Best of Boulder East County 2018 — Food

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Sue France

Place to Go on a First Date

THE MELTING POT

732 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-7777

Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro

Lafayette and Longmont Winner: The Post Brewing Company

Some things are meant for melting, like snow, chocolate and delicious cheese. Oh, also, your heart when you see the look on your date’s face as you tell them you’re taking them to The Melting Pot for your first night out together. Our readers say The Melting Pot’s wide selection of dippable goodness, including veggies, meats and sweets, are sure to leave an impression that says to your date you’re adventurous, innovative and have impeccable taste. And who doesn’t want that?

Sushi

SUSHI HANA

2065 Main St., Longmont, 303-485-1055

Lafayette Winner: 95a Bistro & Sushi

There is an art to sushi-making, as anyone who’s seen 85-year-old sushi master Jiro demonstrate in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. But it can take decades to perfect the craft. “I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is,” Jiro says, rolling another seaweed tube of rice, fish and vegetables. The chefs at Sushi Hana, our readers say, possess a similar commitment to perfection, but don’t take their word for it. Head there yourself and ask for the chef’s choice special. You’ll be pleasantly surprised every time, guaranteed.

Sue France

Lyons Restaurant

OSKAR BLUES GRILL & BREW

303 Main St., Lyons, 303-823-6685

Runner Up: Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ

This, friends, is where it all began. Right smack dab in Lyons, the best secret-not-secret town in Boulder County. It’s the place where Oskar Blues Brew & Grill kick-started its empire of good-mood-food breweries now found up and down the Front Range. At this original location, there’s something fun for crowds every night of the week. On Tuesdays you’ll find “Kid’s Night” activities starting at 5 p.m., and at 7 p.m. join in on the bluegrass picking sessions, welcoming people of all ages and abilities. On Friday and Saturday nights, those over 21 can enjoy live music, but no matter what day it is, everyone can enjoy an extensive list of draft beer staples and a fresh menu replete with bar and grill classics.

Donuts

LAMAR’S DONUTS

133 McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 720-890-3875

Broomfield Winner: The 5280 Donuts

Longmont Winner: Winchell’s Donut House

So, first, the bad news: You can only get LaMar’s donuts in five states across the U.S., so if you’re thinking about planning a LaMar’s Donuts-fueled road trip, you shouldn’t plan anything west of Arizona or east of Missouri. Eh. Now, the good news: Colorado has more LaMar’s donut shops than any other state. Something tells us Boulder Weekly readers are proud of that, especially since the specialty donut shop’s headquarters are now located in our Rocky Mountains, too. Pop into the shop every day of the week to try the exciting, rotating flavors and you’ll probably realize, again, Colorado’s got every ingredient you’d ever need for happiness.

Bagel

MOE’S BROADWAY BAGEL

1057 Courtesy Road, Louisville, 303-665-2126

Lafayette and Longmont Winner: Big Daddy Bagels

When our readers want the baked dough perfection of the round ring that we call bagels, they head over to Moe’s Broadway Bagel. Its 20 flavors of bagels are time-tested and richly flavored — the Italian (everything) bagel explodes in the mouth with herb and spice, and the cinnamon raisin is perfectly flavored and weighted, for example. But the offerings don’t stop there; get a Manhattan bagel loaded with cream cheese and lox, or choose from the ample selection of breakfast and lunch sandwiches and variety of flavored cream cheeses. These bagels stack up against the best that New York has to offer.

Staff Pick: Best Mediterranean Restaurant

Mumtaz Mediterranean Food

588 U.S. 287, Suite 100, Lafayette, 303-926-1400

There’s just something about strip mall restaurants, something that makes them serve up the best fare around. Mumtaz Mediterranean Food has everything you would ever want from that part of the world: deliciously crisp kibbah, rich and creamy baba ghanouj, zesty falafal, fried-to-perfection spanakopita, tender dolmas, perfectly seasoned kefta, sweet and crunchy baklava… do we need to go on?

Overall Restaurant

THE POST BREWING COMPANY

105 W. Emma St., Lafayette, 303-593-2066

1258 S. Hover Road, Longmont, 720-588-2883

Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro

For Sarah Ingraham, general manager of Lafayette’s The Post Brewing Company, this fun dining and drinks hotspot is not just a place to “get some delicious food or catch up with friends over a refreshing beer.” For her, it’s a place that’s more than the sum of its parts; it’s “a home-away-from-home to anyone who walks in the door.” That’s exactly the kind of sentiment you’ll experience across all Post establishments: Friendly service that makes you feel right at home as you nosh on crispy bone-in fried chicken or the famous chicken and waffles, with a cold one nearby. Head there for brunch, lunch, dinner, happy hour or any other time you want quality food from quality people in a quality place.

Indian

TAJ MAHAL III

1075 E. South Boulder Road, Suite 145, Louisville, 303-926-0999

Runner Up, East County: Tibet’s Restaurant and Bar

Longmont Winner: Flavor of India

Just say “lunch buffet” and we’ll be over to Taj Mahal III before the word “naan” can even leave your mouth. Why? Because our readers tell us it’s the absolute best place to go for spectacular Indian cuisine. For lunch, choose between an array of curries and masalas, saags and vindaloos, plus piping-hot naan and aromatic Basmati rice. Stop in to this elegantly decorated restaurant for dinner, be on the lookout for dishes from the tandoori oven — Taj Mahal III’s specialty meals baked to order in a clay oven over mesquite charcoal and served with mint-cilantro and tamarind chutneys.

Sandwich

SNARF’S

6562 Lookout Road, Gunbarrel, 720-622-0107

2130 Mountain View Ave., Longmont, 303-702-1111

645 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-774-1441

Louisville Winner: Moxie Bread Co.

Ever since smart phones made their auspicious debut in society, we’ve grown accustomed to being able to customize everything in our lives. Snarf’s knows what’s up. That’s why they’ve made their entire sandwich menu customizable, where you can start with one of their suggested or signature sandwiches and fine-tune it to exactly your liking. Our readers love the freedom to pair deliciously fresh breads and toppings with all sorts of meats and cheeses sliced straight off the block.

Sue France

Bakery

MOXIE BREAD CO.

641 Main St., Louisville, 720-420-9616

Longmont Winner: Great Harvest Bread Co.

What can we say about Moxie Bread Co. that hasn’t been said already? Lousiville’s heirloom wheat bakery has earned the accolades of probably every local and state publication, and owner/baker Andy Clark earned a prestigious James Award nomination for his efforts. The magic starts with a commitment to using delicious, nutricious ancient grains, which are manipulated into a variety of breads, pastries and sandwiches. The king egg is a local favorite — think about a buttery, dense popover loaded with a fried egg, cheese,and meat or veggies. But get anything — really get anything — from the tartine with lox and herb to the avocado toast on blackened crusty bread and you’ll see what all the fuss is about.

Pancake/Waffle

THE HUCKLEBERRY

700 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-8020

Broomfield Winner: The Egg & I

Lafayette Winner: Super Mini Walnut Cafe

All hail the gourmet pancake. Sure, mom’s are great, and you probably make ‘em edible at least… but let’s be real. A good-old pancake at brunch, handcrafted by a pancake expert just can’t be beat. The Huckleberry specializes in just that. Fluffy stacks of breakfast goodness are served with fruit or with your choice of eggs and meat. The best part? You can order these babies everyday until 3 p.m., rain or shine.

Appetizers

95A BISTRO & SUSHI

1381 Forest Park Circle, Lafayette, 303-665-3080

Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro

Longmont Winner: The Roost

Louisville Winner: Parma Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar

The Kakura family, which launched 95a Bistro & Sushi in 2011, knows appetizers —  they spent 18 years growing The Mediterranean Restaurant into the award-winning tapas bar and app haven it is today. So it’s no surprise that our readers chose 95a as their favorite place to eat small plates. The menu of tapas and appetizers is extensive and features fan favorites like house-made coconut shrimp, lamb skewers with zucchini-potato pancakes, crab cakes with lemon dill aioli and Korean BBQ ribs with a sisho apple slaw. Don’t miss Italian staples like prosciutto and melon, caprese salad, and pork and ricotta meatballs.

American

THE POST BREWING COMPANY

105 W. Emma St., Lafayette, 303-593-2066

1258 S. Hover Road, Longmont, 720-588-2883

Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro

Louisville Winner: The Huckleberry

There are people who haven’t been to one of The Post Brewing Company’s three Boulder County locations to sample the world-class fried chicken and American cuisine and to glug down the housemade brew. Two people, to be exact: Frank and Lisa. Frank and Lisa don’t like humanely raised, all-natural chicken brined for hours and dipped in buttermilk, then dredged in gluten-free flour and fried to crispy perfection. They don’t like it served with waffles, they don’t like it served Nashville hot. They won’t eat it in a bed, they won’t eat it in a cot. They don’t like The Post’s impossibly savory oven-roasted pork shoulder with caramelized onion marmalade, nor do they like wood-fire-roasted squash succotash with sweet and sour peppers. Don’t be like Frank and Lisa. Listen to our readers and indulge at The Post.   

Gluten-Free Menu

MORNING GLORY CAFE

1377 Forest Park Circle, Lafayette, 303-604-6351

Longmont Winner: The Post Brewing Company (also in Lafayette)

Excellence resides in the details, everyone knows that. That’s probably why our readers say Morning Glory Cafe has the best gluten-free offerings, because these folks sweat the details and use only fresh, organic and sustainable ingredients. Head there for a tasty brunch experience, with gluten-free pancakes, an array of omelettes and skillet scrambles on the menu. Or, pop in for lunch or dinner, where you’ll find vegan and vegetarian dishes of every shape, size and color, in addition to seafood and meat options that round out an international menu.

Breakfast

LUCILE’S CREOLE CAFE

518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814

Lafayette Winner: Morning Glory Cafe

Louisville Winner: The Huckleberry

Hold the phone — there’s an open table at Lucile’s Creole Cafe. Right now. Drop everything. Yes, it’s 10 a.m. Yes, it’s a Sunday. Yes, it’s a miracle, we know. Just leave whatever’s going on in front of you and book it to Lucile’s. Stat. What? You’re not sure what you’d get? Honestly, nothing at East County’s favorite Creole joint will do you wrong. Any dish can transport you southeast with a single bite. Try the classic crawfish étouffée (Louisiana crawfish tails served with rice and cornbread smothered in rich, spicy sauce) for a taste bud transplant to the Gulf Coast. Or, get the New Orleans-style eggs (fried eggplant slices with creole sauce, poached eggs and hollandaise alongside grits or potatoes and a biscuit), for a big taste of homey love.

Staff Pick: Best Liver and Onions

Aunt Alice’s Kitchen

1805 Main St., Longmont, 303-651-0495

Pan-fried liver smothered in braised onions is not just a dish of yore. We’re bringing it back, and Aunt Alice’s Kitchen in Longmont is the place to get it. This classic dish isn’t just for your Grandpa Joe, Grandma Jane or your great… Aunt Alice. Served with a side of bacon, bread, vegetable and your choice of potato or rice, Aunt Alice’s liver and onions will have you coming back for more.

Sue France

New Restaurant

LONGMONT PUBLIC HOUSE

1111 Francis St., Longmont, 303-647-3755

Lafayette Winner: Tangerine

Louisville Winner: Verde

From the cuisines of Singapore to Seattle, and to every other corner of the world, Chef Jerome of the Longmont Public House has sampled it all. That experience is passed onto you at Longmont Public House, the best new restaurant our readers have tried all year. Chef Jerome grew up in Longmont, though, so he knows what Boulder County locals treasure in their American pubs: a cozy atmosphere, a spacious dining room, a bar with multiple TV screens that always broadcast the best games, and a weather-friendly patio. Add local craft beers and wine to the scene, and it’s no surprise our readers voted Longmont Public House their favorite new joint in town.

Staff Pick: Best late night meal

Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids

1555 S. Hover Road, Longmont, 303-485-9400

Missed the last call at all the other restaurants in town, but still want to sit down somewhere and have a meal? Head over to Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids for the full range of menu options served until 11 p.m., with a late-night menu available until 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Heck, it serves food until 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, too, which is pretty late for a school night.

Fine Dining

SUGARBEET

101 Pratt St., Longmont, 303-651-3330

Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro

Louisville Winner: The Melting Pot

Before we even dive into the details here, we want to give you an opportunity to call Sugarbeet and make a reservation for yourself as soon as possible. Our readers tell us this is the best of the best as far as fine dining is concerned in East County. Whether you’re on romantic date, taking the parents out for dinner, or meeting up with your BFF from elementary school, Sugarbeet has the cozy atmosphere and fine food you’ll need to make your night special. Its limited seating emits a dignified vibe and its array of mouth-watering entrees (replete with an extensively curated wine list) will have you seated and ordering in no time. Don’t forget: Reserve your seats right now.

Chinese

SPICE CHINA

269 McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 720-890-0999

Lafayette Winner: Ting’s Place

Longmont Winner: East Moon Asian Bistro

There are a few places our readers like to point out to us, seemingly every year. One of them is Spice China. Tucked in a complex just off McCaslin Blvd., this Chinese food joint is not just some hole-in-the-wall to drive by; instead, you should slow, put on your blinker, and drive straight to the front door (preferably, find a parking spot first). To our readers’ delight, Spice China only uses high-quality, fresh ingredients, and puts modern twists on a variety of Chinese classics.

Brunch

LUCILE’S CREOLE CAFE

518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814

Lafayette Winner: Tangerine

Louisville Winner: The Huckleberry

Brunch just hasn’t been the same in East County since the doors of Lucile’s Creole Cafe in Longmont swung open in 1997. Since then, hungry locals and visitors have flocked to Lucile’s to try dishes that range from classic brunch specials to the most authentic Creole you’ll find in the Rocky Mountains. With the best produce available paired alongside the freshest seafood and meats, every dish is prepared with love by Chef Mickey Samuels. Here’s a tip: Don’t miss the opportunity to smother Lucile’s homemade jam on your biscuits.

Ice Cream

SWEET COW ICE CREAM

637 Front St., Louisville, 303-666-4269

Lafayette Winner: Eats & Sweets

Longmont Winner: Cold Stone Creamery

Sweet Cow Ice Cream claims its ice cream is simply “moolicious.” And, you know what? We couldn’t put it better if we tried. Since 2010, Sweet Cow has been making its creamy frozen treats in Louisville in small batches with some of the finest, locally sourced ingredients around. When you enter the shop, taste a few samples (say, Fluffernutter and Peanut Butter Brownie, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Vanilla, or what about Vegan Strawberry Chocolate and Bailey’s Irish Cream?) and walk out with scoops of deliciousness piled high. You won’t be able to resist a smile. Plus, our readers’ choice for East County’s best ice cream shop takes as much pride in its creamy creations as it does in its commitment to the environment, using only compostable and recyclable containers and utensils.

Italian

PARMA TRATTORIA & MOZZARELLA BAR

1132-1 W. Dillon Road, Louisville, 303-284-2741

Runner Up, East County: Via Toscana

Longmont Winner: Gondolier Italian Eatery

Question: What do you get when you put three Italians with big ideas together in a room? Answer: Parma Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar. This Louisville establishment is named after the City of Parma, Italy, known for all sorts of food (Parmigiano Reggiano cheese ring a bell, anyone?), but especially filled pastas like tortellini, ravioli and anolini — which you should definitely order when you go. Well, that and something off the mozzarella bar, where you’ll find a selection of cheeses and condiments like pesto, salami, grilled vegetables and so much more.

Japanese

SUSHI HANA

2065 Main St., Longmont, 303-485-1055

Runner Up, East County: East Moon Asian Bistro

Louisville Winner: Sushi Yoshi

Does a more exciting gastronomical destination exist than the Japanese islands? The cuisine at once comforts, challenges, surprises and soothes, and we suspect it has something to do with the country’s access to the ocean. Fresh fish, fresh air and high spirits are all things that come along with living near the beach — and Sushi Hana captures that essence in its fresh sushi, sashimi and nigiri, its light and fun atmosphere, and its friendly staff.

Seafood

REELFISH FISH & CHIPS

2770 Arapahoe Road, Lafayette, 720-630-8053

Longmont Winner: Tortugas

What do sea monsters eat?” Reelfish Fish & Chips asks on its website (psst, “Fish and ships” is the answer). It’s this kind of humor and good charm that has prompted readers’ to yet again choose Reelfish Fish & Chips as the best place to get seafood in all of East County. Each day is themed at this family-friendly restaurant. On Mondays, you got kids eating for free; Tuesdays bring tacos; Wednesdays feature Cajun-style catfish and hush puppies (mhmm); Thursdays have oysters at every table; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays rock “Walleye Weekend” like no other. Sounds like you’ll have to go every day of the week.

Thai Restaurant

BUSABA AUTHENTIC THAI CUISINE

133 S. McCaslin Blvd., Louisville 303-665-0330

Lafayette Winner: Panang Thai Cuisine

Longmont Winner: East Moon Asian Bistro 

This is not the first time Busaba Authentic Thai Cuisine has graced the pages of Best of Boulder East County, and we have a feeling this won’t be the last. There’s just something about the culinary skill on display on each plate that keeps customers coming back time and time again. Some menu highlights include Chicken Satay (grilled marinated succulent strips of chicken served with cucumber relish and aromatic peanut sauce), Busaba Chicken Puff (roti wrapped with curry chicken, carrot, potato, pea and corn served with sweet chili cucumber relish) and Som Tum (Thai papaya salad with carrot, tomato, green bean, peanut, tossed in lime juice, fish sauce, tamarind and palm sugar dressing).

Kid-Friendly

LUCKY PIE PIZZA & TAPHOUSE

637 Front St., Louisville, 303-666-5743

7916 Niwot Road, Niwot, 720-684-6488

Broomfield Winner: Noodles & Company (also in Lafayette and Longmont)

Lafayette Winner: Eats & Sweets

Longmont Winner: Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews

Foodies with families, this is your place. At either Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse location, you’ll find a spacious kid-friendly dining room, a warm lounge and killer dining and beverage deals. While you’re sipping on drafts and margaritas, the kids can color with assorted crayons and other toys. Order up Neapolitan-style pies big enough to share, yet so delicious you know you’ll need more than one. Some family hits are the Napolitana (San Marzano tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, salami, roasted garlic, Calabrian chiles and organic oregano), and the B.L.T.P (bacon, heirloom cherry tomatoes, organic greens and lemon aioli).

Restaurant Service

THE POST BREWING COMPANY

105 W. Emma St., Lafayette, 303-593-2066

1258 S. Hover Road, Longmont, 720-588-2883

Runner Up, East County: Longs Peak Pub & Taphouse (Longmont)

Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro

Grandmas possess the bulk of wisdom available on the planet. For The Post Brewing Company’s Chef and Owner Brett Smith, his grandma taught him how to fry chicken right. She also must’ve taught him some good manners, as the best grammies do, because that’s spread throughout all of The Post’s establishments. Superior service is as much a trademark as the award-winning beers and piping hot chicken, our readers say.

Pizza

LUCKY PIE PIZZA & TAPHOUSE

637 Front St., Louisville, 303-666-5743

7916 Niwot Road, Niwot, 720-684-6888

Broomfield, Gunbarrel and Lafayette Winner: Proto’s Pizzeria Napoletana (also in Longmont)

Longmont Winner: Rosalee’s Pizzeria

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore,” Dean Martin crows in his Neapolitan love song, “That’s Amore.” Our readers seem to agree with the famed and dreamy singer. The pizza pies at Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse are easy to fall in love with; how could you not when the base of every pie is constructed with 100 percent organic flour sourced in Boulder County, the artisanal toppings are fresh, and everything else, including the mozzarella cheese, is made in-house? The menu changes with the seasons; exactly how the founder thinks all restaurant menus should be. Also, between the pizzeria’s three locations, there are over 60 beers on tap. Does it get any better than that?

Place to Eat Outdoors

THE POST BREWING COMPANY

105 W. Emma St., Lafayette, 303-593-2066

1258 S. Hover Road, Longmont, 720-588-2883

Louisville and Niwot Winner: Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse

There’s something special about eating outside — kind of reminds us of camping, and camping reminds us of family and friends, and family and friends remind us of love, and love reminds us that we’re special. So, as you can imagine, eating outside at The Post Brewing Company leads you to feeling real special, real quick. Picture it now: Leaning back at one of the community-inspired tables, tipping back one of the Post’s multi-award-winning beers, throwing back the exquisitely fried chicken… like special royalty indeed.

Burger

WATERLOO

817 Main St., Louisville, 303-993-2094

Lafayette Winner: Smashburger (also in Longmont and Louisville)

Longmont Winner: Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar

Let’s face it: Ain’t nobody got time for a lousy burger. Which is why we’re so fortunate in East County that Waterloo’s got everyone covered. So expansive is their burger menu that we suggest you waltz right into the family-owned restaurant and watering hole, point your finger at the menu, wave it over the list of burgers, place your finger on something random, and voila! Whether it’s Waterloo’s namesake burger with all-natural beef stacked below tomatoes, lettuce, red onion, cheese and pickles, or something like the Brunch Burger complete with hashbrowns, bacon and a fried egg on a patty, you’re going to like what comes out of the kitchen and onto your table.

Restaurant Ambiance

CHEESE IMPORTERS

103 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-9599

Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro

Lafayette Winner: The Post Brewing Company (also in Longmont)

Louisville Winner: The Melting Pot

When you hear someone say Cheese Importers, you might first think about the largest walk-in refrigerated cheese and cured meat market in Colorado (which holds more than 350 cheeses). Yet Cheese Importers and its Bistrot des Artistes are also our readers’ choice for the best dining ambiance in East County. A refined, European-style dining room and bar pairs with a menu that samples from the best of France, Italy and more.

Food Truck

VERDE

Mobile, Boulder County, 520-358-3670

Runner Up, East County: Butcher & The Blonde

There are stories of success around every corner and stories of failure underneath every awning in food business. It’s just a hard, demanding industry. But Verde, oh Verde, is a special story for Boulder County diners. The Verde food truck is not only a whopping tale of success in the food truck realm, with its Sonoran-style Mexican fare on demand across the county. It’s also a tale of success in the classic brick-and-mortar world. People, like our readers, loved the food truck so much they demanded a permanent establishment… and got two. Good thing it kept the truck around, though, so we can all enjoy the authentic and fresh dishes at a random street corner or neighborhood event. As the folks behind Verde say themselves, “Work hard. Be nice. Eat burritos.” Sounds simple enough.

Business Lunch

THE ROOST

526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380

Lafayette Winner: 95a Bistro & Sushi

Louisville Winner: 740 Front

In the eyes of Dan Lance, one of The Roost’s founders, a rooster is not an annoying alarm clock disrupting dawn’s serenity; as he sees it, roosters are actually signs of hope — roosters, after all, brave the darkness to announce day is near for everyone else. This perspective is one reason why, since the rustic-chic restaurant’s founding in 2015, The Roost has given 10 percent of its profits to helping families in the process of adoption. Hold your business lunch here, and you’ll not only be in a comfortable environment that’s also perfect for getting things done, you’ll be supporting families and children in need. Talk about efficiency.

Catering

GEORGIA BOYS BBQ COMPANY

250 Third Ave., Longmont, 720-999-4099

Runner Up, East County: A Spice of Life (East Boulder)

Gunbarrel Winner: Snarf’s (also in Longmont)

Lafayette Winner: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina

We’ll cut to the chase here. According to our readers, odds are Georgia Boys BBQ Company is going to do a better job feeding your guests than you. Now, don’t take this as an insult. Georgia Boys is just that good, especially considering the options they’ll deliver to your special event. Between the classic BBQ sandwich buffet, the decadent pork taco bar, and a slew of sides and desserts to choose from, there’s something everyone will love. Especially you, as you get to relax and let the Boys do the hard work.

Restaurant Dessert

EATS & SWEETS

401 S. Public Road, Lafayette, 303-665-3287

Louisville Winner: The Melting Pot

Longmont Winner: Cheese Importers

Everyone loves a good neighborhood cafe. That one reliable, first-name-knowing place a few blocks down the street that serves up your kind of goodies. Our readers point to Eats & Sweets for the best such place — a great neighborhood cafe with great desserts. Baked goods are churned out every morning, leaving fresh banana bread, cake pops and brownies galore, ready for your taking. It’s not a bad incentive for taking the dog on a walk or stopping in for a bite to eat with friends.

Niwot Restaurant

LUCKY PIE PIZZA & TAPHOUSE

7916 Niwot Road, Niwot, 720-684-6888

Runner Up, East County: 1914 House

Small towns and good food go hand in hand,” Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse proclaimed when it announced it’d be entering Niwot’s charming food scene. Our readers couldn’t agree more. The pizza dough is made with 100 percent organic flour sourced right in Boulder County, and most of the toppings come from right around here, too. We’re talking local bacon, Hazel Dell mushrooms, spring vegetables — the works. And to top it all off, while you’re kicking back and waiting for the hot-oven pies to descend upon your table, you can enjoy more than 25 taps of the best beers Boulder County’s craft brewery scene has to offer. Hand in hand, indeed.

BBQ

LULU’S BBQ

701B Main St., Louisville, 720-583-1789

Longmont Winner: Georgia Boys BBQ Company

LuLu’s BBQ has been delighting patrons in Old Town Louisville with its Texas-style barbecue for years now, and so it’s no wonder why our readers selected it as their favorite place to get smoky, tender meat. Whether we’re talking about the thick-cut brisket or the immensely flavorful burnt ends; whether we’re diving into succulent pulled pork or juicy, smoked chicken; or whether we’re getting our hands full (and messy) with a rack of ribs, we get the appeal of the slow-cooked meat LuLu’s churns out. Have the meat on a platter, or in a sandwich, couple that with a few classic sides, and you’ll be in heaven.

Asian Fusion

BUSABA AUTHENTIC THAI CUISINE

133 S. McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 303-665-0330

Lafayette Winner: Pho Cafe Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup & Grill

Longmont Winner: East Moon Asian Bistro

Busaba Authentic Thai Cuisine is a Boulder County treasure. Its take on royal Thai cuisine is simply unparalleled, using homemade, authentic recipes that the family behind the scenes brought over from Thailand. Space does not permit us to list all of the favorite dishes that Busaba creates out of fresh ingredients using time-tested techniques, but the shortlist includes its twist on the tom yum, which blends shrimp, squid and scallop in a stir fry with vibrant herbs and veggies; the coconut red curry with pumpkin, green bean and zucchini; and the ethereal buo loy, with hot coconut milk, toasted sesame seeds and tapioca and pumpkin dumplings.

Take Out

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)

Louisville Winner: Busaba Authentic Thai Cuisine

There are many, many criteria a take-out place must meet in order to be a good, and to be a great take-out place there are even more. The difference between good and great is like contending for a gold medal in the track 4-by-100-meter relay. If you drop the baton — if you’re late, don’t get the order right, the food is cold — then you’ll never win gold. Thankfully, we’re blessed with a champion among us here in East County. Santiago’s, our readers tell us, is the gold-medal place to go for take out. Order up burritos of all shapes and sizes, tamales, enchiladas and green chile, and it’ll be delivered to your door, tasting spot-on and piping hot.

Mexican

EFRAIN’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT & CANTINA

101 E. Cleveland St., Lafayette, 303-666-7544

Longmont Winner: Jefes Tacos & Tequila

Louisville Winner: Pica’s Mexican Taqueria

A Mexican vacation sounds pretty nice during the Colorado winter; a dash of sun, a refreshing array of foods, a break from the icy roads. Most of us can’t quite make the drive down south in time to get back to work on Monday morning, so our readers have told us the next-best option: a trip to Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, where the Chihuahuan-style Mexican fare will make you take a break from the whirlwind of life and winter weather. But its not just a winter treat, enjoy Efrain’s any time of the year. Every day the dedicated team gets cooking at 6 a.m., whipping out chimichangas, fajitas and chili verde that will change your life without even stepping foot outside the county.