Black-owned restaurants and shops in Colorado are serving up plenty of options when it comes to ideas for dates — of the romantic and friend variety — gifts for loved ones and sweet treats or cool pints to brighten up your day. This year, honor Black History Month by showing love and support to some of the amazing Black-owned businesses in Colorado.
Date Night Ideas for Everyone
Whether you’re looking for romance or prefer to wine and dine with your BFFs, you’ll find plenty of ways to have a great time while supporting Black-owned Colorado restaurants and shops. Here are some ideas.
If you’re on a first date …
• The upscale-meets-homey vibe at Mateo is the ideal setting for outstanding cocktails (seriously, don’t skip these) and the Plate Provençal — charcuterie, cheese and more. If the date goes well, move on to main courses like steak frites and duck confit. (Boulder)
• Make a novel first impression at TeaLee’s Tea Co. with an afternoon tea tray and book browsing in an environment that “moves to the rhythm of tea.” (Denver)
• The Tapout Session at Lucky Dumpling is a surefire first-date icebreaker. Get the conversation going as you leave your dinner destiny in the hands of the chefs, who take you on a seven-course tasting experience. (Colorado Springs)
• Need ideas for a Zoom date? Order delivery from Susan’s Samosas to your respective homes. Then, compare notes on the flaky delights filled with everything from beef and chicken to veggies and fruit. (Boulder, but message Susan directly for delivery range)
If you’re looking to spice things up …
• At Hot-Chick-a-Latte, find all your coffeehouse tried and trues along with specialty drinks whose racy names pale in comparison to the bold flavors … and the scantily clad baristas. (Denver)
• Jessie’s Smokin’ NOLA brings the heat as only Cajun and creole seasonings can with muffulettas, po’boys, gumbo, jambalaya and, of course, red beans and rice. (Centennial)
• Spicy Ethiopian chicken stew, peppery steak tartare and flavorful lentils — there’s no shortage of tummy-pleasing spice at Ras Kassa's Ethiopian Restaurant. (Lafayette)
• The food hall at Mango House is a culinary haven for immigrant and refugee chefs, where you can savor the tapestry of flavors in authentic Ethiopian and Sudanese fare. (Aurora)
If you need ideas for friend dates …
• Urban Sanctuary Wellness Studios offers an array of classes — both in-studio and online — so you can bond with your buds while working on your bind poses. (Denver)
• Get crafty with a pal thanks to Maker General’s DIY weaving and embroidery kits — featuring Black American legends like Harriet Tubman and Prince — or paint-by-numbers kits of Rosa Parks and Michelle Obama. (Longmont)
• The all-day happy hour at NATIV Lounge is perfect for drinks and a nosh — on street tacos, sliders and brunch fare — while spilling the tea with your besties. (Denver)
• Nothing says “friendship” like sipping coffee or hot cocoa over a breakfast feast of buttery chocolate croissants, muffins and quiche at Le French Bakery & Cafe. (Denver)
• Novel Strand Brewing Co. is your friendly neighborhood brewery with rotating sours, hoppy styles and other pleasant surprises on tap … not to mention outdoor greenhouses for warmer winter sippin’. (Denver)
If you want to stay in …
• Whistling Boar’s Date Nite Boar Box brings three courses of deliciousness to you. We’re talking a larder brimming with artisan bread, meats and cheeses along with your choice of mouthwatering appetizer, main and dessert. (Louisville, but check site for delivery range)
• COVID put a pause on Mrs. Davenport’s Sweet Potato Pies, but that’s not stopping her. Spend a night baking with your little spuds as the smiling Mrs. Davenport guides you via virtual lessons, or pre-order her upcoming recipe collection, The Gourmet Sweet Potato Cookbook. (Commerce City)
• Raglin Market’s Mateo Sandwich Pop Up boasts take-out soups, salads and swanky French-inspired sandwiches — and prides itself on hyper-locally sourced ingredients. (Boulder)
• Skip the cooking and get straight to dinner — or lunch, brunch and breakfast — thanks to pick-up and delivery meals from Mawa’s Kitchen. (Aspen)
If you want to spend extra time together …
• The no-rush atmosphere of Axum Restaurant pairs perfectly with traditional Ethiopian and Sudanese-style dishes, making this the ideal spot to silence those phones, sit back and enjoy a leisurely meal together. (Denver)
• Sit by the fire pit and sip house-made gin, whiskey, vodka and flavored liqueurs (think lavender hibiscus) at Rising Sun Distillery in Frisco. Or, schedule a tour of the distillery in Denver, and grab a few bottles to take home and enjoy at your own pace.
• Unwind with a four-course meal at Four by Brother Luck. Seasonal menus feature multiculturally influenced dishes, such as blue-corn bread with wojapi (Native American berry sauce), rabbit green chili and roasted cauliflower enchiladas. (Colorado Springs)
• Spend some laid-back time with your favorite person over pints of bitters, porters and pale ales at Hogshead 54 Brewery, where the beer and conversation both flow liberally. (Denver)
Tip: Many restaurants require reservations, especially on holidays, and special-occasion meal deliveries may have preorder deadlines. Also, some may currently be offering takeout or curbside pickup only due to COVID-19. Look now so you know what to expect and don't miss out. (And if you do, remember these businesses are open year-round!)
Gifts for Your Most Special Someone
• Black Travel Box, Denver — Travel-ready skin- and haircare products for women of color are the name of the game.
• Shop at MATTER, Denver — Your go-to for books, cool typography crafts, prints, games and so much more.
• ILA Gallery, Denver — Find sweet prints, plushies, stickers and apparel at ILA (I Love Art).
• Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver & Littleton — Roses wilt, but a good book lasts forever.
• ICONI,Greenwood Village — Oprah named this activewear line as one of her Favorite Things of 2020. Need we say more?
• Lawrence and Larimer Clothing + Supply Co., Denver — These clothes encourage you to just be comfortable being you.
Sweet Treats & Caffeinated Cuddles
• The Donut, Centennial — Whether you like them sprinkled, specialty-flavored or just-plain glazed.
• Caffeinated Cow, Colorado Springs — Family-owned and -operated coffee and ice-cream store that also sells sandwiches, bagels and breakfast burritos. (What more do you need?)
• HiRa Cafe & Patisserie, Aurora — Ethiopian-styled cafe and cake shop serving coffee, teas, cakes, pastries and savory dishes.
• Smith + Canon Ice Cream Co., Denver — Known for one-of-a kind ice-cream flavors like honeydew wasabi and Thai Tea.
• MyKings Icecream, Denver — A community gathering place scooping Colorado-made ice cream, milkshakes and snow cones.
• Colorado Sno-Balls, Colorado Springs — Shaved-ice sweetness featuring cool add-ins like marshmallow cream and condensed milk.
• Sweet Sweetz, Denver — A fun selection of dairy and vegan ice creams plus pies, cobblers, brownies and other goodies.
• Endless Grind Coffee, Aurora — Family-owned shop using fair-trade coffee that also sells teas, specialty drinks and light bites.
• Federal Coffee, Denver — Coffee, teas, pastries and fair-trade beans served from a cheerful yellow to-go window.
• Walia Creamery, Denver — Traditional and vegan ice cream in flavors like sweet potato, lavender and mango ginger as well as classics like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.
• EmNet Organics, Aurora — Organic, raw juices and superfood smoothies are perfect for those who like to keep their sweets on the healthier side.