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Critics’ Choice: Best of the West 2016



Best Place to Eat & Argue

Alfred E. Packer Memorial Grill

Outside the Alferd E. Packer Memorial Grill in the University of Colorado’s Memorial Center, there is often a row of students proselytizing for their favorite thing — the campus socialist party, Campus Crusade for Christ or — well, about five other Jesus-based organizations. They will welcome you to take your panini and sit down next to them and you can spend a pleasant afternoon informing each other why they’re wrong, so wrong, so stupid, just idiots. Other than at your uncle’s house for Thanksgiving, where do you get a chance like that?

Best Place in Boulder to Nurse a Hangover

Southside Walnut

It’s either Saturday or Sunday morning, you’re not entirely sure, and it feels like there’s a broadax through your forehead. You’re hungover, and what you need is food. Ditch the usual Boulder brunch crowd and the long lines that’ll only exacerbate your hangover, and visit South Side Walnut Cafe. A classic American diner with tons of seating, you will never wait more than 15 minutes at the Walnut, even on a weekend morning. With superb service, yummy food (we’re partial to the Pesto Quesadilla), and an impressive array of espresso drinks using Ozo beans — the Walnut is the perfect spot to regain your composure while trying to remember (or forget) the finer details of the night before. 

Best Smothered Burrito


I’m standing in line. They have just made the tortilla in front of my eyes, pressing the dough firmly into a snow-white disc. It is baking now, turning hypnotically in the baking carousel, the air pockets ballooning and inflating as a light brown char sets in. Hands efficiently grip and flip it into a foil container, deftly layering my rice, beans and meat into interleaving layers, all melding together into the ineffable, delicious mess that is the inside of a burrito. They grip it firmly, hands folding and rolling in into a cylinder. My breath catches in my throat as I see the tortilla flex and bulge under the strain. I lean in, watching as the sauce is poured over it, forking and trickling down its sides in playful abandon. I reluctantly leave its side to go pay. “Do you need anything else?” They ask. No. Nothing at all.

Best CaT in BOCO


Dobby is not only the cutest cat in Boulder County, he is also widely renowned as the most handsome and the softest. An indoor-outdoor kitty, Dobby doesn’t need a litter box even in the snowiest conditions. Remarkably skilled at self-cleaning and grooming, Dobby is also extremely athletic (he has been known to catch flies in mid air). Though somewhat of a scaredy cat with unfamiliar people, Dobby is unquestionably the sweetest kitty in the county, once you get to know him.

Best Not-In-Bouder Boulder Experience

Bohemian Beirgarten

The Bohemian Beirgarten shouldn’t exist in Boulder. It serves pretzels in one of America’s most carb-unfriendly towns and measures its beer in “litres”. But that is exactly why you should go– sometimes the best weekends aren’t about endurance running or climbing a fourteener. Sometimes they’re about a big, fat, salted pretzel and a glass boot that is positively brimming with beer.

Best place for the Morning After

Village Coffee Shop

As advertised on their tees. The Village Coffee is 500 square feet of reality surrounded by Boulder. As one of Boulder’s oldest restaurants (44 years!), this statement couldn’t be truer.

Best place to take a date for a grand foodie experience


Monica studied in Prague and around Europe and you can taste her credentials in every bite. Tucked away out in an old house, the outside won’t tip you off about the European culinary experience inside. If you go to Praha on a first date, a second one is practically guaranteed

Best ad campaign that redefines an industry

Terrapin Station

As the industry grows, leaders will emerge. Terrapin Station is one of those leaders not just because they sell a lot of weed, but because they are smart about how they do it. Terrapin is so popular they introduced a call-ahead option to save you the hassle of waiting in line. They are helping take the industry to new levels by being bold and daring with their now famous lifestyle ads. Kudos to you, Terrapin, for being trendsetters.

Best show of perseverance by a local business owner who never gives up and succeeds in the end

Sun Rose Café

We admire Sun Rose because like us they started grassroots and have pretty much bootstrapped it the whole way. But as a customer you would never know this. The food is amazing, and the atmosphere in the beautifully remodeled downtown Longmont building is perfect. So head in and have a great meal knowing that the owners’ love that has made this place so special.

Best long time legend in Longmont

Your Butcher Frank

Beware Vegetarians this isn’t for you! Shopping at a meat market is truly a worthwhile experience. Guaranteed the highest quality meats to take your cooking to the next level. But what also makes Your Butcher Frank a legendary place in Longmont is their sandwiches. Lunch is usually busy but the sandwiches are worth the wait.

Best Addition to Downtown Longmont

Rosalee’s Pizzeria

These folks know pizza. The crust? Crisped to perfection. The sauce? You can taste the freshness. The toppings? Om nom nom. They make the sausage in house! And with the exposed brick, hardwood floors, and large wood tables, no wonder that Rosalee’s has quickly become the number one choice for locals. 

Population Most Desensitized to Burning Furniture

Boulder, Colorado

“Hey, have you seen that guy doing yoga on the Pearl Street Mall while balancing a burning chair on his head?” Yeah, that dude’s alright.

Best place to get stuck between a rock and a hard place

The Spot

Anyone who boulders, from the beginner to the most seasoned, will feel at home here. Frequenters of Tuesday’s Climbing Conditioning class can be spotted in the wild by their veiny forearms, sculpted backs, and cracked, calloused hands.

Best Running Trail in Boulder

Down Bear Canyon

You’ve just summited Bear Peak or Green Mountain in record time. You take a 30 second breather, rip your GU pack with your teeth, squeeze it into your mouth, and smile smugly, knowing that the best part of your run is still ahead of you. The trail down Bear Canyon is 4 moderately graded miles, mostly in the shade (and therefore rarely icy in the winter – and perfect for the summer), offering a gentle descent and beautiful views. Or at least, that’s what our fanatic endurance athlete friends tell us. We really wouldn’t know.

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