Open, closed, and revived

How did Boulder County’s restaurants, bars, and food businesses fare in 2021?

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Lucky’s Bakehouse Café

One year ago, December 2020, the restaurants of Boulder County and the region were doing their best to survive the unprecedented impact of the pandemic. Many beloved local eateries were shuttered—some permanently, some temporarily, and all were learning how to cope with the new world of takeout and delivery.

Cafes and bistros and food stores have dealt with masks, shortages, and shutdowns, changing rules about alcohol and outdoor dining, and an appalling flood of abuse targeted at food, beverage, and retail workers just trying to do their job and not get deathly ill. 

Twelve months later many restaurants have revived while still coping with supply shortages and the Great Resignation of restaurant workers. Yet diners have ongoing fears of indoor spaces as the challenging omicron winter arrives. 

Here is a look at the Boulder culinary comings and goings of 2021.  

Closed restaurants

West Flanders Brewing Co., 1125 Pearl St., Boulder 

Murphy’s North, 2731 Iris Ave., Boulder (Murphy’s South and Murphy’s Taproom in Louisville remain open.)

Shine Restaurant, 2480 Canyon Blvd, Boulder 

Salvaggio’s Italian Deli, 2609 Pearl St. 

Miner’s Tavern, 524 Briggs St, Erie 

Bova’s Market, Kim’s Food to Go, You & Mee Noodles, Formosa Bakery, Cosmo’s Pizza, Dot’s Diner, Chicken on the Hill, and other businesses closed when the buildings at University Avenue and Broadway were shuttered to make way for a new hotel. Tra Lings and You and Mee have relocated to 2850 Iris Avenue. Bento-ria reopened at 1310 College Ave. Chicken on the Hill has moved to 1119 13th St. Bova’s Market will be moving to 1100 28th St., the former Bumbling Bee Vegan site. Dot’s Diner remains open at 2716 28th St., Boulder

Restaurants openings

Boulder

In 2021, Avanti Food & Drink food hall on the Downtown Mall opened with BoyChik, Lost City Coffee, New Yorkese Pizza, Pig and Tiger, Quiero Arepas, Rooted Craft Kitchen, and Rye Society deli.

Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen, 1262 College Ave.

Ash’Kara, in the former Pepper the Noshery space, 1043 Pearl St.

My Friend Felix, 901 Pearl St., in the former Via Perla space

Gemini restaurant, 1115 Pearl Street, former site of Riffs Urban Fare, serving contemporary Spanish food and wine. 

Barchetta pizzeria and wine bar, 1644 Walnut St.

Chiri’s Momo Delights, a cart featuring dumplings and noodle bowls, on the 1300 block of the  Downtown Mall.

Meta Burger, the local plant-based, fast-casual restaurant chain, 1905 29th St.

Denver’s chicken-focused Birdcall restaurant inside the Pearl Street Whole Foods Market and at Twenty Ninth Street.

Nude Foods Market, Boulder’s zero-waste grocery store, 3233 Walnut St. 

Little Lama Cafe on Naropa University’s campus at 2130 Arapahoe Ave. 

Waffle Lab on the Hill, 1155 13th Street (former site of Taco Bell)  

Lafayette’s Tip Top Savory Pies’ second shop at 6565 Gunpark Drive

Longmont

Moe’s Bagels, 225 S. Main St. 

MECO Coffee Collective, 627 Main St. 

Laguna Mexican Restaurant, 645 Tenacity Drive, in the former Two Dog Diner space. 

Louisville

McCaslin Thai, 316 McCaslin Boulevard

South Street Market, 824 South St. 

Lafayette

Al’s Artisanal Meats and Cheeses, 489 N. US-287

Casian Seafood, 211 N. Public Road 

Basil Bowl, 1302 Centaur Village Drive

Viet Kitchen, 2770 Arapahoe Road, former location of the Super Mini Walnut Cafe 

Mountain Dogs Cafe and Coffee Roastery, 1724 Majestic Drive 

Ghost Box Pizza, 103 S. Public Road

Nederland

Decent Bagel, 95 E. 1st St.

Lyons

Moxie Bread Mercantile, 355 Main St.

La Licha Italian Cuisine food truck, 4065 Ute Hwy

Cluck-n-Burger food truck at Spirit Hound Distillers, 4196 Ute Hwy, Lyons 

Niwot

Farrow Restaurant, 7916 Niwot Road 

Salt Bistro; photo John Lehndorff

Changes, moves and reopenings

Salt Bistro in Boulder reopened, as did License No. 1 in the Hotel Boulderado. Also reopened in 2021 were Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Restaurant in Lafayette, and Seeds Library Cafe inside the Boulder Public Library. The shuttered Millsite Restaurant reopened near Ward on the Peak to Peak Highway.

Lafayette’s Button Rock Bakery expanded to include Kenny Lou’s Deli for sandwiches and a sushi bar. 

Boulder Baked closed its downtown bakery and reopened at 5290 Arapahoe Ave.

Breakfast Champion, 4800 Baseline Road, became Boco Restaurant, serving the same Mediterranean fare.

Lafayette’s Lunada Cantina moved to 1225 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont.

North Boulder’s Lucky’s Cafe reopened as Lucky’s Bakehouse Cafe.

Opening soon

Mono Mono Korean Fried Chicken and brewery, 599 Crossing Dr., Lafayette in the former U-Turn BBQ location; Curtis Park Deli, 3000 Pearl Parkway, Boulder; Swaylo’s Tiki Restaurant and Bar from the owners of The Roost, Jefe’s Tacos and Tequila, and Smokin Bowls, 1315 Dry Creek Road, in Longmont; Landline Doughnuts & Coffee, 321 Main St., in Longmont. 

Culinary condolences

In 2021, we lost Bruce Randolph Jr., owner of Boulder’s Daddy Bruce BBQ (now a Snarfburger). Also passed away were Hardilprit Singh, much-loved chef at Longmont’s Flavor of India Restaurant, as well as the nationally known “bee whisperer” and Niwot beekeeper Tom Theobald. Other notable passings include the father of Denver’s fine dining scene, Cliff Young, as well as Tse Ming Wang, the owner for 22 years of the beloved Lao Wang Noodle House in Denver, 

Words to chew on

“I learned the extent to which cooking can be a form of meditation, shutting out all the external noise, such that the world shrinks—or expands, perhaps—into you and the knife and the carrot. It was enormously healing.”—Maggie Topkis

John Lehndorff hosts Radio Nibbles at 8:20 a.m. Thursdays on KGNU (88.5 FM, streaming on kgnu.org). 

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