Travellers go to Colorado for a lot of reasons: skiing, mountain climbing, canyon climbing, fishing, boating and just about every outdoor activity you can come up with.  With all of the natural beauty to be found in the state, food is probably the last thing on your mind while visiting, but these restaurants hope to add one more reason for people to return to the state.

The Margarita at Pine Creek – Colorado Springs

For dining al fresco, there’s pretty much no better spot than right here.  They have multiple patios surrounding an adobe-style building creating an oasis of peacefulness....and amazing food.  The bread is baked in-house and most of the menu includes locally sourced foods cooked into a style all their own.  Come on a weekday evening to try the patio menu – smaller bites that let you relax and nibble all evening as you enjoy the fresh air and some amazing cocktails.

The Kitchen Denver - Denver

Kitchen Denverhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/robotbrainz/

An offshoot of the incredibly popular Kitchen restaurant that started in Boulder, the menu is filled with locally sourced food from ranchers and farmers.  Meals vary by season and include a mix of meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes.  “Community Hour” has a selection of appetizers and entries for a great price and the beer menu puts many a bigger restaurant to shame.

The Pullman – Glenwood Springs

The decor looks a little sparse and many of the tables are meant to be shared, but it really is part of the charm of this unpretentious American eatery.  The menu takes ordinary diner food and nudges it up several notches, retaining the simple characteristics but with a whole new flair.  Try some duck nuggets with rhubarb ketchup or truffled potato pierogies.  If you’re craving something sweet, the cheesecake bread pudding is both light and delicious.

Rioja – Denver

Riojahttps://www.flickr.com/photos/beautifulcataya/

Fresh ingredients, homemade pasta and a mouth-watering Mediterranean-themed menu make Rioja one of those ‘must visit’ restaurants when in Denver.  The weekend brunch has a rotating menu that includes innovative cocktails and a wide selection of savory breakfast dishes.  Best of all, Rioja serves fresh donuts made in-house that come with honey brittle and a dollop of milk jam.

Bird Dog BBQ – Colorado Springs

Oak-smoked meats are cooked to perfection and the BBQ sauce is always served on the side.  Unlike many restaurants that expand their menu to draw in customers, Bird Dog only serves barbecue.  Apparently it was the right choice because this joint has been voted the best barbecue spot in the city for the last eight years.  Order a sandwich or just buy your meat by the pound and dig in.

Denver Biscuit Bus – Denver

Biscuit Bus Denverhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/jessicajuriga/

They serve biscuits – flaky, warm, mile-high, mouth-watering biscuits usually wrapped around a tasty southern delicacy such as bacon belly or buttermilk fried chicken.  The selection is small and the bus is only open during the warmer months, but most Denverites look forward to the first sighting of the year almost as eagerly as they await the first daffodil.

Secret Stash – Crested Butte

If that other place just sounds too froo-froo for you, you’ll find the best pizza in the city right here.  They have a huge menu with both standard food like mozzarella sticks, and the unexpected such as steamed clams and edamame.

Kelly Liken – Vail

Kelly Likenhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/ishane/

You would expect something upscale in this town and this Colorado-themed restaurant delivers.  Rocky Mountain elk and roast quail are on the menu but the best plan is to order the three-course meal and get a sampling of some of the tastiest items on the menu.  If you can possibly squeeze in a bite more, order the Sticky Bun Sundae – it’s well worth a little after-dinner belt-loosening.

Soupcon – Crested Butte

A snazzy French-American bistro is possibly the last thing you thought you’d find in this city known for attracting skiing and backpacking aficionados.  They don’t mind if you come in a bit grubby from your bike ride, and that Colorado Rack of Lamb is enough to fill the hungriest rock climber.

Secret Stash – Crested Butte

If that other place just sounds too froo-froo for you, you’ll find the best pizza in the city right here.  They have a huge menu with both standard food like mozzarella sticks, and the unexpected such as steamed clams and edamame.

Quincy’s – four locations

Quincyshttps://www.flickr.com/photos/mhaithaca/

This family place first opened in Leadville and has since expanded to Buena Vista, Salida and Florence.  Each restaurant follows the same menu, which is steak.  Ok, you can get a potato and salad with it, but there are no other options on the menu.  Sunday through Thursday is filet mignon and the weekends offer either prime rib or sirloin.  If you are a desperate vegetarian they do have vegetable lasagna for you.

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