Best of East County 2016 — Food

0
Parma Trattoria-Mozzarella Bar
Susan France
The Melting Pot General Manager Adam Baker Susan France
The Melting Pot General Manager Adam Baker

Place To Go on a First Date
THE MELTING POT
732 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-7777
Lafayette Winner: The Post Brewing Co.
Honorable Mention: Parma Trattoria-Mozzarella Bar (Louisville); The Empire Lounge (Louisville); Zucca (Louisville)

As they say: First comes love, next comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage. And that love usually starts with a first date. No pressure, but this first date could be a story you tell your children, and your children’s children. So take it seriously, and make the right choice. Our readers advise you to head to fondue paradise The Melting Pot. It’s built-in fun choosing just which foods you want to dip in other foods and it sets the scene for a playful yet romantic mood. Plus, it’s the perfect place to celebrate your anniversary, from your first year together to your 50th.

Ice Cream
SWEET COW ICE CREAM
637 Front St., Louisville, 303-666-4269
Longmont Winner: Cold Stone Creamery
Louisville Winner: Eats & Sweets
Honorable Mention: Scrumptious (Longmont); Menchie’s (Longmont)

Who doesn’t love ice scream? “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream,” as the old adage goes. If you are part of this treat-loving “we,” then be sure to check out Sweet Cow Ice Cream in Louisville for the best ice cream around. With more than a dozen rotating flavors to choose from, Sweet Cow will definitely not disappoint. Maybe even splurge and treat yourself to one of their decadent ice-cream sandwiches. Or if you enjoy ice but can’t have the cream, Sweet Cow has plenty of non-dairy sorbets to choose from as well. So for fun and yum for the entire family, head on over to Sweet Cow.

Rayme Rossello, Owner ComidaSusan France
Rayme Rossello, Owner Comida

Food Truck
COMIDA
Neighborhoods and office parks all along the Front Range
Runner Up, East County: Waffle Cakes
Honorable Mention: Burger Radio; Butcher and the Blonde; El Mercado Taco Wagon

Oh, Tina, you’re the life of the party. You always bring delicious Mexican food, and only you can rock that shade of pink so well. You’re our readers’ favorite food truck in all of East Boulder County, serving up Comida’s Mexican comfort food, from tacos to quesadillas to chips and guac, and don’t forget an ice cold Mexican Coke to wash it all down. If you want to know where Tina’s rolling through next (did we mention that Tina’s the truck), just give her a “like” on Facebook and never miss out on the mobile Mexican feast again.

Indian
TAJ MAHAL III
1075 E. South Boulder Road, Suite 145, Louisville, 303-926-0999
Runner Up, East County: Tibet’s Restaurant & Bar (Louisville)
Longmont Winner: Flavor of India Restaurant & Bar Nederland Winner: Kathmandu Restaurant
Honorable Mention: Azitra (Broomfield)

The Taj Mahal sits on the south bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, India. It took 22 years to build, it using roughly 20,000 artisans to do it. The ivory-white mausoleum was commissioned in 1632 by emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his favorite wife. It attracts a couple million people every year, and in 1983 it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Skip India and head to the Taj Mahal III Louisville. Trust us, when you’re knee deep in saag and tikka masala you’ll forget all about that other white building with the domes. As a side note, we know that Ned’s not out east but our readers gave it a shout out and who are we to argue.

Niwot Restaurant
COLTERRA FOOD & WINE
210 Franklin St., Niwot, 303-652-0777
Runner Up: Niwot Tavern
Honorable Mention: The Garden Gate Cafe, Treppeda’s and Lefty’s Gourmet Pizza

What’s better than a locally owned restaurant? One that also serves locally sourced meals. Everything from the organic vegetables grown in the restaurant’s garden to the naturally raised and hormone-free meat and dairy products from Colorado cheesemakers, the menu at Colterra Food & Wine is remarkable. Chef Bradford Heap and the team are constantly changing things up based on the availability and seasonality of local ingredients, while sticking to the cuisine of Southern France and Northern Italy. So spend a nice summer evening out on the patio or a blustery winter night inside the cozy dining room. Either way, Colterra is the place to be in Niwot.

staff-pick-logo

 

 

Place To Go For a Food Adventure
ROSARIO’S PERUVIAN RESTAURANT
625 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-772-1026

One of the best parts of living in East County is its diversity. As a result we have amazing ethnic food representing nearly every corner of the globe. A prime example is Longmont’s Rosario’s Peruvian Restaurant. This family owned eatery will make you feel like you just landed in Lima. Where else can you get a great steak or fried fish with a cilantro sauce alongside fried yucca. And you can wash it all down with Chicha Moranda, a drink made with Peruvian black corn. So don’t just eat out, go on an food adventure and enjoy the many cultures of East County.

Jules Lieb, owner and chef at Morning Glory CafeSusan France
Jules Lieb, owner and chef at Morning Glory Cafe

Gluten-Free Menu
MORNING GLORY CAFE
1377 Forest Park Circle, Lafayette, 303-604-6351
Longmont Winner: The Roost
Louisville Winner: Parma Trattoria-Mozzarella Bar
Honorable Mention: Sun Rose Cafe (Longmont); Pinnochio’s (Longmont, Firestone)

The Morning Glory Cafe serves up creative and beautifully prepared fresh food from the season, and they say they do it with love and we believe them. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all available and our readers assure us that this special cafe has some of the most delicious gluten-free options in the County. So whether you are gluten free out of necessity or as your chosen lifestyle, you’ll want to add the Morning Glory to your list of favorite restaurants. Who among us couldn’t use a little more love after all, and great gluten-free food?

Seafood
TORTUGAS
218 Coffman St., Longmont, 303-772-6954
Lafayette Winner: Reelfish

Don’t be fooled into believing you can’t get great seafood here in the landlocked square we call home, because Tortugas is dishing out quality and creative offerings that’ll make any islander feel right at home. Tortugas has been at the top of the seafood game in Boulder County for more than 20 years, serving Caribbean-style and Cajun  dishes like jambalaya, callaloo and Jamaican jerk. But don’t miss out on Tortugas’ shrimp ceviche, mussels sofrito or the host of other delicious appetizers, because frankly, even if it means you can’t finish your entrée, it means you’ll have a little to take home and enjoy later. At Tortugas, more is always better.

Bagel
BIG DADDY BAGELS
489 N. Highway 287,  Suite 110, Lafayette, 303-665-5918
1940 Ionospere St., Suite D, Longmont, 303-834-8237
Runner Up, East County: Einstein Bros Bagels (Longmont, Lafayette)
Niwot Winner: Happy Mountain Bean & Bistro

Have you ever tried to make a bagel? Take it from us, it’s not worth it. Trying to get a perfect hard shell wrapped around that soft and chewy center isn’t just hard, it’s impossible. It’s also messy and time consuming. So stop pretending you’re Julia Child and just get your bagels the smart way, like all your East County neighbors. Drive, walk, ride or teleport on over to one of Big Daddy Bagels’ locations and choose your favorite circular delight from their great selection of perfectly made bagels. Our readers tell us they’re the best in the County and we’re certain that they are better than yours. And don’t go trying to make cream cheese either. Big Daddy’s has that covered too.

Andy Clark, breadmaker and owner at Moxie Bread Co. Susan France
Andy Clark, Bread maker and owner at Moxie Bread Co.

Bakery
MOXIE BREAD CO.
641 Main St. Louisville, 720-420-9616
Runner Up, East County: The Huckleberry (Louisville)
Lafayette Winner: Indulge Bakery
Longmont Winner: Great Harvest Bread Co.
Honorable Mention: Eats & Sweets (Lafayette)

Croissants. Muffins. Cookies. The makings of a good bakery. Add in a little Kougin Amann, a French cake of buttery, doughy and sugary goodness, and you have the makings of a great bakery. That’s why Moxie Bread Co. is the Boulder County favorite of our readers for sweet and savory baked goods. And don’t forget the bread, the deliciously wholesome, non-GMO baked-fresh-every-day bread. So whether you’re looking for a fun spot to hang out and indulge in treats and fresh coffee, or you’re looking for a loaf of bread to bring home for the whole family, head on over to Moxie in Louisville.

staff-pick-logoVIETNAMESE STREET FOOD
PHO CAFE
1085 S. Public Road, Lafayette, 303-665-06666

When you’re looking to take a vacation but find yourself strapped for cash, take your taste buds on a little trip to Vietnam with Pho Cafe’s offering of some of the best Vietnamese street food in East Boulder County. Pho Cafe is serving up all the staple street foods: fresh spring rolls, beef noodles, curries of every color and, of course, pho. So don’t get down if you don’t have the time or the cash flow to head East for a vacation in Vietnam — all you have to do is head to Lafayette for a taste of real Vietnamese food at Pho Cafe.

Restaurant Ambiance
COLTERRA Food & Wine
210 Franklin St., Longmont (Niwot), 303-652-0777
Erie Winner: 24 CARROT BISTRO
Lafayette Winner: The Post Brewing Co.
Louisville Winner: Zucca Italian Ristorante
Honorable Mention: 740 Front (Louisville)

Once again, Colterra Food & Wine has stunned our readers with its peerless ambiance. Set against hundred-year-old trees in the heart of quaint Niwot, Colterra offers an environment that sweeps diners into a world away from home. The restaurant’s flagstone patio makes a perfect place to sip a cool cocktail on a warm summer evening, and the dining room, set with white tablecloths against comforting earth tones, makes a wonderful setting to chat with friends and loved ones over a meal crafted from locally sourced ingredients.

Sandwich
SNARF’S
645 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-774-1441
2130 Mountain View Ave., Longmont, Suite 200, 303-702-1111
Lafayette: Eats & Sweet
Louisville Winner: Moxie Bread Co.
Honorable Mention: Your Butcher, Frank (Longmont); Jersey Mike’s Subs (Longmont)

The sandwich is a very divisive food. Some folks are purists who are looking for quality ingredients and nothing showy. Others want a sandwich full of bells and whistles, crammed with a variety of flavors and textures. Neither opinion is wrong, so neither option should be omitted for the other. Which is why lovers of both sandwich styles should head over to Snarf’s where there’s a variety of options to satisfy any eater. Stop the battling, put down your swords and pick up the sandwich of your dreams.

Appetizers
95A BISTRO & SUSHI
1381 Forest Park Circle, Lafayette, 303-665-3080
Erie Winner: 24 CARROT BISTRO
Louisville Winner: Parma Trattoria-Mozzarella Bar
Honorable Mention: Lulu’s BBQ (Louisville); The Melting Pot (Louisville)

Appetizers are arguably the most important part of any meal. They set the tone for your stomach and decide the success of the rest of your courses. In fact, you should probably stick to ordering just appetizers for your entire meal. When you’re ready for this appetizer-only diet, head over to 95a Bistro & Sushi, because our readers say it’s the best. 95a Bistro has a long list of tapas — both hot and cold — that will satisfy every palate. From salads to meatballs to skewers, hummus and Korean BBQ ribs, you’ll forget that there are other parts of the menu to order from.

Kevin Kidd, Executive Chef and co-owner of 24 Carrot Bistro displays his set of knives.
Kevin Kidd, Executive Chef and co-owner of 24 Carrot Bistro displays his set of knives.

New Restaurant
24 CARROT BISTRO
578 Briggs St., Erie, 303-828-1392
Longmont Winner: Hefe’s Tacos & Tequila
Louisville Winner: Pica’s Mexican Taqueria
Niwot Winner: 1914 House
Honorable Mention: 740 Front (Louisville)

You know what makes us happy? Exposed brick walls, hard wood floors and a seemingly endless antique bar running the full length of the restaurant. Yep, that’s pretty much heaven for us, and apparently our readers feel the same way. While it’s true that 24 CARROT BISTRO may not have been around all that long, its warm and inviting ambiance in Erie’s old downtown makes it feel like a long lost friend. And the food… we’ll just let the restaurant explain it. “Our approach to food is simple; farm to table, fresh, seasonal and local. We believe in using the highest quality ingredients sourced and grown sustainably. We offer a broad menu of chef inspired appetizers, small plates and entrees.” Put all that in a great space and you’ve got the best new restaurant of the year. And it might just make a run at best overall restaurant in the not too distant future.

Business Lunch
ZUCCA ITALIAN RISTORANTE
808 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-6499
Lafayette Winner: 95a Bistro & Sushi
Louisville Winner: Parma Trattoria-Mozzarella Bar
Niwot Winner: Colterra Food & Wine
Honorable Mention: 740 Front (Louisville)

When you like your coworkers, business lunches are the best part of the day. When you do not like your coworkers, business lunches can get awkward really quickly. That’s why the restaurant choice is vital — the right place can save the meal. Our readers say that Zucca Italian Ristorante is the perfect place. The environment is welcoming, the food is good, and they have drinks a plenty… not that you drink at a business lunch… we here at Boulder Weekly surely never order drinks with lunch… well, never more than two… usually. Enjoy.

Japanese
SUSHI HANA
2065 Main St., Longmont, 303-485-1055
Runner Up, East County: Sakura Japanese Cuisine
Louisville Winner: Tokyo Joe’s
Honorable Mention: Bao Asian Fusion & Sushi Bar (Louisville); East Moon Asian Bistro (Longmont)

If you want a great Japanese restaurant experience in East Boulder County, then Sushi Hana is your destination. If you’re looking for fun and perhaps even a bit of a cultural journey, sit at the bar and enjoy not only the amazing sushi, but more importantly, some of the most interesting and entertaining sushi chefs in the state. Just put yourself in their highly trained hands and enjoy the ride and the conversation. But don’t fret if sushi’s not your thing, because there are many cooked selections and noodle dishes as well. Our readers tell us there is something for everyone in East County’s best Japanese restaurant.

Business Lunch
ZUCCA ITALIAN RISTORANTE
808 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-6499
Lafayette Winner: 95a Bistro & Sushi
Louisville Winner: Parma Trattoria-Mozzarella Bar
Niwot Winner: Colterra Food & Wine
Honorable Mention: 740 Front (Louisville)

When you like your coworkers, business lunches are the best part of the day. When you do not like your coworkers, business lunches can get awkward really quickly. That’s why the restaurant choice is vital — the right place can save the meal. Our readers say that Zucca Italian Ristorante is the perfect place. The environment is welcoming, the food is good, and they have drinks a plenty… not that you drink at a business lunch… we here at Boulder Weekly surely never order drinks with lunch… well, never more than two… usually. Enjoy.

Catering
GEORGIA BOY’S BBQ COMPANY
237 Collyer St., Longmont, 720-999-4099
Lafayette Winner: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
Louisville Winner: LuLu’s BBQ
Honorable Mention: Snarf’s (Longmont); Greens Point Catering (Longmont)

When you decide to get your special event catered, you want a reliable business that will deliver delicious food. For special events up and down the Northern Front Range, our readers look no further than Georgia Boy’s BBQ Company for catering that will delight their guests. Georgia Boys caters to events ranging from 10-200 people, bringing Southern soul food to companies, weddings, charitable events and more.

lulus_1Susan France

BBQ
LULU’S BBQ
701B Main St., Louisville, 720-583-1789
Longmont Winner: Georgia Boy’s BBQ Company
Lyons Winner: Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Taphouse
Honorable Mention: KT’s BBQ (Broomfield); The Rib House (Longmont)

Making good barbecue is like playing football: You need a team of good players who know what they’re doing to get that pigskin to the right place. You’re only as good as your weakest player, and the folks at Lulu’s BBQ have no weak players. They work together with one united mission, and that’s to make the best darn plate of barbecue that you’ll ever eat, which is why our readers voted them number one. You’re only as good as the last game you played or the last plate you served, and Lulu’s scores every time. Touchdown!

Chinese
SPICE CHINA
269 McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 720-890-0999
Lafayette Winner: Colorado Wok
Longmont Winner: East Moon Asian Bistro
Honorable Mention: China Gourmet (Longmont); Double Happy (Lafayette)

What is it about Chinese food that makes us crave it so? What other food has so many textures and tastes all piled together in amazing dish after amazing dish? Crunchy, sweet, spicy, sour, noodles, veggies, soups. You could spend a year eating your way through every dish on the menu at Spice China and it would be a great year at that. And if you want to, you can eat it all right at home. Spice China is fast and efficient when it comes to eating in or take out. So next time you get that inevitable Chinese food craving, just call or drop by Spice China for a fix.

Donuts
LAMAR’S DONUTS
133 S. McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 720-890-3875
Runner-Up, East County: Blue Box Doughnuts (Recently closed)
Longmont Winner: Winchell’s Donut House
Honorable Mention: Daylight Donuts (Longmont)

Who ever thought about frying dough into ring-shaped delicious goodness? Or filling it with jelly and covering it in powdered sugar? And a maple bar? Who thought of that? The origin of the donut (or doughnut, either are correct) is a bit murky, but the voting results are clear. Once again, LaMar’s Donuts is our reader’s choice for best place around to treat yourself to one donut or buy a dozen to share. Plus, with donut holes on the menu,  they don’t let any of that reader-approved goodness go to waste.

Restaurant Service
COLTERRA FOOD & WINE
210 Franklin St., Niwot, 303-652-0777
Lafayette Winner: The Post Brewing Co.
Louisville Winner: Parma Trattoria-Mozzarella Bar
Honorable Mention: Super Mini Walnut Cafe (Lafayette); The Huckleberry (Louisville)

Waiting tables is a tough job; you’ve got to smile when your feet hurt, get great at writing in shorthand and clean, clean, clean after you’ve walked the floor of the restaurant for eight hours. The wait staff at Colterra Food & Wine goes above and beyond to take care of their guests, from knowing the correct way to open and pour a bottle of wine, to making sure each request for modifications to an entree are given to the kitchen. Not only is Colterra Food & Wine our reader’s choice for best Niwot restaurant, it is also the number one pick for restaurant service.

Takeout
SANTIAGO’S
104 N. Public Road, Lafayette, 303-604-0715
215 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-1169
Runner Up, East County: Georgia Boys BBQ Company (Longmont)
Lafayette Winner: Efrain’s Mexican Resaurant & Cantina
Louisville Winner: Busaba
Honorable Mention: Lulu’s BBQ (Louisville)

Sometimes you’re in a hurry. Other times you want to host at your house but don’t want to cook. Still other times, after a long day at work or school, you simply don’t want to do anything, least of all cook or be around other people. And that’s when good, reliable takeout comes in handy. Look no further than Santiago’s, either in Longmont or Lafayette. With an extensive menu, reliable service and some of the best green chili sauce around, it’s no wonder Boulder County residents once again voted Santiago’s as the best place to grab a bite to-go. 

Brunch
LUCILE’S CREOLE CAFE
518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814
Lafayette Winner: Super Mini Walnut Cafe
Louisville Winner: The Huckleberry
Niwot Winner: Colterra Food & Wine
Honorable Mention: The Roost (Longmont)

We can’t lie. If our readers had chosen any place besides Lucile’s for this award, it would have caused us to question our very purpose. We write articles every week for really smart, highly educated, well-traveled people. And really smart, highly educated, well-traveled people know a great brunch when they see it. Picture this: Fresh pan fried mountain trout, poached eggs with béarnaise sauce served up with cheesy grits or potatoes and the absolute biggest, bestest buttermilk biscuits from here to New Orleans. Add a few hot beignets covered in powdered sugar and… well, you get the point. Thank you, readers, for confirming our confidence in your great taste. And did we mention that Lucile’s has the best bloody mary in Colorado? Why are you still reading? You could be halfway there by now.

 

American
THE POST BREWING CO.
105 W. Emma St., Lafayette,  303-593-2066
Longmont Winner: Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids
Louisville Winner: The Huckleberry
Honorable Mention: Waterloo (Louisville); 95a Bistro & Sushi (Lafayette)

What’s more American than fried chicken? Maybe meatloaf. Regardless, over at The Post Brewing Co. you can add to your meat of choice anything from cheddar biscuits to mashed potatoes with gravy to collard greens or a waffle. You can also help yourself to a veggie plate if that’s more your style. Follow all of that with a traditional whoopie pie or a root beer float and we’d say you have yourself a truly all-American meal. So head on over to The Post, the top pick for American food in East Boulder County.

Busaba is our reader's favorite for Asian fusion in East Boulder CountySusan France
Busaba is our reader’s favorite for Asian fusion in East Boulder County

Asian Fusion
BUSABA
133 S. McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 303-665-0330
Lafayette Winner: Pho Cafe
Longmont Winner: East Moon Asian Bistro
Honorable Mention: Spice China (Louisville); 95a Bistro & Sushi (Lafayette)

They’ve done it again — for the third consecutive year our readers have named Busaba best Asian fusion cuisine in Boulder County. This comes as no surprise to those of us who have ventured to the strip mall off McCaslin Boulevard in Louisville in search of the eatery’s sometimes spicy, sometimes creamy and always delicious delights. Order almost any dish “Thai hot” to turn up the heat without sacrificing the flavor. Keep yourself cool with a cold Chang beer on Busaba’s lovely patio in the summer, or warm up in their cozy dining room with a hot bowl of tom yum soup in the winter.

staff-pick-logoSEASONAL FOOD CELEBRATIONS
LONGMONT FARMERS MARKET
Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road, Longmont, 303-910-2236

For the 2015 season, the Longmont Farmers Market decided to give a few foods the recognition they deserve by hosting six seasonal food celebrations: tomatoes, radishes, carrots, kale, stonefruit and carrots were all featured with their own day-long celebrations. Carrot Day, for example, featured a carrot tasting, largest carrot contest, Power of Produce children’s activity, carrot face-painting, cooking demonstrations and, believe it or not, even more carrot-inspired activities. Food trucks often featured the vegetable de jour in every dish on the menu. Frankly, we think it’s high time folks start giving radishes (and tomatoes, carrots, kale, stonefruit and carrots) a little more respect, don’t you?

The Post Brewing Company’s Assistant General Manager Sarah Ingraham enjoying the outdoor patio. Susan France
The Post Brewing Company’s Assistant General Manager Sarah Ingraham enjoying the outdoor patio.

Place to Eat Outdoors
THE POST BREWING CO.
105 W. Emma St., Lafayette, 303-593-2066
Longmont Winner: The Roost
Louisville Winner: Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse
Niwot Winner: Colterra Food & Wine
Honorable Mention: Lulu’s BBQ (Louisville)

Summer may be fading into fall, soon followed by winter. But, like it does every year, spring will come again followed by a beautiful summer. When the time is right, you can find most of Boulder County enjoying the outdoors in all its glory. One such way is to grab a great bite to eat and a cold drink on a great patio in the sunshine. And The Post Brewing Co. has the best deck around. So pull up a picnic bench, grab some of their classic chicken or one of the many beers from the brewery and enjoy the fresh air.

Restaurant Dessert
THE HUCKLEBERRY
700 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-8020
Lafayette Winner: Eats & Sweets
Longmont Winner: Cheese Importers
Louisville Winner: The Melting Pot
Honorable Mention: The Post Brewing Co. (Lafayette)

If a fairy appeared and told you to close your eyes and make a wish, and you just happened to be hankering for something sweet and wished to be magically transported to the best place to get dessert — when you opened your eyes you’d be in an old purple house in Louisville that smelled like somebody’s grandma had been baking all day and there’d be glass cases full of fresh baked tasty treats. Welcome to The Huckleberry, the land of amazing fresh-baked cakes, pies, cookies and pastries. We sure agree with our readers on this one. The good news is you don’t have to wait for a fairy to appear to enjoy a Huckleberry dessert, you can actually just drive, walk or ride there, it’s not that far.

Thai Restaurant
BUSABA
133 S. McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 303-665-0330
Lafayette Winner: Panang Thai Cuisine
Longmont Winner: Thai Kitchen
Honorable Mention: East Moon Asian Bistro (Longmont); Urban Thai (Longmont)

Fair warning: Your trip to Busaba will be riddled with hard decisions. As you read through the menu your mind will change faster than Hollywood can churn out a new superhero movie. Everything on the menu sounds so good that choosing just one appetizer or entree will be nearly impossible. So we say don’t limit yourself. Order up a table full of food and dig into a cornucopia of flavor. From curries to noodles to soups to a dish called Broccoli Paradise — everything will be so good that you’ll consider ordering a second helping.

Mexican
EFRAIN’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT & CANTINA
451 S. Pratt Parkway, Longmont, 720-494-0777
101 E. Cleveland St., Lafayette, 303-666-7544
Runner Up, East County: Santiago’s (Longmont, Lafayette)
Louisville Winner: 3 Margaritas; La Revolución Taqueria y Cantina (tie)
Honorable Mention: Comida

When you’ve been serving Mexican food in Boulder County for more than 30 years, chances are you’re doing it right. Damn right. That’s why our readers say Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina dishes out the best Mexican eats in all the East County land. Efrain’s serves the robust flavors of Northern Chihuahua, where Efrain himself grew up. Don’t cheat yourself — order a margarita (Efrain’s won Best Marg, too!), grab some guac and then tuck into that giant menu of tasty tostadas, scrumptious enchiladas, delectable tamales or mouth-watering burritos. It’s hard to decide what you want with so many choices, but don’t worry, you can always go back and try something new another day.

Pizza
LUCKY PIE PIZZA & TAPHOUSE
637 Front St., Louisville, 303-666-5743
Longmont Winner: Rosalee’s Pizzeria
Lafayette Winner: Proto’s Pizzeria Napolentana (also in Longmont)
Honorable Mention: Abo’s Pizza (Longmont); Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom (Longmont)

Want to start an argument? All you have to do is ask a group of people what kind of pizza they like and who makes the best pie. Thirty seconds later you’ll find yourself playing referee. People are passionate about pizza. Chicago verses New York, thick verse thin, heavy sauce, light sauce, red sauce or white. Unless you have a few spare hours don’t even think about asking what people think is best to put on top. Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse serves brick oven Neapolitan pizza that it claims is the best around. And despite all the arguing among our readers, the majority of them agree with Lucky Pie. This place has great pizza.

The Huckleberry Manager, Rory Martinelli
The Huckleberry Manager, Rory Martinelli

Pancake/Waffle
THE HUCKLEBERRY
700 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-8020
Lafayette Winner: Super Mini Walnut Cafe
Longmont Winner: The Egg & I
Honorable Mention: Morning Glory Cafe (Lafayette); Le Peep (Longmont)

There are two types of people in this world: those who favor pancakes and those who prefer waffles. And they’re both right. Pancakes and waffles are amazing. Pancakes are fluffy while waffles are crisp. Both provide a perfect medium to get fruits and syrups to your mouth. The Huckleberry serves up East County’s finest pancakes, our readers say, made from scratch with buttermilk and then served up hot and fresh with wild blueberries, eggs and a choice of breakfast meats. For amazing waffles, head on over to Lafayette’s Super Mini Walnut Cafe or The Egg & I in Longmont.

Burger
SMASHBURGER
2755 Dagny Way, Lafayette, 303-926-9700
Longmont Winner: Five Guys Burgers & Fries
Louisville Winner: Waterloo
Honorable Mention: CHUBurger (Longmont); Pumphouse Brewery (Longmont)

Why are burgers the best accomplice for a crime? Because they won’t talk no matter how the cops grill them. Boulder County readers have spoken, however. They particularly appreciate the way Smashburger grills its burgers. The secret? Grill with a little butter. Then adorn with an array of accoutrements from goat cheese to bacon to truffle mayo and guacamole and you’ve got yourself the best burger around. Although there are many fine establishments in East County that also make delicious burgers (check out the list of other winners), Smashburger is this year’s fan favorite.

staff-pick-logoANGELS OF MERCY
PEOPLE WHO FEED PEOPLE

No “Best of” food section should ever go to press without a shout out to the people who feed those among us who are having a hard time just getting the meals we need to survive. So here it is, our thanks to all the volunteers and people who give to Community Food Share, Inc., Meals on Wheels, Our Center, St. John’s Food Bank and others.    

staff-pick-logo

 

 

WAY TO TERRIFY A DOG
HOT AIR BALLOONS

If you live on the regular flight path of Boulder County’s many hot air balloons and you own a dog, then you know exactly what this award is all about. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Boston terrier, a German shepherd or a freakin’ pit bull, when one of these sky dragons comes floating by, stoking its burner, most dogs wet themselves and run off into a corner. So next time you ride in one of those floating contraptions and you’re thinking how serene it all is, just remember that down below the dog world is utter chaos.

Lyons Restaurant
OSKAR BLUES BREW & GRILL
303 Main St., Lyons, 303-823-6685
Runner Up, East County: Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Taphouse
Honorable Mention: Lyon’s Fork; Barking Dog Cafe; The Stone Cup

Is there anything better than good food, good beer and good music? Eating, drinking and listening in Lyons, that’s better. Lyons is nestled away in the mountains, and that beautiful backdrop makes everything more enjoyable. It doesn’t hurt that Oskar Blues Brew & Grill has a menu packed with delicious food and a plethora of tasty beers. Plus they load their stage with folks who play tunes that fill the room with melodious sounds. No wonder our readers chose it as their favorite overall restaurant in Lyons. As their website says, “keepin’ it real in Lyons, ColoRADo.” Sounds good to us.

Italian
PARMA TRATTORIA-MOZARELLA BAR
1132-1 W. Dillon Road, Louisville, 303-248-2741
Runner Up, East County: Zucca Italian Ristorante (Louisville)
Longmont Winner: Pinocchio’s
Honorable Mention: Via Toscana (Louisville); Blue Parrot (Louisville)

The City of Parma, Italy, is widely known for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Prosciutto de Parma, and for beloved pastas such as tortellini, ravioli and anolini. Hungry yet? If you’re craving the savory, scrumptious flavors of Northern Italy, don’t panic if you can’t afford a plane ticket, because Parma Trattoria-Mozarella Bar is dishing out the flavors of the Emilia-Romagna region. Our reader’s say it’s the best Italian food in East County. We think it has a little something to do with Parma’s choice to use organic, locally grown ingredients whenever possible.

Sushi
SUSHI HANA
2065 Main St., Longmont, 303-485-1055
Lafayette Winner: 95a Bistro & Sushi
Louisville Winner: Bao Asian Fusion & Sushi Bar
Honorable Mention: Sakura Japanese Cuisine (Longmont); East Moon Asian Bistro (Longmont)

To win best sushi in these parts is a pretty big deal because these parts are blessed with a mess of great sushi. So what makes the difference? What makes Sushi Hana the best? It’s the fish, folks. You can’t have great sushi if the chef isn’t starting with the highest quality fish. Sushi Hana has great sushi chefs working with fantastic fish. And in the sushi world, that adds up to a 10 out of 10. Just sit at the bar and ask the chefs to give you their favorites of the day. Add a little cold unfiltered sake and a few quail eggs and you won’t have a care in the world. Life is good and so is Sushi Hana.

Fine Dining
SUGARBEET
101 Pratt St., Longmont, 303-651-3330
Louisville Winner: The Melting Pot
Niwot Winner: Colterra Food & Wine
Honorable Mention: Zucca Italian Ristorante (Louisville); Parma Trattoria-Mozzarella Bar (Louisville)

There’s something about a beautiful plate of food that almost makes it too good to eat. Think colorful salad or the perfect drizzle around an entree constructed into a foody piece of art. Great food is a feast for your eyes as well as your mouth and the nice folks over at Sugarbeet know a thing or two about presentation. But presentation means nothing unless the food is equally spectacular and being served in a worthy atmosphere. Fortunately for Boulder County residents, Sugarbeet has all three. When it comes to fine dining, our readers say that Sugarbeet is simply the best.

Overall Restaurant
THE POST BREWING CO.
105 W. Emma St., Lafayette, 303-593-2066
Erie Winner: 24 CARROT BISTRO
Longmont Winner: Pumphouse Brewery
Louisville Winner: Parma Trattoria-Mozzarella Bar
Niwot Winner: Colterra Food & Wine

When visitors come to town, it suddenly becomes your job to be their Boulder County tour guide. And Boulder County has no shortage of places to show off, and even more places to choose from when it comes to dining out. But when your guest says, “Take me to the best place in East County,” our readers know just what to do. They head straight for The Post Brewing Co. The Post has excellent food, great beer made on site and fun, yet attentive servers. Plus its downtown Lafayette location is so quaint and charming that you’re sure to impress your guests.

Kid-Friendly
LUCKY PIE PIZZA & TAPHOUSE
637 Front St., Louisville, 303-666-5743
Lafayette Winner: Noodles & Co.
Longmont Winner: Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews
Honorable Mention: Eats & Sweets (Lafayette); The Huckleberry (Louisville)

Children are a blessing. A rambunctious, never-able-to-sit-still, fairly wild blessing. Which is why parents often want to reward kids (or themselves) with a night out. And what better place to go than Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse in Louisville. This local favorite has something for the whole family — a plethora of pizzas, great beers on tap and plenty of room for the kiddos to roam with the fenced in lawn area. And if you’re looking to treat the whole fam-damily to a little extra treat, they serve Sweet Cow ice cream so you don’t even have to leave and go next door.

Breakfast
THE HUCKLEBERRY
700 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-8020
Lafayette Winner: Morning Glory Cafe
Longmont Winner: Lucile’s Creole Cafe
Honorable Mention: Super Mini Walnut Cafe (Lafayette); The Egg & I (Longmont)

Breakfast, breakfast, why are you awesome? Let me count the ways: You’re the first meal, the one with coffee, the way I start my day. Our readers like to grab a bite at the purple building on Main Street, where cooks at The Huckleberry are crackin’ eggs so you can have something to eat. There are buttermilk pancakes, potato latkes, corned beef hash and granola, and one bite of their huevos rancheros will make you say, “Hola!” We’re not good at rhymes and we don’t want to tarry, so we’ll stop with this farce and beg you to have some breakfast at The Huckleberry.