-filled cheese and meats. Beau Jo's salad comes with a thick, doughy crust, which, when dipped in honey, is a dessert in and of itself. And if you're feeling decadent, there's a whole buffet of non-salad items, such as lettuce and other vegetables, with various sauces on which to lather them.

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