Mon. May 23rd, 2022


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These classic Colorado restaurants are worth the drive — The Know

2 min read

Editor’s note: This is part of The Know’s series, Staff Favorites. Each week, we will offer our opinions on the best that Colorado has to offer for dining, shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and more. (We’ll also let you in on some hidden gems). Find our previous Staff Favorites here.

Most Front Range residents lived here before Colorado’s population boom of the last decade. So why do things often feel so new, so unmoored from our late-20th and early 21st-century identity? Partly, I think, because so many bars and restaurants —  those bastions of local culture — have been replaced by gimmicky upstarts, national chains and hyper-niche concepts.

And yet, many of the Front Range’s homegrown, old-school delights remain. Whether it’s for lunch or dinner, you can still drive to Bud’s Cafe & Bar in Sedalia, where humble, wait-worthy hamburgers are being served. (Don’t bother asking for fries — and bring your motorcycle, if you have one.) Pueblo, home to delectable Pueblo chiles, requires a visit to Tacos Navarro, an unassuming flavor haven just east of Interstate 25. If you’re closer to Wyoming, be sure to order the hearty pork chop lunch at Fort Collins’ cozy Silver Grille Cafe.

Jose Muldoon’s in Colorado Springs brings the locals in for Tex-Mex and happy hour drinks on the patio, while Beau Jo’s Colorado Style Pizza has long been an Idaho Springs stop-off after a day of sun and skiing. The latter’s braided, honey-kissed crust and piled-high toppings are just the antidote to I-70’s stomach-churning traffic.

Driving to Denver from the ‘burbs, high country or a Red Rocks show? Stop at the Morrison Inn for chips and salsa, or Denver’s Brewery Bar II for face-melting green chile stew that goes great with a cold Coors. And Lechuga’s Italian Restaurant, a longtime North Denver eatery, now has two locations from which to serve its toothsome sausage cannolis.

These other Denver and Aurora institutions deserve a mention: Pete’s Kitchen (breakfast burritos); Cora Faye’s Cafe (fried catfish and soul food); Cherry Cricket (burgers); My Brother’s Bar (also burgers); Bastien’s (sugar steak); Helga’s German Restaurant & Deli (fresh deli sandwiches); and El Taco de Mexico (tacos).

Hungry? Go for a taste of pre-boom Colorado.

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