Updated: 5/22/2017

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Livin’ the Local Life

Colorado does farm-to-table better than just about anywhere else. Restaurants across the land strive not only to source vegetables and meats from local farmers, but many are also starting to grow backyard gardens and purchase farmland to fill out their menus (see Denver’s Fruition and Boulder’s Black Cat Farm to Table Bistro, among others). Colorado’s abundance of homegrown ingredients has hit its stride, and restaurants can’t resist featuring them as the daily special.

Gourmet on the Go

Where burritos and hot dogs were once the only foods sold in mobile food trucks, a spate of "gastro carts" in Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins now proffer such delicious bites as homemade biscuits (Denver Biscuit Bus), Vietnamese bahn mi sandwiches (Manna From Heaven), cucumber jalapeño crema salsa (Comida) and Prague goulash with bread dumplings (Vladi's).

Denver Biscuit Bus in Denver's Civic Center Park
Denver Biscuit Bus in Denver's Civic Center Park

The trend — which is not likely to be a short-lived one given the creativity and deliciousness it has inspired — fits in naturally in Colorado, where a surplus of sunny days and mountain views lend themselves to the outdoor dining experience.

Farm-to-Table Dinners & Events

An idyllic setting and fresher-than-fresh fare? That’s the idea behind farm functions across the state offering delicious eats right onsite with highlights like live music and agricultural surroundings.

Just a few places to find out what happens when farm meets table include 63rd St. Farm in Boulder, which hosts Mingle & Feast events on Thursday evenings throughout the summer and fall; Three Leaf Farm in Lafayette, a pastoral oasis that opens up for themed monthly dinners June through October; and Fox Fire Farms in Ignacio, where live tunes are paired with with wine from the farm's vineyard on Friday evenings. Find more culinary, farm and ranch activities >>

Fare From South of the Border

Colorado’s Southwest location means Mexican cuisine is a major influence. The state has taken the best parts of this cuisine and made it is own — with the star being green chile. This pork-filled stew, often smothered over burritos, is a must-taste for visitors.

The city of Pueblo was recently named one of the 10 most surprising food cities in America by Livability, largely because of its devotion to delectable dishes featuring the fire-roasted chile, which is grown in the area and roasted until the skin falls right off. Puebloans serve their pride and joy at breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a true taste of local tradition, try it atop a Sicilian sausage sandwich, a delicacy that was featured on the Travel Channel’s “Food Wars” in 2010.

Celebrity Chefs Live Here

Gourmands the world over are tipping their hats to chefs making magnificent food in Colorado. To name a few:

  • Denver’s Frank Bonanno has won two Food Network challenges, and in 2010 and 2011 he was nominated for the James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur award.

  • Jennifer Jasinski (RiojaBistro VendomeEuclid Hall Bar & Kitchen) made waves in season 5 of "Top Chef Masters" and also won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2013.

  • Alex Seidel of Denver's Fruition was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2010.

  • Keegan Gerhard, host of “Food Network Challenge,” opened his D Bar dessert cafe in Denver in 2008.

  • Kevin Taylor’s Denver restaurants have been winning national awards since 1987.

For more delicious ideas, read Restaurants in Colorado with Great Patio Views and Must-Eat Foods in Colorado.

Photo: Courtesy of the Denver Biscuit Bus.