Jay Fox's Dining Guide
Best bets for GOP dining in Boulder & Broomfield
The Colorado Statesman
There’s nothing like a lengthy political gathering to whet your appetite. Remember the Republican marathon state assembly back in 2006 that lasted through late afternoon after gubernatorial hopeful Marc Holtzman demanded a recount of the votes?
This year’s GOP event takes place Saturday, April 12 at the Coors Events Center at CU-Boulder, alma mater of Republican State Chairman Ryan Call, and after a full day of nominations — Governor, U.S. Senate, CD 4 — plus resolutions and speeches, you’ll likely be famished.
There are also the multi-county congressional district assemblies in Broomfield at the Omni Interlocken April 11, and it wouldn’t do to be ill-prepared for dining choices there either.
Luckily Boulder and Broomfield are chock-full of fantastic restaurants guaranteed to satisfy the pickiest tastes. The best part is, we’ve already done all the legwork for you by sorting out the so-so from the so good. All you need do is order.
If you just want to kick back with a cold beer and a hot slice of pizza….
Backcountry Pizza & Tap House
2319 Arapahoe Ave. • .9 miles from events center
Pizza prices: $2 (slice of pizza)-$25
Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (bar open later)
Beers for hardcore beer-lovers and beers good enough to create hardcore beer-lovers; Backcountry boasts an impressive selection with a draft list that changes frequently. They carry selections from quite a few Colorado brewers, as well as a number of imports; and varieties range from hoppy, bitter IPAs, to heady barley wines, to flavored and smoked beers. Nothing goes better with beer than pizza, which Backcountry is known for. The Nediterranean — with a pesto/red sauce base, garlic, pine nuts, roasted red peppers, artichokes, kalamata olives and feta — is especially tasty. Tip: if they’re serving smoked chicken when you go, get it.
If you like your burger with a side of Boulder-specific wall art…
1165 13th St. • 1 mile from events center
Entrée prices: $9.50-$29
Hours: Kitchen, every day, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Bar, every day, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sure, the food’s pretty great — there’s a ton of burgers to choose from, including the Texas Onion Straw burger — featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives — topped with provolone and cheddar cheeses, fresh jalapeños, chipotle aioli and crisp fried onion straws; and there are a myriad of other burger combinations as well as wings, sandwiches, etc. But what sets this place apart is the entertaining, slightly irreverent art covering almost every square inch of wall space, dating back to the groovy 60s when student protests at CU were no strange occurance. The murals depict iconic events in the storied histories of Boulder and The Sink. Check out the drawing of Robert Redford, who mopped floors at The Sink while attending CU-Boulder. Many know about his outstanding acting career, but few know that he endorsed Republican candidates over the years, including Brent Cornell Morris in his 1990 race for the 3rd CD in Utah and Redford’s friend Gary Herbert when he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Utah. (He did, however, come back to the fold for Gary Hart’s presidential quest and Democrat Tom Strickland’s Senate bids.)
But the biggest political moment in The Sink’s history came just about two years ago when the Big Man himself, President Barack Obama, addressed CU-Boulder students at the Coors Event Center on the topic of keeping student loan rates low. Afterwards he stopped by The Sink to pick up a pizza to go — reportedly a pepperoni, sausage combo pie called the “Sinkza.” He even signed the wall in the restaurant. But the most newsy part of his visit came when a photo of the Prez was snapped with a patron at The Sink who accidentally spilled some of her yogurt on Obama.
Everyday diners aren’t allowed to write on the walls, but the ceiling is fair game, if you can find a spot.
Floor manager Belen Resendez said she’s looking forward to the upcoming assembly because it’s a chance to welcome even more people into the Sink family.
“With our restaurant, since we do get a lot of the tourists that come in, it’s good to have another group,” Resendez said when asked about the political conclave this weekend. “It’s an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink atmosphere where anyone is welcome.”
Resendez said Assembly goers can expect outstanding service, adding that, “I think it would be a mistake if they didn’t come to The Sink.”
If you’re looking for a little class…
1235 Pennsylvania Ave. • 1.1 miles from events center
Entrée prices: $5-$42
Hours: Lunch, Tues.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Brunch, Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.-3 pm.;
Not unlike potato chips, it’s difficult to eat just one Spanish tapa. Unlike potato chips, they come in a sumptuous array of arrangements and ingredients, as evidenced by Café Aion’s tempting menu. From vegetable-based dishes (fried cauliflower with cumin, saffron yogurt, and lemon), to seafood selections (braised octopus with tomato, lemons, olives, white beans and flatbread), to meat (Colorado lamb sausage with flatbread, yogurt sauce and peppers), Café Aion has you covered. Dishes like these lend themselves incredibly well to sharing, and there’s also the option of ordering personal entrees and much larger dishes like paella and roast chicken.
If you’re staying overnight in Boulder, check out the brunch at Café Aion on Sunday. They offer homemade sticky buns, turnovers, croissants, plus whole wheat pancakes with house made Colorado apple sauce, and an array of breakfast beverages designed to pep you up: Mimosas with organic orange juice and champagne; Bellinis made with all-natural Colorado peach nectar; Bloody Marys with house-infused olive vodka, fresh horseradish and crispy bacon; and Sangria made with red wine, fresh fruit, spices and secrets.
If you want the true Boulder experience…
Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place
2027 13th St. • 1.7 miles from events center
Entrée prices: $11.50-$21
Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-close; Fri., 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-close. Brunch on weekends.
Owned by triplets (who go by the moniker Blissful Sisters), Shine has it all: a gluten-free kitchen; ingredients pure enough to satisfy the strictest locavore; entertainment ranging from classical music to aerial dancers; and a number of “elixirs” for just about any ailment. For dinner, try the Super Tender Pulled Pork ($19) with bbq sauce, seared chard, apple-cabbage slaw, mustard dipping sauce and (of course) a buttermilk biscuit. Get the beet hummus plate ($7.75) or the sweet potato fries ($5.75) to share. Sure you’ve had sweet potato fries before, but you’ve never had ones like these. The salmon burger is also delicious, and every plate leaves you with, instead of a food coma, the feeling of having consumed something utterly healthy – if that’s what you’re into.
There are also sustainably crafted wine and cocktails, in addition to beers brewed on site. And Shine’s website boats a state-of-the-art elixir bar showcasing healing tonics high in antioxidants, that are great for anti-aging, digestion, and some that are known to be aphrodisiacs.
That’s just a meager sampling of Boulder’s restaurant choices, here are a few more that deserve mention:
2017 13th St. • 1.7 miles from events center
Entrée prices: $10-$30
Hours: Mon.-Wed., 3 p.m.-2 a.m.; Thu.-Sun., Noon-2 a.m.
Communal tables; sausages & sauerkraut; fresh pretzels; live (and lively) entertainment; lots of European beers.
Brasserie Ten Ten
1011 Walnut St. • 1.7 miles from events center
Entrée prices: $14-$28
Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun., 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Rustic, yet refined décor; variety of seafood dishes; cheese plates; named best French restaurant/best brunch (2012-13, Wine Spectator).
Oak at Fourteenth
1400 Pearl St. • 2 miles from events center
Cuisine: Modern American
Entrée prices: $22-$65
Hours: Mon.-Wed., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Thurs.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-midnight; Sun., 5:30-10 p.m.
Small, large and shareable plates; oak-fired oven and grill (hence the name); patio dining; non-alcoholic (and alcoholic) cocktails.
If you don’t feel like going far from the congressional assemblies…
Meritage, Inside Omni Interlocken Hotel
500 Interlocken Blvd.
Entrée prices: $25-$35
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. brunch, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Meritage’s cuisine is modern American and they proudly serve Colorado products like locally raised lamb and bison and locally cultivated vegetables. You can expect nothing but the highest quality (from the service to the food) from Meritage, which shatters the stereotype of the seedy hotel restaurant. Entrees include the Land & Sea, a roasted lobster tail and beef tenderloin served with clarified butter, Colorado mushrooms, potato puree and asparagus; and a smoked bison tenderloin served with a Anaheim pepper/smoked chorizo hash and wild berry gastrique (a sweet-and-sour sauce that’s equal parts sugar and vinegar); in addition to a number of mouthwatering steaks and classic sides. According to executive chef Mario Clapes, the smoked bison is a signature Meritage dish that has been on the menu for years and has customers coming back again and again. Clapes said the hotel and restaurant staff are well-accustomed to large groups, and they’re excited for the upcoming assembly.
“Any time we get an opportunity to showcase what we do here, we relish in that opportunity,” Clapes said.
Meritage is merely feet away from the assembly, so if you find yourself starving during the day, it’s easy enough to slip away and grab some gourmet grub at Meritage.
If you’re looking for something a little more casual, Omni’s Tap Room offers just that with tons of local beers (Republican-friendly Coors included) and new takes on classic bar food.
And by the way, if you want to hit a few balls, the hotel’s scenic golf course is ranked third in the “Best Resort Courses of Colorado” survey. U.S. Sen. Mark Udall is top-ranked among elected officials by Golf Digest and is a widely acknowledged 2-handicapper, despite his being in the wrong political party…
If you’re not really a pizza person, but everyone else is…
Double D’s Sourdough pizza
535 Zang St. • .8 miles from hotel
Pizza prices: $7-$28
Hours: Sun.-Th., 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri., 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Pizza that even non-pizza lovers will love may sound like an underhanded insult, but in reality, it’s an overwhelming compliment. The Colorado-based pizzeria serves everything you’d find at most run-of-the-mill pizza joints (not naming any names, here), but it’s all 1,000 times better. Pizza choices include staples and common favorites like a plain cheese pie, a veggie-heavy pizza, a variation on ham and pineapple, and a barbecue chicken pizza. There are also many more non-traditional offerings: the Mac-n-Za with guess what on top; a pizza with toppings reminiscent of loaded baked potato; and “The Maggie” (this writer’s favorite), with a garlic olive oil sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil and tomatoes.
If you’re craving hearty burgers from a restaurant you may have already been to...
C.B. & Potts
555 Zang St. • .9 miles from hotel
Entrée prices: $10-$24
Hours: Every day, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
This 35-year-old burger & beer chain restaurant, with six locations in Colorado, also happens to be the meeting place for a number of Colorado Republican groups, including the Larimer County Republican women and the Reagan Club of Colorado. This year the Republican Liberty Caucus chose C.B. & Potts to hold a Liberty Rally and Celebration after the Broomfield assemblies from 4-8 p.m. The event costs $32.64, which includes two drink tickets and access to an appetizer bar. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
As far as their menu, C.B. & Potts offers a number of funky burger/sandwich combinations, including a Hawaiian burger with pineapple and ham, a salmon burger and a fried chicken BLT. There’s also an array of salads, steaks, seafood and more to choose from; and the restaurant proudly brews its own beer (what kind of CO chain would they be if they didn’t?) so be sure to ask your server what brews are on tap.
If none of that strikes your fancy, Flatirons Mall is just about a mile away and in addition to their food court, the mall complex contains full-service restaurants like the Asian chain P.F. Chang’s and Gordon Biersch, a warm, inviting, German-style restaurant with a good beer selection. Needless to say, you won’t go hungry.
Maggie Tharp pens food articles for The Colorado Statesman. If she could only eat at a handful of Boulder/Broomfield restaurants for the rest of her life, it would likely be these. Maggie can be reached at email@example.com.