Best of Boulder East County 2021—Food

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Cole Darby, bartender and social media manager at The Roost
Susan France

Winner take (almost) all

When it comes to dining in the East Boulder County, The Roost absolutely rules

Since it first opened, Boulder Weekly readers fell in love with The Roost and can’t find enough ways to express their affection. Once again, the Longmont favorite has been voted the Best Overall Restaurant in the 2021 Best of East Boulder County. In fact, The Roost was also named your favorite in seven other categories—more than any other restaurant or bar in this year’s voting.

We think The Roost’s something-for-everyone menus for lunch, dinner, and happy hour have lot to do with its popularity. The Roost won your votes for Best Appetizers/Tapas with a roster of starters, everything from ahi poke wonton nachos with sriracha aioli to Red Bird Farms chicken wings sauced at various heat levels. 

The crowd favorite among the appetizers is clearly the eatery’s signature fries and tater tots with tongue-tingling toppings ranging from short rib poutine-style to katsu curry with Japanese seasonings, house-made ponzu sauce, cilantro and green onions.

The Roost satisfies a wide range of diners, whether they are football fans in for an ale and a snack, or families and couples setting in for night out. The roster of dinner entrees showcases lamb chops and Pacific salmon as well as Longmont-raised Buckner Farms beef—char-grilled filet, New York strip, ribeye and sirloin steaks are dished with whiskey cream sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, and grilled vegetables.

Lighter options run the gamut from a smoked quinoa bowl to a power bowl and a vegan felafel burger. Our voters once again named The Roost’s veggie burger their favorite in East Boulder County. For the California Burger, an Impossible Foods’ beef-like patty is grilled until juicy, topped with roasted green chilies, red onion, pepper Jack cheese and guacamole, and served with chipotle aioli on a griddled potato bun. 

Beyond the regular fare and chef Sean Gaffner’s creative daily specials, The Roost earned a slew of your votes for its exceptional bar featuring a huge wine and beer menu. The critical factor is an experienced corps of professional servers and bartenders who take a personal interest in getting customers exactly the right beverage for the occasion. If you can’t decide, the mixologists on staff are known to compose a craft cocktail tuned to your taste buds. 

Given its late-night crowds, it makes sense that The Roost earned two more standing ovations from its fans in the Best of East County Boulder voting: top Bar and the establishment pouring the Best Cocktails in town.

The astonishing thing about The Roost is that it also manages to satisfy the needs of daytime diners.

Locals needing to meet with business associates or serious clients over lunch are a picky bunch of customers with very specific needs. The atmosphere of a business lunch spot has to be comfortable for conversations with a menu of reasonably priced dishes for diverse tastes, and, most importantly, service that is prompt and attentive. The Roost answered the call on every point and was voted the winner in the Best Business Lunch category.

After a tough year and a half for all local eateries, perhaps the greatest honor that readers bestowed on The Roost this year was the award for Best Restaurant Service. Through closures, masks, no masks, takeout only and reopening, the servers and kitchen and bar staffs have risen to the occasion and kept customers safe and happily fed.   

On almost every level, our readers say The Roost rules. By the way, did we mention that the Main Street institution was also chosen as the best place for a typically awkward situation—Best Place to Go on a First Date. 

Sean and Rebecca Gafner—owners of The Roost—also operate Jefe’s Tacos and Tequila, and Smokin Bowls. They will soon be opening their fourth Longmont restaurant: Swaylo’s Tiki Restaurant and Bar at 1315 Dry Creek Road. Somehow, we think there will be more awards in their futures. 

—John Lehndorff


OVERALL RESTAURANT
The Roost

526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro
Lafayette Winner: Community
Louisville Winner: Parma Trattoria
Write-In Winner: Piripi

APPETIZERS/TAPAS
The Roost

526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Louisville Winner: /pôr/ Wine House
Lafayette Winner: 95a Bistro
Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro
Write-In Winner: Piripi

VEGGIE BURGER
The Roost
526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Lafayette Winner: Morning Glory Cafe
Louisville Winner: Waterloo

BUSINESS LUNCH
The Roost
526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Louisville Winner: 740 Front
Lafayette Winner: Teocalli Cocina
Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro
Write-In Winner: Piripi

PLACE TO GO ON A FIRST DATE
The Roost
526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Lafayette Winner: Acreage
Louisville Winner: The Melting Pot
Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro

RESTAURANT SERVICE
The Roost
526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Louisville Winner: LuLu’s BBQ
Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro
Lafayette Winner: Community

BAR
The Roost
526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Louisville Winner: /pôr/ Wine House
Lafayette Winner: William Oliver’s Publick House
Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro
Write-In Winner: Piripi

COCKTAILS
The Roost
526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Lafayette Winner: Community
Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro
Louisville Winner: 740 Front
Write-In Winner: Copper Sky Distillery

AMERICAN RESTAURANT
24 Carrot Bistro
578 Briggs St, Erie, 303-828-1392
Longmont Winner: The Roost
Louisville Winner: The Post Chicken and Beer
Like the sprawling multi-ethnic nation that it’s named for, “American” cuisine is a big tasty tent. Voters chose 24 Carrot Bistro as their favorite because the Erie eatery showcases the best local and seasonal New American fare from owners Bianca Retzloff and Kevin Kidd. “New American” means carefully prepared entrees like Hudson Valley duck breast with roasted winter vegetables and house-made potato gnocchi with locally raised lamb and mushroom ragu. Seafood specialties range from pan-seared scallops with pumpkin puree to grilled mahi mahi with succotash and peanut curry. 24 Carrot’ dessert menu features twists on traditional favorites such as bread pudding and a crowd-pleasing moist carrot cake.

ASIAN FUSION
Busaba Thai
133 S. McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 303-665-0330
Lafayette Winner: Pho Cafe
Longmont Winner: East Moon Asian Bistro
The cooks at Busaba Thai naturally focus on the greatest hits of Thai cuisine, from curries to noodles, but the Louisville restaurant also pleases diners with a selection of dishes that are popular in many other parts of Asia. For instance, larb is a minced meat salad fundamental to the fare in Cambodia and Laos as well as Thailand. In Busaba’s version, minced chicken or pork is saturated with piquant flavor from cilantro, kaffir lime leaf, mint leaf, onions and a chile lime dressing. The Japanese-inspired pan-fried dumplings are just perfect dipped in soy chile sauce. That’s why you voted Busaba Thai as the best place to enjoy Asian fusion fare in East Boulder County.

BAGEL
Moe’s Bagel
Multiple locations
Runner-Up: Big Daddy Bagels
Louisville Winner: Moxie Bread
Write-In Winner: First Watch
Whether it’s a cinnamon sugar, tomato cheddar, oatmeal raisin, garlic, or an Italian, otherwise known as an “everything,” Moe’s is everyone’s first choice for the best bagels in East Boulder County. Made with certified organic flour, Moe’s chewy classics are made to be smeared with a rainbow of house-made cream cheese flavors including artichoke Parmesan, maple walnut, garlic herb, and the zesty bacon horseradish cream cheese that’s so good on lunch bagel sandwiches. Moe’s combo sandwiches range from the Sunshine Daydream with roasted turkey, sundried tomato spread and garlic herb cream cheese to the classic New Yorker: Nova Scotia lox filet, plain cream cheese, tomato, onion, and capers. Moe’s is also a beloved part of local office meetings, offering bagel and cream cheese platters and boxes of high-quality coffee. 

BAKERY
Moxie Bread Co.

641 Main St., Louisville, 720-420-9461
Lafayette Winner: Button Rock Bakery
Longmont Winner: Babette’s Bakery
Write-In Winner: Precision Pours
Is it the chewy, crusty sourdough loaves with soft insides that make nearly perfect toast? Could it be the butter-laced kouign-amman (QUEEN-ah-mahn) pastries that were made to be slowly nibbled with a latte or a cup of chai? Louisville’s Moxie Bread Co. has transformed the way we think about baked goods with owner Andy Clark’s devotion to using Old World techniques and heirloom grain milled in-house. Is it any wonder that Moxie Bread Co. has been voted your favorite East County bakery and it has earned a string of kudos from the national food press? We think the answer is obvious. 

BBQ
LuLu’s BBQ
701B Main St., Louisville, 720-583-1789
Longmont Winner: Georgia Boys
Lyons Winner: Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew
Lafayette Winner: KT’s BBQ
LuLu’s BBQ went into this campaign season with a strong saucy platform offering juicy chicken and pulled pork, spicy sausage, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and smoke-infused turkey and brisket. But, since it opened in 2011, LuLu’s always broadened the coalition with mouthwatering Texas white oak-smoked firm tofu dished with minced onions, sport peppers, and house-made pickles. Frankly, we would be happy to make a meal of Lulu’s wonderful side dishes from BBQ beans and cornbread to slaw and fried okra—but we’d still have ribs for dessert. 

BREAKFAST/BRUNCH
Lucile’s Creole Café
518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814
Louisville Winner: The Huckleberry
Lafayette Winner: Tangerine
Niwot Winner: Garden Gate Cafe
Write-In Winner: Biscuits @Mike’s
Lucile’s Creole Café didn’t exactly invent brunch, but it did introduce the concept of fashionably late and leisurely New Orleans-style breakfast to Boulder County in 1980. At the familiar yellow house in Longmont, Lucile’s East County outpost continues the tradition with favorites like the comfy Carlin Country. It’s chunky sausage gravy on a house-baked buttermilk biscuit with red beans and grits. Yes, you can have crawfish etouffee with hot sauce and chicory coffee. We appreciate the jar of strawberry-rhubarb jam on every table. 

BURGER
Waterloo
817 Main St., Louisville, 303-993-2094
Longmont Winner: Bad Daddy’s Burger
Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro
Write-In Winner: 300 Suns
Considering the fierce competition in the three “L’s”—Longmont, Lafayette and Louisville—it takes a mighty burger to win the hearts and palates of Boulder Weekly voters. Waterloo wins this category buns-down because at Waterloo, you really can have your burger your way. Instead of ½-pound beef patty, you can choose grilled chicken, a Beyond Burger patty, or bison. The range of cheeses include tangy gorgonzola, and toppings can be peanut butter or house-smoked brisket. Gluten-free buns are available along with a range of sides. Weekends were made for the Brunch Burger with hash browns: bacon, fried egg and American cheese is a winner. 

CATERING
Georgia Boys Bbq
250 Third Ave., Longmont, 720-999-4099
Runner-Up: Spice of Life Catering Services
Lafayette Winner: Efrain’s Mexican
The food at office lunches and corporate functions doesn’t have to be a platter of boring sandwiches. Family celebrations don’t have to feature the same old hot dogs. Georgia Boys BBQ always wins the votes for East County’s favorite caterer because the food makes people smile. Everyone who has attended one of their events smacks their lips when they remember the pulled pork, the sliced brisket, the smoky hot sauce, mac and cheese, and banana pudding. Georgia Boys BBQ has mastered the logistics of serving small and large get-togethers so the host just has to have fun.

CHINESE
Double Happy Chinese Restaurant
740 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-8821
Lafayette Winner: Ting’s Place
Longmont Winner: East Moon Asian Bistro
Eateries have always opened and then quickly closed; it’s a sad feature of the industry. Then there’s Double Happy Chinese Restaurant, which has been satisfying customers with sweet and sour chicken and chow mein for more than 40 years in Louisville. Our readers appreciate the well-cooked, familiar, affordable dishes that taste the same every time they order. That’s why they named Double Happy as their favorite Chinese Restaurant. The family owners have always been accommodating to special diets with loads of vegetarian options. During this time, Double Happy is only offering takeout and delivery, a service they mastered decades ago. 

DONUTS
Lamar’s Donuts And Coffee
133 McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 720-890-3875
Longmont Winner: Winchell’s Donut House
Broomfield Winner: 5280 Donuts
Lafayette Winner: Deli-Cious Z’s
Commentators lament the deep political and social gulf that divides Americans, but whether progressive or conservative we are populists when it comes to doughnuts. Year after year, LaMar’s Donuts & Coffee gets everyone’s vote because they stick to the essentials, the cake and yeast-raised doughnuts and holes with dozens of variations in icings, frostings and sprinkles. LaMar’s specialty goodies range from cream-filled maple iced bars and pineapple fritters to pumpkin spice cake doughnuts with cream cheese frosting. We applaud the simple pleasure of Ray’s Original Glazed and a cup of joe.

FINE DINING RESTAURANT
Sugarbeet
101 Pratt St., Longmont, 303-651-3330
Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro
Louisville Winner: 740 Front
Niwot Winner: 1914 House
Write-In Winner: Piripi
Reports last year about the imminent death of fine dining in Boulder County are proving to be highly premature. A funny thing happened after all those take-out cartons eaten in yoga pants. We wanted to shave, dress up, and have date nights. Sugarbeet was waiting, with all the ambience, attentive service, and masterful dishes we missed so much. How about starting with butternut squash fritters with chive crème fraiche paired with a 2019 Solena Estate Pinot Gris? Would you mind savoring rack of lamb with asparagus, charred onions, and a sundried tomato demi-glace? And Key lime pie, chocolate truffle cake and coconut panna cotta are just fine (dining) with us.

FOOD TRUCK
Scratch Kitchen Food Truck
Mobile, Longmont, 720-600-3400
Runner-Up: El Mercado Taco Wagon
You’ll often find Scratch Kitchen’s food truck parked outside some local brewery in East County, where it offers sustenance for ravenous drinkers primarily in the form of burgers and sandwiches. Scratch Kitchen earned the most votes from our readers—again—because it excels at making these burgers and sandwiches spectacular. If you haven’t already, try the BOJ (bacon onion jam) burger on a brioche bun, or the pulled pork chimichurri grilled cheese, and you’ll quickly realize that the offerings from the truck are far beyond bar food.

GLUTEN-FREE MENU
Morning Glory Cafe
1377 Forest Park Circle, Suite 101, Lafayette, 303-604-6351
Longmont Winner: The Post Chicken and Beer
Niwot Winner: Pinocchio’s Incredible Italian
Morning Glory likes to refer to itself as a “yestaurant,” and when it comes to dietary restrictions, this Lafayette institution delivers. Readers once again rewarded Morning Glory, naming it the top spot for those with gluten sensitivities. Regulars swear that the gluten-free pancakes—available in plain, blueberry, and chocolate chip—are better than traditional hotcakes. The gluten-free options don’t end at breakfast, though: You can have your chicken, bacon, cheddar, and green chilies quesadilla on a gluten-free tortilla, your burger (or veggie burger) on a gluten-free bun, your sandwich on gluten-free bread. 

ICE CREAM/FROZEN YOGURT
Sweet Cow Ice Cream
637 Front St., Louisville, 303-666-4269
Longmont Winner: Scrumptious
Lafayette Winner: Eats & Sweets
Louisville is where Sweet Cow first opened its doors; it’s the home of the beloved local chain’s first ice cream shop, which debuted in 2010. So it doesn’t surprise us that Sweet Cow is once again our readers’ choice for the best ice cream in East County. Sweet Cow’s small-batch ice cream is handcrafted with local ingredients, and the shop features 24 flavors every day, including four vegan options. And any guilt that may arise from indulging in your favorite frozen treat can be easily assuaged by reminding yourself that Sweet Cow only uses compostable and recyclable products—good for the planet and good for the soul.

INDIAN/NEPALI
Flavor Of India
370 Main St, Longmont, 303-682-9010
Louisville Winner: Taj Mahal III
Lafayette Winner: Tandoori Kitchen
Nederland Winner: Kathmandu
Indian, Nepali, and Tibetan restaurants are plentiful in Boulder County thanks to the talented chefs and families that have emigrated here. Longmont’s Flavor of India is a step up, offering a more sophisticated take on much-loved dishes ranging from extra creamy and mild lamb korma to chicken vindaloo ordered “Indian hot.” The kitchen’s tandoori ovens produce wonderful garlic and cheese stuffed naan and juicy, charred jumbo shrimp and steak—ideal paired with a malty Flying Horse ale. One taste of the elegant basmati rice-based lobster biryani and you understand why Flavor of India took home the gold in this category.

ITALIAN
Parma Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar
1132-1 Dillon Rd., Louisville, 303-284-2741
Longmont Winner: Caprese Trattoria
Niwot Winner: Pinocchio’s Incredible Italian
“Italian” really is a diverse world of cuisines—everything from pizza to spaghetti and meatballs to risotto and bruschetta. When East County diners are looking for ingredient-focused classic regional fare, they vote with their taste buds for Parma Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar. The elegant Louisville destination owes its authenticity and fine service to Naples-born chef and owner Silvio Cuomo. Regulars recommend Parma’s pillowy gnocchi dressed in Bolognese meat sauce and Parmesan and the delicate veal piccata with lemon caper sauce and mashed potatoes.

JAPANESE
Hana Japanese Bistro
1148 W. Dillon Road, Louisville, 720-328-8826
Longmont Winner: Sumo Sushi
Lafayette Winner: Sushi Aji
When it came time to nominate their representative, readers never hesitated to name Hana Japanese Bistro the place to enjoy the nuances of the cuisine. The expansive menu covers tasty corners of the Japanese cuisine map from teriyaki and donburi to buckwheat soba noodles. For sheer comfort and warmth on a winter’s night, we would happily slurp shashu ramen with miso broth and seared pork belly. Of course, Hana Japanese Bistro’s large sushi list hits all the tasty notes from fatty tuna (toro) to dessert-like egg custard (tamago). The Louisville eatery’s lunch menu—dine-in or quick takeout—features a roster of full meal bento boxes. Our fave includes crispy Japanese fried chicken. 

KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT
Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House
637 Front St., Louisville, 303-666-5743
Longmont Winner: Longs Peak Pub & Taphouse
Lafayette Winner: Eats & Sweets
To find an ideal restaurant you can haul the entire brood to with zero complaints, you start with the menu: At Lucky Pie, that means pizza for everyone and a broad selection of craft beers (or cocktails) for the grownups. Throw in the buzz of cheerful conversation throughout the place that’ll keep your little ones’ squeals from overwhelming the general volume, along with some space for a little restless energy to be expended, and you’ve got Lucky Pie’s formula for family fun. Readers keep voting it East County’s best for kids, and the families keep coming back.

LYONS RESTAURANT
Oskar Blues Grill & Brew
303 Main St., Lyons, 303-823-6685
Runner-Up: Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew
Second Runner-Up: Mojo Taqueria
Write-In Winner: Cluck-N-Burger
The venerable Oskar Blues launched its suds-and-grub empire here in Lyons in 1997, and this original location continues to nourish the community with its southern and Cajun-inspired menu, some of the finest locally brewed (and nationally acclaimed) craft brews around, and live music. It all started right here, and Oskar Blues’ canning operation first put beer into aluminum in the barn right next door. Whether you’re stopping in for sustenance on your way to Rocky Mountain National Park or on a pilgrimage to see where Dale’s Pale Ale was born, you’ll leave Oskar Blues Grill & Brew happy that you stopped by.

MEXICAN
Teocalli Cocina
103 N. Public Rd., Unit C, Lafayette, 303-284-6597
Longmont Winner: Jefe’s Tacos
Louisville Winner: Pica’s Mexican
Lafayette is justly famous for its many Mexican restaurants. However, we didn’t comprehend the diverse treasures that the cuisine can provide until Grant Hopfenspirger opened Teocalli Cocina in 2019. From the soft, just-griddled corn tortillas to the amazing mezcal and tequila list, the attention to detail is apparent. Consider sampling a gorgeous bowl of pozole verde with pork, white hominy, epazote and radish slivers or a plate of pork shank with smoked sweet onions and charred pasilla chilies. The taco roster features silky rich birria—short rib meat with caramelized leeks and tomatillo salsa. These culinary revelations are the reason voters chose Teocalli Cocina as their top Mexican eatery in East Boulder County.

NEW RESTAURANT
Piripi
615 Briggs St., Suite C, Erie, 720-328-0787
Diners discovered new worlds of fun and flavor in 2020 when Chef Hugo Meyer opened Piripi in Old Town Erie. Refusing to be confined in one culinary corner, the Argentina-born global traveler has crafted a menu packed with dishes that are a little Latin, a little Mediterranean, but mostly Hugo. That means Spanish octopus drizzled with fine olive oil as a starter. Spot-on sesame-crusted ahi with wild rice and beans and wasabi also fit under that tent along with churrasco-style steak and gluten-free chocolate espresso pie. Piripi is as new as it gets and our readers’ choice for best new restaurant.

NIWOT RESTAURANT
Niwot Tavern
7960 Niwot Road, Niwot, 303-652-0200
Runner-Up: 1914 House
Second Runner-Up: Garden Gate Cafe
Locals swear by Niwot Tavern’s blend of tasty comestibles, luscious libations, live music, and down-home hospitality. The menu is extensive, befitting a small town’s broad spectrum of tastes: There are nachos and poppers and chicken wings, of course, but also udon noodles, Thai-spiced citrus salmon, eggplant parmesan, or a Mediterranean plate to choose from. But beyond the food, drinks, and entertainment, Niwot Tavern is a community hub where friends gather, and that’s why it continues to be voted the Best Niwot Restaurant by our readers.

PANCAKE/WAFFLE
The Huckleberry
700 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-8020
Lafayette Winner: Tangerine
Longmont Winner: First Watch
There’s something reassuring in the knowledge that every day until 3 p.m. you can sit down to a stack of pancakes with over-easies at The Huckleberry in Louisville. Eating pancakes is like starting the day again—or having dessert, Afterall, it’s cake. At The Huckleberry, you’ve got flapjack choices to make. There is always the traditional stack: fluffy buttermilk pancakes to soak up butter and syrup. We always add our favorite superfood: wild blueberries. For a sweeter treat, try thin crepes wrapped around a mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, and vanilla mixture topped with berries. Pancakes here can also be made-to-order latkes—crisp potato pancakes perfect with sour cream and apple compote. 

PIZZA
Rosalee’s Pizzeria
461 Main St., Longmont, 303-485-5020
Louisville Winner: Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House
Gunbarrel Winner: Proto’s Pizza
Niwot/Erie Winner: Abo’s Pizza
Write-In Winner: Cosmo’s Pizza
When it comes to finding the best crispy, cheesy, thin-crust slice of classic East Coast pie, our East County readers chose Rosalee’s Pizzeria once again. It’s no wonder: At Rosalee’s the cheeses are shredded by hand, the pork sausage ground in-house, the sauce made from high quality tomatoes. But beyond the old world pies lies the old world hospitality: Rosalee’s is a community hub where friends and neighbors gather to laugh and eat and drink together. And their pizza is the best—just ask our readers.

RESTAURANT DESSERT
Eats & Sweets
401 S. Public Rd., Lafayette, 303-665-3287
Longmont Winner: The Roost
Louisville Winner: The Melting Pot
Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro
When you take a seat at the counter inside Eats & Sweets in Old Town Lafayette, somehow our iron-clad Ironman dietary restrictions disappear. The Eats & Sweets reveries convinces us that a slab of house-baked pie is the right choice for lunch. Maybe that’s why happy diners voted for Eats & Sweets as THE place for restaurant dessert. The sugary buttery baked delights range from house-baked cupcakes and cake pops, to cheesecakes, brownies and cookies. Don’t miss the ice cream sandwiches on slabs of moist banana bread.

SANDWICH
Snarf’s Sandwiches
6562 Lookout Rd., Boulder, 720-622-0107
Louisville Winner: Moxie Bread
Longmont Winner: Cheba Hut
Lafayette Winner: Eats & Sweets
Everyone from high schoolers to hospital workers and business-lunchers loves the perfectly composed subs at 25-year-old Snarf’s Sandwiches. The most popular menu item, the Italian, is a good example. Snarf’s loads a great crusty bun with cold cuts—mortadella, salami, pepperoni and capicola, plus provolone cheese, mayo, mustard, hot peppers, onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, herb seasoning, and oil, always on a toasted bun. We have a personal soft spot for Snarf’s eggplant Parmesan sub with marinara and three cheeses. Try an off-the-menu classic like the McSnarf: roast beef, American cheese, Thousand Island dressing, onion, lettuce, and a pickle on top.

SEAFOOD
Reelfish Fish & Chips
2770 Arapahoe Road, Lafayette, 720-630-8053
Longmont Winner: Tortuga’s
Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro
Write-In Winner: Piripi
One again Reelfish Fish & Chips won readers’ hearts in this category because seafood isn’t a sideline at this Lafayette restaurant, it’s the main event. For instance, most eateries offer the same single white fish in their fish and chips, but Reelfish offers a choice of battered cod, haddock, or salmon. New Englanders appreciate the real lobster bisque, creamy clam chowder, lobster rolls, and clam strips with tartar sauce. On weekends, Midwesterners flock in for a traditional walleye fry. Folks from the South love the catfish po’boys, fried oysters and hush puppies and everybody seems to crave the grilled shrimp and mahi-mahi at this truly family-friendly dining spot. 

SUSHI
Sushi Hana
2065 Main St., Longmont, 303-485-1055
Louisville Winner: Sushi Yoshi
Lafayette Winner: Sushi Aji
The challenge we face in ordering at Sushi Hana is deciding which sushi mood we are in. If we are feeling adventurous, we might opt for the Sashimi Dinner Deluxe—fifteen pieces of raw fish and seafood chosen from the day’s fresh menu. We are never unhappy with classic, seaweed-wrapped nigiri bites. Have you ever sampled the Hand Roll Dinner with a yellowtail scallion hand roll, a shrimp cucumber hand roll and a spicy salmon, tuna, and avocado hand roll? With vegetarian options too, it’s easy to see why you chose this Longmont favorite as your go-to for sushi. 

TAKE-OUT
Georgia Boys BBQ
250 3rd Ave., Longmont, 720-999-4099
Louisville Winner: LuLu’s BBQ
Lafayette Winner: Santiago’s
We thought we knew about takeout and delivery food from restaurants, but honestly most of our experience was limited to pizza and Chinese food. That all changed in the past 18 months or so when we all made takeout a significant part of our dine-at-home routine and almost every restaurant had to master the fine details of sending their fare home with diners. From its earliest days in Longmont. Georgia Boys BBQ was all about takeout. They just have shifted into high gear to supply our addiction to ribs, pulled chicken, cornbread and Korean BBQ fries.

THAI
Busaba Thai
133 S. McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 303-665-0330
Lafayette Winner: Panang Thai
Longmont Winner: Jai Thai
Write-In Winner: A Thai Sticky Rice
Pad Thai noodles are a crowd-pleaser, but it is Busaba’s less-familiar, authentic curries, soups, and appetizers that explain why fans perennially proclaim it the top Thai restaurant in East Boulder County. We recommend the pumpkin curry—a warm red curry coconut broth packed with squash, green beans, Thai basil leaves, and your choice of proteins. The complex flavors strike that balance between sweet, sour, spice, salt, and heat. Seafood fans rave about Busaba’s aromatic crab rice with shrimp. Egg, lump crab meat, and green onions are stir-fried with jasmine rice and soy sauce. Note: Be aware that Busaba’s “Thai hot” is genuinely volcanic. If you can’t stand the heat, be sure to order “mild.”

WINGS
Wing Shack
1133 Francis St., Longmont, 303-834-8066
Louisville Winner: LuLu’s BBQ
Erie Winner: The Old Mine Cider Company
For a simple preparation—chicken wings cooked in hot oil—it can be frustratingly difficult to find wings done well. Not at Wing Shack, though: Here, the wings are meaty and crispy rather than soggy and limp, and the dry rubs and sauces span a spectrum that travels from BBQ and teriyaki on the sweet end to golden hot, hotter, and bear hot for those who like to suffer a bit when they’re gnawing a wing to the bone. Wing Shack now has eight locations—seven in northern Colorado and one in Cheyenne—and as of 2021 the Longmont shop officially offers the best wings in East County.

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