Best of Boulder 2013: Gluten-Free, Organic, Vegetarian and Other Special Restaurants

The Emich sisters, owners of Shine
Photo by Susan France

Gluten-Free Menu

2027 13th St., 303-449-0120

Second Place: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant
Third Place: Alfalfa’s
Fourth Place: Modmarket
Fifth Place: Tangerine

the indecisive, sometimes going gluten-free can be a blessing. Fewer
menu options usually means faster decision-making. But when it comes to
Boulder’s own Shine, the gluten intolerant have their work cut
out for them. The three sisters who own and operate the restaurant and
gathering place have created a menu that is almost totally gluten-free.
Even the more traditional plates, such as the grass-finished beef
burger or the grilled cheddar sandwich, can be prepared sans gluten.
From the house-made coconut curry to super tender buffalo short ribs,
Shine is a gluten-free gold mine.

Organic Restaurant

1039 Pearl St., 303-544-5973

Second Place: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant
Third Place: Turley’s
Fourth Place: Black Cat Farm-Table-Bistro
Fifth Place: Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place

the value and interest Boulderites give to all things organic, it’s
not a surprise that there’s a list of places to consider when it comes
to scouting for organic dining. What sets The Kitchen apart is
the way it matches dishes elegantly crafted from locally sourced,
organic ingredients with an experience that feels a little like coming

The Kitchen’s
founders, Hugo Matheson, Kimbal Musk and Jen Lewin, opened the
restaurant in 2004 with the idea of providing a world-class meal in an
environment that offered a community feel. They’ve built their
community to include the local farms and ranches they source for many of
their ingredients, and those farms are often credited in the menu. The
results are simple, tasteful, farm-to-table dishes that rotate
regularly to take advantage of the season’s best.

Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Various locations around Boulder County

Second Place: Mountain Sun/Southern Sun
Third Place: Burger Works/Red Robin
Fourth Place: Walnut Cafe/Southside Walnut Cafe/Super Mini Walnut Cafe
Fifth Place: Wahoo’s Fish Taco

by the category title, readers might be inclined not to take this
group very seriously. “Kid-friendly” sounds like they’ve got a clown
wandering among the tables or photos of Yo Gabba Gabba! characters pasted on the walls.

with childhood obesity, nutrition and development at the forefront of
people’s minds, earning the top spot for being kid-friendly is a big
deal. It means you’ve got food that kids love and you’re conscious about
how to serve it.

This year, Noodles & Company once
again takes first for its kid-friendly menu — if you have the rare
child who isn’t fond of macaroni and cheese or spaghetti, there’s bound
to be a noodle somewhere on the board they’ll like — and for its
casual atmosphere. Runner-up Mountain Sun/ Southern Sun provides a
kids’ menu and a stack of board games.

Vegetarian Friendly

2010 16th St., 303-442-1485

Second Place: Modmarket
Third Place: Native Foods
Fourth Place: Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place
Fifth Place: Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Restaurant

Vegetarians, vegans and carnivores get along pretty well in Boulder. That’s probably because they don’t have to fight over where to eat. Plenty of local restaurants offer options to all sects of diners. But those who want a completely vegetarian experience turn to Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant. It offers eggs from its own farm while still catering to vegan and even raw-food diners with options like raw ravioli and raw enchiladas. And if you have an adamant meat-eater in your group, you can order from the Leaf menu at neighboring Aji Latin American Restaurant, which is under the same ownership.

At the second-place winner, Modmarket, you can grab a quick, farm-fresh bite on the Twenty Ninth Street mall without needing to venture downtown.

To return to the Best of Boulder 2013 page, click here.