450 Main St., Lyons 303-823-501
Lyons Fork provides a top-notch weekend brunch experience. Hospitable service, a bright and comfortable family-friendly ambience, and skillfully prepared fare make for a low-key but quality meal. Top choices include the Haystack goat cheese and zucchini fritters with a spunky aioli and the hefty French toast, garnished with toasted almonds, sour cream and a pleasantly complex apple compote.
StarLite Diner and Lounge
1750 29th St., Suite 1064, Boulder 303-443-1559
Adhering to the ’50s eatery theme, the StarLite Diner and Lounge features burgers, sandwiches and pizza, as well as breakfast faves like French toast and Denver omelets. There’s also an assortment of ice cream treats, including milkshakes and hot fudge sundaes. New York pizza adherents will enjoy the thin-crusted pies, and burger fans will appreciate the reasonably priced grass-fed offering.
191 W. South Boulder Road, Lafayette 303-665-1713
Hidden in a Lafayette strip mall, Udon Kaisha offers Japanese noodles and sushi of high quality at exceptional prices. Noodle items include thick udon, as well as more svelte ramen, available in a variety of broths. Sushi selections are simple, eschewing such exotica as sea urchin roe in favor of crowd-pleasing staples like salmon and tuna. Can’t-miss selections include the $5 yellowtail and scallion sushi roll, as well as the shoyu (soy sauce) broth udon noodles.
South Mouth Memphis Hot Wings
1650 Broadway, Suite A, Boulder 303-449-9464
Boulder’s new South Mouth Memphis Hot Wings offers its namesake poultry appendages with a choice of 10 specific sauce varieties. Prices range from $6.95 for five party wings to $72.95 for 16 pounds of Memphis wings, which are trimmed differently from the party variety. Besides the classic hot wings, other endearingly fiery choices include the Asian-influenced sriracha and the fruit-and-fire combination of the mango habanero.
721 Confidence Dr., Longmont 720-204-6455
Longmont’s Comida Cantina, the bricks-and-mortar spinoff of its namesake Mexican food truck, is a vibrant destination for South of the Border street food. Diners can choose from a number of gorditas, tostadas and tacos served in the traditional street style. Top choices include the pork, slowcooked in Stella Artois beer; toothsome arrachera, a take on carne asada; and the hefty chorizo gordita.
The Louisville Rex
817 Main St., Louisville 303-666-6224 of the main attractions of The Louisville Rex is its expansive yet comfortable rooftop deck. This spot is
One reminiscent of a warm-weather resort spot and makes for either a fine staycation venue or just a place to knock back a few with friends after work. The bar food classics are another strong suit, and these include Buffalo chicken wings and a decidedly guilty pleasure, fried pickles.
Moe’s Original Bar B Que
675 30th St., Boulder 303-440-4BBQ
Located a stone’s throw from Williams Village, Moe’s Original Bar B Que is the Boulder outpost of a ‘cue operation that originated in Alabama. It spotlights sandwiches and platters featuring such classic choices as brisket, pulled pork, hot links and fried catfish. One of the top choices is a platter of falling-off-the-bone ribs with bright fried green tomatoes and creamy banana pudding to finish.
Royal Clay Oven
5290 Arapahoe Road, Unit B, Boulder 303-444-1626
Located in East Boulder on Arapahoe, the Royal Clay Oven dishes out a reasonably priced lunch buffet with an emphasis on freshness and service. The lime-marinated tandoori chicken has a lively citrus undertone, and vindi masala, spiced okra, has a pleasant crisp-tender consistency. The staff constantly replenishes such items as the hearty potato-filled samosa, ensuring that diners enjoy fare fresh from the oven.
218 Coffman St. Longmont 303-772-6954
Combining a hospitable, homey, Key West feel with a menu of fresh seafood prepared in the manner of the Caribbean, Mexico and New Orleans, Longmont’s Tortugas is an easy winner. Noteworthy dishes include the Creole BBQ shrimp appetizer wrapped in bacon, and the bright-tasting shrimp Mojo, with a Cuban citrus, garlic and olive oil sauce.
Chocolate bourbon bread pudding is an exquisite dessert, among the best endings available locally.
1047 Pearl St. Boulder 303-444-SALT
DowntownBoulder’s SALT Bistro, one of the newest entrants in the affordable midday meal sweepstakes, now serves a “farm-to-table” lunch for $9. Favored choices include the Reuben, made with pork belly instead of corned beef. The meatless eater will favor the quinoa and chickpea fritters. Preferred sides include the tomato soup garnished with a tiny grilled cheese wedge and the beet or apple salads, for $2 more.
Jai Ho Indian Kitchen, Bar and Lounge
1915 28th St. Boulder 303-444-5151
Jai Ho, the Boulder spinoff of a popular Aurora restaurant, offers an intriguing blend of Northern and Southern Indian food, ranging from street-style eats to the ubiquitous lunchtime buffet. The buffet offers a fine opportunity to appreciate the skilled spicing of such dishes as the creamy chicken Tikka Masala and its fiery chile-based relation, Vindaloo. The dosa, a crisp, cylindrical crepe, is also a winner, featuring hefty veggie stuffing and subtle sourdough tang.
Zucca Italian Ristorante 808 Main St. Louisville 303-666-6499
Located smack dab in the middle of downtown Louisville, Zucca Italian Ristorante boasts an inviting ambience balancing the rustic with a subtle but unmistakable European flair. The same can also be said of the menu, which ranges from old standbys like comforting spaghetti and meatballs to more elevated selections like seafood cannelloni and rack of lamb. Can’t-miss items include the fried calamari starter, garnished with pickled peppers and fresh tomato, and the arugula salad, a combination of greens, gorgonzola and apple.
Fan’s Chinese Cuisine
7960 Niwot Road, #C9 Niwot 303-652-6249
Fan’s Chinese Cuisine, situated in a Niwot strip mall near a sheriff’s office substation, serves up dishes free of MSG, as well as gluten-free choices. Outside of that, the reasonably priced lunch bill of fare is a Chinese- American hall of fame, spotlighting classic, time-tested chestnuts like chow mein, Szechuan beef and vegetarian Buddha’s Delight. Top menu choices include flavorful Mongolian beef garnished with expertly stir-fried pepper and onion, as well as the fresh-tasting Grand Marnier shrimp.