Best of Boulder East County 2020 — Food

Waterloo bar manager, Tim Platt

817 Main St., Louisville, 303-993-2094
Longmont Winner: Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar
Lafayette Winner: Smashburger
We said it last year, and we stand by it: The burger is one of humanity’s greatest inventions. And when East County BW readers need that cravable combination of salty, savory umami, they turn again and again to Waterloo. Whether it’s beef or bison, brisket or pastrami, chicken or fish, they know that they won’t leave hungry. Oh, you’ll want to keep eating, but you won’t be able to — unless you brought proper eatin’ pants. A word to the wise: Add a fried egg to your burger for a buck. There will be plenty of time to hit the gym tomorrow.

1075 E. South Boulder Road, Suite 145, Louisville, 303-926-0999
Longmont Winner: Flavor of India
Lafayette Winner: Tandoori Kitchen
Nederland Winner: Kathmandu Restaurant
Let’s face it: If you’re looking for top-shelf traditional cooking from every corner of the globe, you’re gonna find it in a strip mall. That’s the first thing you’ll notice on a trip to Taj Mahal III. The second thing you’ll notice is the ornate decor. But then the food arrives, and you forget all about the first two. Now it’s all about Taj’s pillowy samosas, rich curries, spicy vindaloos, creamy saags and sweet kulfi. Year after year, it’s our reader’s East County favorite, and for damn good reasons.

Susan France Reelfish Fish & Chips general manager, Linda Hudson

2770 Arapahoe Road, Lafayette, 720-630-8053
Longmont Winner: Tortugas
Louisville Winner: Parma Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar
We understand why our readers love Reelfish Fish & Chips; an order of fish and chips lets you choose from Alaskan cod, Atlantic haddock, Cajun catfish or fresh salmon, served with fresh, hot fries and creamy tartar sauce for dunking. But you can also get grilled mahi-mahi or ahi tuna, lobster bisque, clam chowder, shrimp po’boys or fresh oysters with a whole range of delicious sides like coleslaw, hushpuppies or salted Brussels sprouts with mushrooms. With so many fresh seafood options, what’s not to love?

600 Longs Peak Ave., Longmont, 303-651-7886
Louisville Winner: Waterloo
Broomfield Winner: Outlaw Wings
If BW readers know anything, they know where to find the best chicken wings in town: Longs Peak Pub & Taphouse. The youngest sister in the Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries family, Longs Peak brings the famous jumbo wings to Longmont. Crispy on the outside, plump and juicy inside, these wings are tossed in your choice of sweet and savory BBQ sauce, fiery and buttery buffalo sauce, or rich and complex Malaysian sambal sauce. Pick a lane; you can’t go wrong. Just make sure to ask for extra napkins and save room for one of this local chain’s signature ales to wash it all down.

2130 Mountain View Ave., Longmont, 303-702-1111
645 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-774-1441
Louisville Winner: Moxie Bread Co.
Lafayette Winner: Eats & Sweets
Niwot Winner: Niwot Market
BW readers — East County and beyond — love Snarf’s Sandwiches. They love them in high school, hanging out after a hard afternoon skateboarding. They love them before and after adventurous nights in college. And they love them for a casual business lunch or a pick-me-up on the way home from the office. We get it: The crusty bread, the generous fillings, the melty cheese, the crisp veggies, the spicy giardiniera peppers. Easy to handle, satisfying to eat. Some things never go out of style. 

526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Louisville Winner: LuLu’s BBQ
Lafayette Winner: The Post Brewing Co.
The Roost
is committed to providing quality customer service — on its website, it lists its core values, which include professionalism, teamwork and a belief that “Yes” is the answer. Our readers appreciate that commitment. Especially in these daunting times, its service — making sure people are safe, happy and comfortable — set restaurants apart. Our readers say The Roost is doing it right.

Susan France Scratch Food Truck sous chef, Nolan Cloutier

Mobile, Longmont, 720-600-3400
Louisville Winner: Verde
Lafayette Winner: Eats & Sweets
Frederick Winner: Butcher & the Blonde
Remember life before food trucks? Neither do we. Or at least it’s a world we want to forget — sitting at the bar, wanting more to drink but too hungry to keep drinking; festivals, events and evenings at the park without a range of food options whipped up by professional chefs. We shudder at the thought. Good thing Scratch Kitchen Food Truck serves craft food made for craft beer, as a constant fixture at many Longmont and East County breweries, with a permanent home at 300 Suns Brewing. Focusing on classic American sandwiches with a twist, the menu offers burgers, chicken sandwiches and a few variations of the grilled cheese: pulled pork chimichurri and bacon onion jam.

7960 Niwot Road, Niwot, 303-652-0200
First Runner-Up: Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House (closed)
Second Runner-Up: 1914 House
Every small Coloradan town needs a tavern named after it — a go-to place for locals and visitors to gather for drinking and dining in a homey atmosphere, a hub for the social, political and cultural life of a community. We are in the Wild West, after all. Niwot Tavern takes the concept to the next level, serving the East County community a standard pub menu with a modern twist. With everything from Ribeye steak and shepherd’s pie to Cajun shrimp pasta and an udon noodle bowl, there’s something for everyone here.

250 Third Ave., Longmont, 720-999-4099
Louisville Winner: LuLu’s BBQ
Lafayette Winner: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
Well, takeout took on a different meaning in 2020, didn’t it? Some restaurants built up their take-out programs from scratch, others leaned into it. Regardless of how they started, we’re happy to support restaurants in a safe manner via takeout. It’s a bonus when the takeout is so good, as is the case at Georgia Boys BBQ, our readers’ choice for best take-out restaurant. Barbecue travels well, as do sumptuous sides and indulgent desserts, so order up your items and get ready for an at-home feast.

2065 Main St., Longmont, 303-485-1055
Louisville Winner: Sushi Yoshi
Lafayette Winner: 95a Bistro & Sushi
How do you take your sushi? Sashimi (sans rice)? Nigiri (raw fish on a finger of rice wrapped with seaweed)? Osaka-style (boxed sushi resembling colorful napoleons)? Rolls? Sushi Hana has them all, including plenty of your favorites. That’s why BW readers give this Longmont restaurant the big thumbs up. The fish is fresh, the veggies are crisp, the tempura is airy… We could go on, but that’ll just make us hungry. Guess we better scoot down there for an eel and cucumber roll. See you there.

526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Lafayette Winner: The Post Brewing Co.
Louisville Winner: Waterloo
Lyons Winner: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew
Our readers can’t find flaws in The Roost, their choice for the Best Overall Restaurant in East County. We can’t blame ’em — The Roost has a long lunch, dinner and happy hour menu with great cocktails and exceptional service. Plus, everything’s reasonably priced. For years now, folks have been flocking to The Roost from all over the county for business lunches, dates, family dinners and much more. Here’s to many more years of elevating the East County dining scene.

303 Main St., Lyons, 303-823-6685
First Runner-Up: Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew
Second Runner-Up: Mojo Taqueria
Third Runner-Up: The Stone Cup Café
While Oskar Blues’ brewery component spans three states — not to mention a slew of restaurants and the ubiquity of Dale’s Pale Ale in just about every liquor and grocery store in the country — the original digs in Lyons, Oskar Blues Grill & Brew, never got too big for its britches. The cooking is still down-home good, the hospitality is second to none and you can still hear good music coming out of the basement. A lot has changed since Dale Katechis opened Oskar Blues in 1997, but Grill & Brew remains a BW Best Of staple. May it never fade away.

Susan France Smokin Bowls assistant manager, Sierra “Cici” Brady

449 Main St., Longmont, 720-815-2875
Erie Winner: Birdhouse
Bowls are here to stay. Hooray for bowls. Bowl popularity is likely one big reason why Smokin Bowls in Longmont (from the folks that brought you Jefes Tacos & Tequila and The Roost) is our readers’ choice for best new restaurant. It also helps that the bowls are well-crafted and filled with fresh, flavor-forward ingredients. There are globe-spanning signature bowls (Hawaiian, Italian, Thai, etc.), or you can craft your own, choosing from a variety of unique offerings that appeal to people of all dietary persuasions.

526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Lafayette Winner: 95a Bistro & Sushi
Louisville Winner: LuLu’s BBQ
Getting appetizers at The Roost is always a good choice. Start with its signature fries and tots, which are done up in a variety of presentations — salsa verde, bacon and queso, katsu curry, poutine and more. Then you’ll want to move into the starters menu with elevated vegetables like blistered shishito peppers, tempura-fried cauliflower and polenta bites, as well as classic apps like nachos, wings and sliders. It could almost be a full meal.

1377 Forest Park Circle, Suite 101, Lafayette, 303-604-6351
Longmont Winner: The Post Brewing Co.
Louisville Winner: Parma Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar
Making light, fluffy and delicious gluten-free pancakes is quite a task, but our readers say the cooks at Morning Glory Cafe are masters. Plain or blueberry, gluten-sensitive folks need not miss out on slathering butter and warm syrup over a fat stack of flapjacks. But the gluten-free options don’t stop at pancakes. Morning Glory Cafe also offers Udi’s gluten-free buns for burgers, gluten-free tortillas for quesadillas and sandwiches and, of course, egg scrambles and salads that are safe for gluten-sensitive stomachs.

700 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-8020
Longmont Winner: Cheese Importers
Lafayette Winner: Eats & Sweets
To quote Helen Keller, “Life is short and unpredictable” — a description of 2020 if we ever heard one. Good thing she also tacked on a bit more wisdom — “eat dessert first.” Time to take her advice and head on over to The Huckleberry, our readers’ favorite spot to grab a sweet treat in East County. This vast menu includes freshly baked cakes, pies, milkshakes and malts, root beer floats and much more. And if you truly want the whole shebang, join the folks at The Huckleberry for afternoon tea, and enjoy any number of desserts all in one sitting.

526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Louisville Winner: 740 Front
Lafayette Winner: 95a Bistro & Sushi
Got business to handle and need a place to handle said business? Our readers say you ought to head to The Roost, where you’ll be able to meet associates and enjoy a good meal in a comfortable setting. The service is prompt and the menu has something for everyone — salads, sandos, wraps, tacos, bowls. Everything’s reasonably priced, so you won’t have to fret submitting that receipt to HR. And if the meeting’s going well (or really poorly), The Roost’s got a long menu of lunchtime wine and cocktails to help.

133 S. McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 303-665-0330
Longmont Winner: Thai Kitchen
Lafayette Winner: Panang Thai Cuisine
Lyons Winner: Julie’s Thai Kitchen
Meaning flower in the Thai language, busaba connotes “life emerging from the elements growing toward the light and emanating its brilliant colors as a gift.” And what a flavorful gift Busaba is. With an extensive menu featuring Thai staples like Pad Thai, Panang curry and Tom Kha soup, you can’t go wrong ordering off this menu. For the last decade, Busaba has been creating authentic Thai tastes with locally sourced ingredients, and our readers vote it best of the best, year after year.

1132-1 W. Dillon Road, Louisville, 303-284-2741
Longmont Winner: Caprese Trattoria
Lafayette: Mici Handcrafted Italian
Broomfield: Delvickios Incredible Italian
What’s more Italian than Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Prosciutto de Parma? Not much, except maybe Parma Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar’s executive chef and owner Silvio Cuomo, born and raised in Naples, Italy. When it came to opening his own restaurant in Louisville, Cuomo chose to name it after the northern Italian city of Parma, in the Emilia-Ramagna region known for its farm-fresh cuisine of pastas, meats and cheeses. Sourcing organic ingredients from local farms whenever possible, Cuomo and the folks at Parma offer up a diverse menu of Italian eats in an open and airy trattoria dining room.

Susan France Moe’s Broadway Bagels (Louisville) assistant manager, Jonathan Morado

1057 Courtesy Road, Louisville, 303-665-2126
Longmont Winner: Big Daddy Bagels
Lafayette Winner: Einstein Bros. Bagels
Broomfield Winner: First Watch
Moe’s Broadway Bagel
has more than 20 bagel varieties for your hungry stomach: From sweet (Cinnamon Sugar) to savory (Tomato Cheddar); breakfast (Oatmeal Raisin) and dinner (Garlic). And then there’s the almighty, all-encompassing Italian. Laypeople call it the Everything bagel, but not you. You voted Moe’s best bagel in East County once again, which means you’ve probably worked your way through all 22 options, indulged in a spread or six, and topped them with sliced meats, eggs, veggies and cheeses. Because anyone who knows, knows there’s no winner like Moe’s.

133 S. McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 303-665-0330
Longmont Winner: East Moon Chinese & Sushi Restaurant
Lafayette Winner: Pho Cafe

Combining different culinary traditions of countries and cultures across Asia, Busaba is the go-to East County spot for Asian fusion cuisine, according to our readers. With a large emphasis on Thai food, the menu combines flavors and tastes to present a delicious menu of dishes made with locally sourced, fresh ingredients. Our recommendation: Larb — a delicious meat salad combining the flavors of several ethnic groups across Burma, China, Thailand and Laos, where it’s known as the unofficial national dish.

637 Front St., Louisville, 303-666-5743
Longmont Winner: Longs Peak Pub & Taphouse
Lafayette Winner: Noodles and Co.
It’s hard to beat Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House when you’re thinking of a place to take the family for a meal. First, the food is unassailable — pizzas of all varieties with special kid-friendly offerings. The staff is also equipped and prepared to deal with all the… let’s say, fun… that goes with bringing young kids to a restaurant. And there’s a big run-around area (and Sweet Cow next-door), so the kids will be happy to be there. You’ll be happy, too, with one of Lucky Pie’s on-tap beers in your glass.

526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Lafayette Winner: Morning Glory Cafe
Louisville Winner: Waterloo
The veggie burger, fortunately, has undergone a renaissance in recent years. Gone are the tired old hockey pucks; in are fresh, flavor-forward innovations and meat substitutes that actually taste good. The Roost’s got the Impossible vegan patty on hand for sliding into its classic burger, and it’s also got a falafel burger with tahini tzatziki, lettuce, tomato, red onion and pesto on a grilled potato bun.

Susan France Kevin Herrington, owner of LuLu’s BBQ in Louisville

701B Main St., Louisville, 720-583-1789
Longmont Winner: Georgia Boys BBQ
Lyons Winner: Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew
Superior Winner: Wayne’s Smoke Shack
Our readers say when they’re craving barbecue, they’re going to LuLu’s BBQ. There, they can get smoked chicken, pulled pork, brisket, sausage, ribs and more. (And lest you think you’ve been left out, vegetarians, LuLu’s has a pretty excellent BBQ tofu.) Pair all that goodness with classic sides like beans, cornbread, slaw or fried okra, and you’ll be feeling pretty good about your dining choices.

518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814
Lafayette Winner: Tangerine
Louisville Winner: The Huckleberry
Superior Winner: PJ’s Diner (formerly Doug’s Day Diner)
Restaurants come in all shapes and sizes, but the ones that make us feel like we’re sidling up to a plate of home cooking at grandma’s are the best. That’s probably why we all seem to share an affinity for Lucile’s Creole Café. Located in a lovely pastel yellow house, with plates served on cloth mats, Lucile’s serves up superb Cajun cooking (benedicts, beignets, biscuits, oh my!), in a county where we take brunch seriously. Maybe too seriously. That might explain why Lucile’s charming vibe is so disarming: No need to put on airs here, just order a plate of pain perdu and slide down the sweetest river of butter you ever did find.

250 Third Ave., Longmont, 720-999-4099
Louisville Winner: LuLu’s BBQ
Lafayette Winner: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
Frederick Winner: Butcher & the Blonde
When you hire a caterer for an event, you need them to be on time, sure; you need the catered items to be affordable, of course; and you’d like the staff to be friendly and accommodating, obviously. Our readers say Georgia Boys BBQ does all that and also checks one more critical box on the catering checklist: the food is dynamite. Barbecue is made for groups, and Georgia Boys delivers, literally, with ribs, pulled pork, chicken wings, banana pudding and much more.

461 Main St., Longmont, 303-485-5020
Louisville Winner: Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House
Erie Winner: Abo’s Pizza
Gunbarrel Winner: Proto’s Pizzeria Napoletana
Rosalee’s Pizzeria
in Longmont is our readers’ go-to spot for fresh, East Coast-style pies. The thin-crust ’za comes in at 18 inches (you can also get a square, pan pie), and Rosalee’s has a number of classic topping variations — margherita, salami and basil, sausage and white. Pair that with some garlic knots and a salad, and the meal will be complete. This is a neighborhood pizzeria that’s welcoming and comfortable, part of — not just in — the community.

1148 W. Dillon Road, Louisville, 720-328-8826
Longmont Winner: Sakura Japanese Cuisine
Lafayette Winner: Sushi Aji
If you’ve only had sushi, you haven’t had Japanese cuisine. Ditto if teriyaki is your Tuesday night go-to. Not that we’re knocking either (we’ve had our share and then some), but have you dug into a big comforting bowl of donburi? Felt the satisfying slurp of a soba noodle? Worked your way through a plate of tempura-fried veggies? Felt your sinuses open at the mere mention of tuna tataki? BW East County readers sure have, which is why they stump for Hana Japanese Bistro. Hana has all of the above and more — even sushi.

133 McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 720-890-3875
Longmont Winner: Winchell’s Donut House
Ray LaMar was 17 when he started perfecting his donut recipe. And the year was 1933, four years into the Great Depression. Kind of makes you wonder what great things the 17-year-olds of today are cooking up in the time of the pandemic. Speaking of, we’ve found ourselves eating a lot of donuts these days — soft and warm, sweet and buttery, delicious and satisfying. We’ve heard you are too, particularly at LaMar’s Donuts & Coffee. Ray would be proud of us. What’s your favorite? We’ve heard LaMar’s has about three dozen to choose from, but we keep going back to Ray’s Original Glazed — a donut worthy of LaMar’s persistent perfection.

2144 Main St., Suite 1, Longmont, 303-684-8383
Louisville Winner: Spice China
Lafayette Winner: Colorado Wok
Eating at East Moon Chinese & Sushi Restaurant is an opportunity to take a culinary tour of Asia with an expansive menu of Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese food — but our readers think East Moon’s Chinese offerings can’t be beaten. Start with some crispy crab rangoons or savory pork dumplings before you tuck into a plate of lo mein noodles or Mongolian beef. With fresh food, great prices and a welcoming environment, it’s no wonder East Moon is our readers’ favorite Chinese restaurant.

732 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-7777
Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro
Longmont Winner: Sugarbeet
Niwot Winner: 1914 House
Fine dining doesn’t have to be a stuffy experience that requires a blazer. When our readers are looking for an exceptional meal served in a charming atmosphere, they head to The Melting Pot. Here, the whole family can enjoy the fun of fondue, with garlic pepper sirloin for the grown-ups, and chicken teriyaki for the kids. Everybody can enjoy Yin & Yang for dessert, with decadent and buttery dark and white chocolate fondue artfully swirled together — perfect for dunking strawberries.

Susan France Jefes Tacos & Tequila general manager, Jordan Suniga

246 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3790
Lafayette Winner: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
Louisville Winner: Old Santa Fe Mexican Grille

If the bright pink colors and stunning margaritas at Jefes Tacos & Tequila don’t grab you, the food surely will. It did for BW East County readers; it’s their favorite Mexican restaurant for 2020. And that’s saying something — East County certainly ain’t hurtin’ for good Mexican food. But at Jefes, the vibe is lively, and the menu combines some of the best aspects of a taco truck with the vibrant flavors of a West Coast counter walk-up. Plus, it has all your favorites: smothered burritos, enchiladas, street tacos, you know the drill. Even better, owners Sean and Rebecca Gafner are committed to locally and sustainably sourced ingredients.

1380 Horizon Ave., Unit A, Lafayette, 720-443-3007
Longmont Winner: The Roost
Louisville Winner: LuLu’s BBQ
Grabbing a seat on the patio has always been fun, but Acreage Ciderhouse & Eatery in Lafayette takes it to the next level, with stunning views of the Front Range on its expansive outdoor patio. First, grab a picnic table for you and your friends, or take a load off in one of the Adirondack chairs. Next, order some charcuterie or small plates for the whole gang to snack on while everyone mulls over which Stem Cider they want to order — maybe you want the mildly piquant Chile Guava or the floral freshness of a Lavender cider. And, of course, a Real Dry cider never disappoints. Finally, sip languorously and munch happily with the mountains as your backdrop.

526 Main St., Longmont, 303-827-3380
Lafayette winner: The Post Brewing Co.
Louisville winner: Waterloo
Erie winner: 24 Carrot Bistro
Good luck deciding what to order at The Roost. Its menu is a melting pot of culinary traditions that, in its diversity, feels distinctly American — thus our readers’ choice of The Roost as the Best American Restaurant in East County. Take, for instance, the dinner menu, which includes steak-frites, Haitian chicken, a poke rice bowl and lamb chops. Only in the U.S. of A. could a restaurant have such a range; we’re lucky we can access that variety right in Longmont.

700 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-8020
Lafayette Winner: Tangerine
Longmont Winner: Le Peep
Niwot Winner: The Garden Gate Café
Sometimes simple is really the best. That’s what our readers say about the buttermilk pancakes at The Huckleberry. A stack of them comes with fresh fruit drizzled in delectable maple syrup. And if you like the French kind, check out the mixed berry crepes filled with mascarpone cheese, cream cheese and vanilla, topped with a mixed berry sauce. Either comes with a choice of eggs and meat, making this the go-to breakfast spot in East County. Simply the best, better than all the rest.

Susan France Sweet Cow Ice Cream (Louisville) assistant manager, Jordon Ferrill

637 Front St., Louisville, 303-666-4269
Longmont Winner: Scrumptious
Lafayette Winner: Eats & Sweets
What’s not to love about Sweet Cow Ice Cream? This homegrown chain serves fresh, handcrafted ice cream, dishing out classic flavors like strawberry, cookies and cream, and mint chocolate chip. Adventurous palates can enjoy ingenious concoctions like banana Oreo (pretty self-explanatory), Golden Grahams (honey ice cream with the crunchy graham cracker cereal swirled throughout) and Trick or Treat (contains five candy bars: Twix, Milky Way, Snickers, Heath Bar and Kit Kats). One scoop, two scoops or even three, in a cake cone, sugar cone or pretzel cone. Best of all? Sweet Cow uses only compostable and recyclable products. Sweet.

641 Main St., Louisville, 720-420-9461
Longmont Winner: Babettes Artisan Bread
Lafayette Winner: Button Rock Bakery
Moxie Bread Co.
owner/baker Andy Clark is one of Boulder County’s brightest food minds. He, and the team at Louisville’s Moxie Bread Co., aren’t afraid to try new recipes, incorporate ancient and heirloom grains, and push the boundaries of our perceptions of the humble neighborhood bakery. Of course, all that creativity would be for naught if it weren’t for the delicious kouign-ammans, bread loaves, sandwiches and pastries Moxie churns out. So successful has Moxie been over the last several years that Clark and company opened a second, grain-focused location in North Boulder. Here’s hoping the growth never stops.


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