Best of the West 2022: Readers Choice - Yellow Scene Magazine

2022-03-26 06:25:44 By : Mr. Mr Che

Contributors: Shavonne Blades, Laurenz Busch, Deborah Cameron, Robert Davis, Brian Heuberger, Kristi Hill, Ashley Kay Mauer, Mollie McCoy, & Thomas Rutherford

When we say Readers’ Choice, we mean readers choose. No prompts. No drop-down menus to vote from. Just a wide open ballot for you to have told us what you love. Yellow Scene Magazine is the only local publication that keeps the Readers’ Choice ballot up to the readers with the area’s only write-in answers. After weeks of voting, we have the results, presented in 9 main categories and 111 sub-categories.

1st – Piripi: Piripi is a relative newcomer to the BOCO scene. They bring worldly experience that we are lucky to have. From Argentina to Germany then off to Spain, Chef Hugo’s international culinary skills are worth making Erie your destination.

2nd – 24 Carrot: One of the first to bring farm-to-table dining to East County, Chef Kidd’s artisan creations are as fresh today as when they first arrived. Their contributions changed Erie from a one-horse town to the fine dining destination it is today.

1st – Black Cat: You know it. We know it. For the last 15+ years, Black Cat has set a new standard for farm-to-table food provision. As much as the community loves the restaurant’s menu, it loves the bar and farm stand. Although currently on temporary hiatus, they’re working to change that… and we’re hoping that change comes around just in time for this summer.

2nd – Blackbelly: What do carefully sourced, whole-animal butchered meats look like on a menu? Care to try a 7x Wagyu French dip for lunch? How about going for crispy pig ears for an appetizer or maybe a butcher’s cassoulet on Fridays? These are foods you never expected to be eating, and is exactly why you keep coming back for more.

1st – 24 Carrot: There is a reason the rest of Boulder County keeps reviewing 24 Carrot as “worth the trip.” The seasonal menu is guided more by what is farm-fresh available, allowing for each visit to be different from the last.

2nd – Sugarbeet: An old-town restaurant that’s known for quality far beyond the area, this gem on lower Main Street draws diners from throughout Northern Colorado. Largely because they have mastered how to show off the flavors of seasonal ingredients in unique ways. We order the duck breast when we’re in the mood for something rich or if we’re skipping meat, the butternut squash risotto is our go-to.

1st – Oak at Fourteenth: Community members come to Oak expecting a beautiful meal from their meat-forward menu and they’re not disappointed. The treat we’ve heard the most about is the 24 oz. porcini rib eye, known for the robust beef flavors complimented by the earthiness of the mushrooms. Many diners have also sunk their forks into the coffee-rubbed venison where the juices of the meat blend with the crust for the ultimate savory experience.

2nd – River & Woods: Chef Daniel Asher has revitalized the former John’s restaurant to something simpler, fresher, and so local that they call it “community sourced, Colorado comfort food.” The old exterior hides a richly streamlined interior and a back patio that’s perfect to linger in during longer summer evenings.

1st – Eat at Birdhouse: East County ramen and taco lovers hit up this spot! And while they’re there, most likely to order a rum-laden tiki-themed cocktail, available any time of the year. There’s a place here for fried chicken lovers too with a Colorado Half Chicken, served with a sesame ginger glaze either on its own or dropped right into your ramen.

2nd – Piripi: Having stolen the crown for Best Overall East County, Piripi took a few categories including 2nd place for Best Newcomer.

1st – Gemini: If you’ve been craving a new place to try out small plates and fresh Mediterranean-prepared seafood, this is your spot. With Brian Pierce heading up the kitchen, our favorite was the roasted squash. Others love the albondigas and patatas bravas.

2nd – Rae and Kay’s Melting Pot: This is Boulder’s soul food mecca, run with heart by a family that is sure to make you feel like you’re home when you go there. The Puerto Rican Pastelillos is our pick off the menu, yet the fried chicken is also good if you’re looking for something heartier.

1st – Tacos Aya Yay: The only thing better than tacos are tacos priced like street tacos so you can stuff yourself on even more for less, especially if you go during happy hour. Tucked away behind a gas station in a small shopping mall, only recently has Google been able to find it, so you know it’s a hidden gem to give a try before it gets even bigger and busier.

2nd – Rusty Melon: Having just celebrated their fourth birthday, The Rusty Melon was quick to become a Best of the West winner, winning us over with their seasonal cocktails and Tuesday taco specials. There’s nothing quite like sipping a sweet summer cocktail in the sunshine, and you can do just that on their patio.

1st – Village Coffee Shop: Village Coffee Shop could have won multiple categories. This classic diner has lost none of its charm since opening in 1971 and their house phone is still a payphone on the wall. Through the passions of waitress-turned-owner Shanna Henkel, they have maintained the love of the community a diner like this is known for.

2nd – Rincon Argentino: Empanada lovers head here for quick, fast, and authentic Argentinian hand pies. Made authentically by a Buenos Aires native.

1st – Illegal Pete’s: Again and again, Illegal Pete’s makes the list year after year. It’s no wonder. They rock and this year the best Colorado-based chain. With several locations for us to benefit from, watch the game, meet up with friends, and enjoy great drinks, delicious burritos (I get mine smothered), and many other classic dishes.

2nd – Snarf’s: We remember when Snarf’s was opened on the east end of Pearl and Jimmy was in this funky little place serving up these amazing sandwiches. We always thought he was a little crazy, but crazy like a fox. Over 20 locations, Jimmy opened them all, and you can now find Snarfs in St. Louis and Austin.

1st – Moxie Bread: There are a few BOCO institutions that steal all the votes no matter what anyone else does. Moxie Bread could have won Best of Colorado for all the votes they got. We get why. It’s a favorite of ours, too. Grains are regionally sourced and milled fresh on-site to craft rustic breads, pastries, and other baked goods. It’s not just all their bread that makes Moxie special. It’s all the good they do for the community as well.

2nd – Babettes: Our bread habit is bad. Really bad. And this Prospect New Town bakery is responsible. When we go, we have a hard time choosing. Should we go with the baguette or the French country loaf? And just when we think we’ve decided, we notice sandwich bread on a rack that would be ideal for French toast the next day. Ah… decisions, decisions.

1st – Great Harvest: For a long time, we always thought the biggest draw to Great Harvest was their free samples on the counter. With the pandemic, the samples went away but the customers keep coming back and enjoying gigantic loaves of goodness! When we have a sweet tooth, nothing satisfies like their enormous cinnamon loaf.

2nd – Dry Storage: This gem is tucked into the Peloton on Arapahoe and has bakers as obsessive as anywhere we’ve ever been about flour. It shows in their perfect crust and chewy interiors of all their loaves.

1st – Button Rock: We used to try and stock up on our Button Rock for the week but learned making two trips a week is truly the most appropriate way to enjoy their endless cases of divine. We dare you to try just once a week.

2nd – Babettes: As if their bread isn’t enough to keep coming back, their pastries are also a draw. Chewy, jammy, chocolaty, flaky, and inventive. A treat for your weekend morning.

1st – Kim and Jake’s Cakes: A destination for gluten-free diners with a sweet tooth, Kim and Jake’s has nearly 20 variations of cake on their menu. They’re known for special occasion cakes and incredible service. How good IS their service? One bride and groom who ordered their wedding cake received their cake tastings delivered because they couldn’t come in person thanks to COVID.

2nd – Boulder Baked: Boulder Baked hasn’t skipped a beat since they moved into their new spot, just off Arapahoe Avenue in the old Heifer and the Hen space. Locals crave the red velvet cake and appreciate their range of vegan baked goods.

1st – Moe’s Bagels: What hasn’t been said about this local, family-owned bagel shop that hasn’t been already said for all the 20+ years they have won? Through popular demand, Moe’s continues to be loved by our community since 1992, while expanding throughout Boulder County so now we can enjoy them from anywhere.

2nd – Big Daddy: 4 locations, 17 flavors of cream cheese, and 18 types of bagels, these East Coast-style bagels will remind any East Coaster of back home.

1st – Moe’s Bagels: The Sherman family opened Moe’s Bagels way back in 1992 on Broadway in Boulder (The original location is still there!) This family continues to make BOCO’s most beloved, fresh-baked bagels and we’re pretty sure there is a year they have not won? That’s how good they are.

2nd – Rosenberg’s: For a long time, one of the toughest food searches in the area was trying to find a New York-style bagel with the right level of authentic, New York chewiness. Rosenberg’s helped solve that issue and has been beloved by Boulder’s bagel fans ever since.

1st – Georgia Boys: It’s hard to believe that this local favorite with two full restaurants and a third on the way started as a walk up on a side block in Longmont. But once you taste the quality of its smoked meats (do NOT miss the burnt ends), you’ll know how it took the top spot on our list.

2nd – Lulu’s: When you’re in Louisville and you want Southern barbeque you head to Lulu’s. Lulu’s fans know to get there early – some favorites like brisket or burnt ends are so popular they run out. But if you can get either of them, the combination of smoke and meat are memorable.

1st (TIE) – West End Tavern: West End Tavern is a cozy, comfortable classic place to tuck into, just off of Pearl Street. Once you open a menu, locals know not to skip anything that comes out of their smoker. Wash it down with a choice of any of their 20 plus craft beers, mules, or hard-to-find premium whiskeys and bourbons.

1st (TIE) – KT’s BBQ: KT’s is Boulder’s choice for fast, delicious Memphis-style barbeque that makes you want to lick your fingers after each bone. Their June Bowl is a favorite that keeps locals filling the seats. It’s everything you like about barbeque – sides, sauce and a choice of meats (including brisket) – layered up in a bowl.

2nd – Moe’s Original BBQ: When locals are hungry for something smoked and realize they’re passing a Moe’s BBQ, they’re likely to pull over, park the car, and head inside. There they have their pick of Southern, smoked, fried, and sandwiched specialties like pulled pork and catfish. Pick any of their sides and don’t forget a serving of their moist, sticky, crave-able cornbread.

1st – Tangerine: It doesn’t matter if it’s Boulder, Longmont, or Lafayette. We have breakfast at Tangerine at least once a week. Chef Alec’s creations are divine and at each location, the Head Chef makes their own house specials. What they are really known for are their varieties of Benedicts, mimosas, pancakes, huevos, and really anything breakfast.

2nd – Morning Glory: You might never have enjoyed Morning Glory unless you knew it was there. Known for serving fresh, healthy, organic cuisine for Boulder County since 2010, Chef Jules Lieb is classified as a Top Chef of BOCO. This top female chef has been featured in YS almost as much as Morning Glory has won.

1st (TIE) – Lucile’s Creole Cafe: First opened in Boulder in 1980, Lucile’s has grown to 6 locations and remains owned by the same family. We’ve been eating at Lucile’s since 1990 and have always had a perfect meal. “ Cajun Breakfast” or “Eggs New Orleans” satisfy. Just remember to always enjoy one of their melt-in-your-mouth beignets.

1st (TIE) – Tangerine: Tangerine wins best breakfast in Boulder, Lafayette, and Longmont. They win year after year. For the same reasons described in Best Breakfast EC, they continue to be BOCO’s reigning breakfast champion every year.

2nd – Village Coffee Shop: If you go on a Saturday or Sunday morning, there is always a line waiting to get in. Famous for their Village Virgins shoutout (first-time customer), they are most known for the warm, hospitable service that makes you feel at home.

1st – Santiago’s: Every time we’ve compiled this list for the last 21 years, Santiago’s has won. For lots of people, it’s the green chile that makes it shine. For others, it’s the fact their burritos can be smaller, so if you don’t want to commit to a super-sized burrito, you don’t have to. But you can, and many do, popping multiple burritos in a single sitting.

2nd – Taco Wagon: There are times when the line behind the Taco Wagon in Lafayette gets long. Often, that’s in the morning when locals are getting their breakfast burritos. Which reminds us, we’ve gotta stop writing about it and get in line, it’s starting to get long… again.

1st – Blackbelly: Blackbelly’s focus on well-selected and butchered meats shines in its breakfast burrito, but that’s not all there is to love about it. Hatch green chili and tater tots goes along with whatever the selection of the day is. And if you’re not up for meat, the meatless version is just as delicious.

2nd – Santo: Hosea Rosenberg’s other Boulder restaurant Santo is readers’ next choice for breakfast burrito. Using more veggies and breakfast potatoes instead of tater tots, it’s different yet just as delicious. We’re honestly surprised this category wasn’t a tie.

1st – 24 Carrot: Plenty of people from Erie head to 24 Carrot Bistro for brunch for items like fried chicken Benedict, braised pork omelet, chocolate coconut french toast, and beef brisket hash. If that’s not enough, there’s the cocktail menu with drinks inspired by brunch items like chai and marmalade.

2nd – Huckleberry: Known to focus on fresh foods that are followed through from their own East County farm. Whenever we go, we like to start with the cinnamon pecan coffee cake and see where our taste buds take us.

1st – Greenbriar: Brunch at The Greenbriar Inn is decadent and why it earned top spot from our readers for Brunch in Boulder. Items you’d expect like Benedicts and omelets are served next to oysters and salads. If there ever was a place for a special occasion brunch, this is it.

2nd – Tangerine: If the category is about eggs, pancakes, or mimosas, Tangerine is winning it. Every year, every time.

1st – Longs Peak Pub: The kids might not be able to drink, but they’re still going to love going to this pub where they can play cornhole and run around outside. When you’re not wrangling the kiddos, you can enjoy one of their seven wines or World Famous Mountain Sun margaritas on tap.

2nd – Blake’s Taphouse: If you’re still avoiding going out due to the pandemic, maybe this is the place where you finally take the leap. They have installed Global Plasma Solutions filtration purifying system in their central air units to prevent airborne contaminants like COVID. This is similar technology to what is used in hospitals so you can feel at ease perusing their craft beer menu.

1st – The Sink: The Sink is a well-known, longtime Boulder establishment. In fact, it is so old that most people don’t even remember it used to be called Summer’s Sunken Gardens and from that name derived the nickname “The Sink” that it formally adopted in 1940. They are proof that something being old doesn’t mean it needs to be replaced because they are still making Boulder’s best burger today.

2nd – Dark Horse: This iconic Boulder restaurant has been around since 1975 to both fill you with burgers, wings, and drinks and to confuse you if you need to go to the bathroom. When one door says “Women” and points to the other which says “Men” and points to the first, be sure to follow the signs to end up in the right place, or just laugh it off if you don’t.

Ting’s: In downtown Lafayette since 1988, Ting’s Place is a beloved lunch spot. Since they’ve been open for so long with the same recipes and flavors, parents who came as children can now take their own children to fall in love with Ting’s, both the memories and the food.

1st – China Gourmet: For over 30 years, China Gourmet has had impeccable customer service. Once, a customer’s egg rolls were forgotten and they not only delivered the rolls to them, they brought extra to make it right. They used to be a cash only establishment, but they now accept cards to make them even more customer-friendly.

2nd – Zoe Mama: Zoe Ma Ma fills up quickly for two reasons: their small storefront with limited seating (although there are also some tables outside) and the large number of people wanting to dine there. So bring your chopstick skills, or get ready to practice them, and get there early, or roam Pearl Street while you wait, because the food is worth it.

1st – East Simpson Coffee: East Simpson Coffee unexpectedly moved their location up the street this year and its new place is more comfortable and spacious. Being better positioned than its previous one, it fills its role as a community gathering spot more easily. We go for the community, as much as we do for what’s behind the glass in its pastry case.

2nd – Fox•Dog: Old town Erie’s anchor coffee shop is full on mornings, packed on weekends, and has lines out the door during community events. It’s a spot where the coffee is good, but the welcome they give is even better. As they serve coffees, soft scones, and quiches with a variety of flavors, they make sure guests become like a close circle of friends.

1st – Ozo: Ozo’s roast beans are delicious, and thanks to knowledgeable and friendly baristas, one of the best places to enjoy it is their coffee shop or lab shop on Flatiron Court. If you haven’t been and you’re driving by one of their multiple area locations make sure to stop. We like the Ethiopian blend because it’s fresh but not too dark or bitter. We’re also considering a coffee subscription so we can try more over time.

2nd – Boxcar: Known for their dedication to create the perfect cup of coffee for customers. Juice, pastries, and knowledgeable baristas. A sunny, friendly co-working space. Yup. That’s what earned Boxcar a spot on our list.

1st – Button Rock: While they have just opened Kenny Lou’s Deli, an authentic Jewish deli, they will always be known for the way they make eggs, flour, and sugar come together. Even their gluten-free treats taste yummy! With their cake bombs, tiramisu, lemon drops, macaroons, and cookies… our eyes are always too big for our tummy.

2nd – Babettes: There’s a reason Babettes made this list for East County. They’ve got cruffins (an airy combination of a croissant and muffin that’s rich and fun), family-sized tiramisu, lemon mousse, and hazelnut praline panettone. Any one of these desserts are a welcomed splurge, though my first choice is the lemon mousse because it’s lighter and just a little creamy but doesn’t weigh me down.

1st – Lucky’s Bakehouse & Creamery: Co-founder and Executive Pastry Chef Jennifer Mesinger has shown the dedication that earned Lucky’s top spot for Boulder desserts on our list. From sugary treats to sugar-free paleo options, she ensures that everything is small batch and tastes great especially their gluten-free black onyx cake, which satisfied our inner chocoholic.

2nd – Nothing Bundt Cakes: Not only are the cakes moist and delightful, the new ownership is getting rave reviews for service as well. Amy and her team are pleasing parties everywhere with individual-sized bundt cakes and special order cakes for any occasion. Pay a visit and indulge in the cream cheese icing or the red velvet, both fan favorites.

1st – Martino’s Pizza: Renowned for their Chicago Thin Crust, Martino’s gluten-free crust is well on its way to making a name for itself – it’s even dairy, nut, soy, and casein-free. Come one, come all (especially those with dietary restrictions)! The pizza is fresh, hot, and waiting to be consumed.

2nd – Cavegirl Coffee: Run by Lori (self-referred to as ‘The Cavegirl’), Cavegirl Coffee is serving up wonderful organic food and fresh drinks without the sugar and hard-to-pronounce ingredients. From smoothies to coffee classics and tasty favorites like Avocado Toast, Paleo Bowls, and Smoked Salmon Melts, Cavegirl Coffee has plentiful options.

1st – Quiero Arepas: Serving up fresh, authentic Venezuelan dishes, the staff at Quiero Arepas consistently say mi amore! Gluten-free is the name of the game and 100% all-natural ingredients are a promise. Keep an eye out for the seasonal menus and be sure to order a Pabellon Arepa – the National Dish of Venezuela!

2nd – Fresh Thymes: Inspired by her own health journey, Chef Ruch created Fresh Thymes to be a fast, healthy alternative to quick meals. Her dishes come from a commitment to local, organic produce and grass-fed pasture-raised meats. Worried about allergies? Not on her watch. They maintain a 100% gluten and peanut-free facility! Known to use organic soy, corn, and dairy sparingly with zero cane sugar or artificial sweeteners, everything tastes as good as it is for our bodies.

1st – Efrain’s Lafayette: I can’t stop thinking about the green chile and that tasty margarita with a splash of brandy. If you’ve been, you probably know what I’m talking about. Lo and behold, Efrain’s is the best green chile in East County.

2nd – Santiago’s: Not just another green chile favorite, Santiago’s is a Colorado favorite. Known for their burritos that come mild, hot, or ½ and ½, get their green chile on a burrito, as a plate combo or in a bowl. Whether you’re going for breakfast or dinner, Santiago’s has a multitude of options.

Efrain’s Boulder: One of the reasons Efrain’s wins Best Green Chile is their recipes are the ones this family-owned restaurant got from their elders, and theirs before them.

1st – Morning Glory Café: Fresh, organic, and vegetarian-friendly, this place features bright, healthy breakfast options, local artists selling their wares, and basically just a general attitude of positivity. You might notice the sun shining just a bit brighter once you’re done.

2nd – Cavegirl Coffee: As soon as you walk through the bright green entrance, you know that you are in for a delicious, brewed treat. Lori, a.k.a. The Cavegirl, created the coffee house to give the community an alternative to the standard syrupy coffees offered elsewhere. All drinks are organic, gluten-free, and clean. Enjoy the house-made paleo granola along with a Nitro Cold Brew when you visit.

1st – Leaf: Exclusively vegan and vegetarian, even those more carnivorously inclined should give this place a shot. Their menu is inspired by a wide variety of cuisines and should appeal to any culinary enthusiast.

2nd – Scratch Kitchen: Scratch Kitchen is unique as it only offers either delivery or pickup, no dining in here. This shouldn’t hold you back as they take care to ethically source all their ingredients and offer tons of options for salads, sandwiches, and comfort foods like fried chicken.

LANDSLIDE – Marco’s: We want them to stop winning because every time they do the line gets longer at this hot dog and taco stand. Once a best-kept secret, they serve bacon-wrapped hot dogs covered in beans and fresh toppings! Thankfully while the line is often long, service is fast.

1st – Mustard’s Last Stand: A returning BOW champion for Best Hot Dog in Boulder. Nothing is better than a Chicago-style dog, and nothing is worse than when it’s done poorly (Ketchup? Really?). The faithfulness to Chicago-style with Vienna bun, along with delicious taste of the actual dog, makes Mustard’s Last Stand the best place to scarf down some Chi-Town hot dogs while praising Coach Ditka.

2nd – Freddie’s Hot Dogs: Do NOT stroll down Pearl St. without stopping at Freddie’s Hot Dogs. Located with a cart on the mall, it’s been a staple since 1980. One review perfectly summed it: “Best hot dogs and customer service in Boulder. Vienna all-beef hot dogs, veggie dogs, elk, buffalo, and pork brats! Also new exotics like reindeer and rabbit and rattlesnake. Even open late night on the weekends to fill your 4th meal needs.”

1st – Taj Mahal 3: Curries, tandoori, masalas, vindaloos, biryanis, the list goes on and on. You voted, we heard. Taj Mahal 3 is voted the Best Indian Food in East County. Bring the fam, go for a date, or take a solo adventure through a smorgasbord of spices.

2nd – Flavor of India: Flavor of India is located in the wonderful setting of downtown Longmont. A lovely setting for an exquisite evening amongst a wide variety of delicious foods. Start your evening with appetizers such as Samosa Chaat, Aloo Tikki, or Paneer Pakora, then dive into your main course and finish off with delicious Gulab Jamon or Mango Custard.

1st – Tandoori Grill: First place in Boulder and another fabulous county-based Indian restaurant. So many entrees to choose! From meat specialties such as chicken vindaloo to the vegetarian options of Dal Makani and Kofta Masala. Don’t forget the beautiful naans to keep your dishes company.

2nd – The Taj: Unique dishes such as Coconut Curry, Shrimp Korma, and Chicken Saag. The Taj has been a staple of Boulder for many years. Its collection of dishes provide an excellent choice for anyone looking to satisfy their cravings for delicious Indian food.

1st – Via Toscana: Opened in 1998, this fine dining Italian restaurant actually started as a sandwich shop. According to locals, this family-owned restaurant is in fact a well-kept secret with glowing reviews about their 600+ types of wines and delicious vegan options.

2nd – Mici: Founded by the Miceli family, this Denver-based restaurant serves recipes handed down for generations from the Old World. They’ve grown to 7 locations with their most recent in Lafayette. They pride themselves on giving everyone a warm welcome as they walk in and thanking them as they leave.

1st – Carelli’s: Publications and locals have been raving about Carelli’s for years. Having repeatedly won Best Italian in Boulder year after year, it’s hard to believe their story started in a small Italian sub sandwich shop in 1991. Carelli’s commitment to extraordinary flavor is why it has grown into one of Boulder’s swankiest restaurants today.

2nd – Gondolier: The marinara sauce is so good, we bring it home in bulk. Everything is homemade and the same recipes this longtime BOCO legend has used since they first opened 62 years ago. Every time we dine there, we are deliciously reminded why Gondolier has made it through the generations as a local favorite.

1st – Piripi: When our publisher wants to feel extra special, she hops in the car, heads to downtown Erie and treats herself to lunch at Piripi. While we reserve for dinner often, we love being pampered at lunch, too.

2nd – Collision Brewing Co.: 32 oz. cocktails. A beer wheel (any 6 beers, 5 oz.). Wine. A beautiful menu of wonderful appetizers, salads, and main dishes such as root vegetable hash and steak frites. Their large selection of beers include the paddy wagon Irish stout, a lemongrass sour, and even an IPA called antifreeze!

1st – Avanti F&B: Collective eateries are springing up throughout the Front Range and with the arrival of Avanti F&B in Boulder, we now have one with 7 unique restaurants under one roof. Perfect for any event (or date) as they will satisfy even the pickiest eaters. With rooftop seating and so many menu options, you’ll have to keep coming back to try it all.

2nd – The Sink: For those who don’t know all of the eclectic stories, The Sink opened in 1923 and once had Robert Redford working there as a janitor. Anthony Bourdain, Guy Fieri, and President Obama have visited. There was a brief period in the 1970’s when artwork was boarded over the twisted talents of beatnik artists, Mike Dormier and Llloyd Kavic (yes, he spelled it with three L’s). The artwork here is nearly as famous as their burgers, which have won awards far and wide.

1st – Efrain’s Lafayette: Before expanding to Boulder, Efrain’s opened up shop in Lafayette and they’re still there whipping up the best Mexican food around. The only downside to stopping here is the tiny parking lot that is constantly packed full of other hungry patrons, but a short walk can help you work up an appetite for all the green chile-smothered burritos you can manage.

2nd – Teocalli Cocina: Happy hours and dinners at Teocalli in Lafayette are typically packed. We love all their street tacos, but our pick for standout item is their macha with peanuts, chiles, and dates which reminds us of a mole – but in a salsa. There is nothing else like it anywhere.

1st – Efrain’s Boulder: We already talked about the green chile and now let’s talk about why they win Best Mexican for yeaaaars. Tucked away in an industrial zone at 75th & Arapahoe, you would never know the goodness this family has served since 1998. Locals do, and why there’s always a line during peak hours.

2nd – Santo: Chef Hosea Rosenberg brought beloved flavors from his New Mexican home to Boulder and diners here love him for it. It is never more apparent than at Santo where you can try his pozole, queso, tacos, and enchiladas. Remember to pair them with just the right cocktail.

1st – Pumphouse: This legend resides in a building that was constructed in the 1900’s. When Dennis Coombs and his partners decided to open a brewery in 1996, downtown Longmont wasn’t exactly known for action. Soon, the Pumphouse led the way with crafted beer, exceptional food, and now its Red Zone, Longmont’s premier sports bar.

2nd – Eat at Birdhouse: Tequila and tacos are everywhere, so Birdhouse decided to serve rum, tacos and ramen? Now their ramen is famous and so is their patio! This odd combination of tacos, ramen, cocktails and front porch patio make a trip to Erie well worth it.

1st – Chautauqua Dining Hall: Be sure to celebrate Black History Month by dining at a restaurant where the first manager was Oliver T. Jackson, a Black business and entrepreneur. Inspired by Booker T. Washington, Jackson also established Dearfield, CO, an agricultural settlement for Black Americans. Roam the dining hall built in 1898 and enjoy the unique Victorian style from over 100 years ago.

2nd – St. Julien: In conjunction with the hotel and spa, Jill’s Restaurant at St. Julien’s is a great place for hosting events. They have a 360-degree virtual reality camera where you can step into their website to fully embrace the space as your own. To keep their ecological footprint low, all their events have a Green Committee to care for the environment without compromising quality.

1st – Rosalee’s: When Rosalee’s opened on Main St. in Longmont in 2014, we immediately fell in love. Not saying who, but one of our staff is super picky about pizza and won’t touch a chain pie. With their made-in-house sausage, old-world style pies (similar but not the same as Chicago), you can conveniently order take-out. Rosalee’s is about the experience from start to finish. Enjoy their beer and wine selection, and if you order take-out, do it before 4 pm. Anytime after and they’re too busy to answer the phone.

2nd – Rosati’s: Since 1964, the Rosati family has kept their Chicago-style pizza alive. Known for their deep dish crusts, filled with sauce and ample toppings, they also serve sandwiches, salads, wings, and calzones. Be sure to check out their lunch special, a large slice of pie and a drink for $6!

1st – Cosmo’s: We first discovered Cosmo’s on the Hill years ago, but that building is now being torn down to make way for a new hotel. Luckily for us, they have opened 6 other locations throughout Boulder County, Denver, and now Fort Collins.

2nd – Audrey Jane’s: This family-owned outpost is run by a brother and sister team, Audrey and Peter. The pair ensures the highest quality organic ingredients are used to create their pizza masterpieces. Their specialty is New York-style pizza with a focus on fresh and funky. In the mood for unique? Give the Hot Honey Disco Pie a try.

1st – Snarf’s: Sandwich is by far the category that gets THE most votes. While so many deserving local sandwich makers rank high in voting, none can compete with the snarfiest of sandwiches. Every year, they take the championship, leaving everyone in their snarfy dust.

2nd – Organic Sandwich Company: The quality and uniqueness of the Organic Sandwich Company leads them as runner-up for Best Sandwich in Boulder and EC. Customers stop by frequently to enjoy the healthy quality, local products used for ingredients, and happy atmosphere in this family-owned restaurant. Having sandwiches grilled is a popular way to add a crispy crunch to the delicious flavors.

1st – Snarf’s: As the story goes, Snarf’s was born out of one man’s quest for the perfect sandwich. Unable to find one that satisfied him, he set out to make it himself. In 1996 “Jimmy” opened “The Shack” on east Pearl St. Funky on the outside, yet the sandwiches inside are all made-to-order, using the finest ingredients and oven-roasted to perfection.

2nd – Organic Sandwich Company: Why organic? Everything seems to be switching to advertising their use of organic ingredients, but why does it matter? Everything used to be organic. The current option is plagued with toxic pesticides and fertilizers. We can fight this trend by choosing to buy organic and make a return to real, wholesome food.

1st – Tortugas: Pete’s Heat Sauce isn’t the only thing spicy about this wonderful locale tucked away in an old house. Tortugas was here before the rest of us, opening way back in 1996 as Longmont’s first and finest dine-in restaurant. Specializing in Caribbean cuisine, along with Pete’s Hot Sauce, they are also known for their Jamaican Jerk Chicken, West Indian Curry, and Shrimp Callaloo. One taste and you will know why they win year after year.

2nd – Reel Fish: With an exciting, new restaurant concept – fast AND casual – the owners of Reel Fish have made it their mission to serve fresh seafood at fast food restaurant speed. Sensitive to gluten? Not a problem. Reel Fish serves only a proprietary blend of gluten-free batter for their traditional fish and chips. Their family-size meals are a great option for feeding a crowd.

1st – Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar: While it may be a bit pricey for some, there’s no denying Jax has some of the best seafood around. Fresh oysters, an extensive appetizer list, and interesting cocktails make this place a Boulder staple for those who enjoy the flavors of the sea.

2nd – Spruce Farm & Fish: Located inside the historic Hotel Boulderado, Spruce Farm & Fish offers a relatively affordable fine dining experience. Not just a seafood place, Spruce also offers everything from brunch options to fine steaks. Plus, there’s a lot of history in that hotel so maybe you’ll see a ghost or something.

1st – 740 Front: The owners of 740 Front have worked tirelessly to keep the saloon as authentic as its original 1904 design. The last saloon of the original thirteen at its location, 740 Front offers a hearty menu of comfort food, seafood, and steaks. Spoil yourself with the bison filet for a special treat.

2nd – Piripi: When we said Piripi’s world-class chef took BOCO by storm we weren’t kidding. Chef Hugo ruled the ballot box as much as he does the kitchen. He serves two steaks; the Blue Cheese Crusted Filet Mignon and the Churrasco Style NY Strip, always perfectly prepared. Who needs more when the two you have are perfect?

1st – The Boulder Cork: The Boulder Cork is the quintessential perfect restaurant every single time. It’s no wonder they serve the quintessential perfect steak. Having been providing locals with the perfect dining experience since 1969, they’ve proven they’re committed and get better with age.

2nd – Blackbelly: The best steaks come from trained and dedicated butchers who are careful about their sources. You won’t find better than Blackbelly. It’s not just made well, it’s well presented with sides and a house-made chimichurri.

1st – Sakura: YS and Sakura started out the same year and we are delighted to be celebrating together again this year. From our first dining experience in 2001 to today, this is one of BOCO’s most treasured hidden gems. Master Chef Kho’s creations are as exquisite to look at as they are to eat.

2nd – Kenny Lou’s (Button Rock Bakery): How the heck does a bakery with a Jewish deli win votes for Best Sushi? (That sounds like a joke is in there somewhere but this is no joke at all!) Easy, their sushi chefs are some of BOCO’s top chefs. When up north, visit Sakura, and when in Lafayette, there is no better sushi than this deli/sushi bar.

1st – Japango: Japango’s a favorite for CU students because of its awesome happy hour and Pearl St. location. Featuring a large menu and known for its beautiful presentation, it’s a great place to chill after class or work or whatever it is you do.

2nd – Sushi Zanmai: One of the more traditional sushi spots found in the area, Sushi Zanmai is known for its incredibly friendly yet professional chefs that delight in chatting with you while they prepare your food.

1st – Teocalli Cocina: This place is a vibe. While the award-winning carne asada and cocktails are reason enough to visit on their own, Teocalli Cocina is high-energy, affordable, and has tons of variety. It’s a great spot to bring some friends, have some drinks, some tacos, and some good times.

2nd – Jefes Tacos & Tequila: I mean, it’s right there in the name. Jefes Tacos & Tequila ain’t messing around. They know what they do best. Their menu features a vast selection of tacos, margaritas, and cocktails. They are also committed to locally sourced ingredients and sustainability, so don’t feel bad about ordering more.

1st – bartaco: While the menu here is a bit limited, bartaco knows the value of quality over quantity. The place itself is quite large, with a cool wraparound bar in the center, and though the menu might be small, it is mighty as bartaco’s high end, street-style tacos are some of the most unique you’ll find around.

2nd – T/aco: Another CU student go-to due to its location and pricing, this is a great place to get a few drinks and eat some truly unbelievable tacos before the rest of the night gets going. Try to get there a little early because this place has been known to pop off.

LANDSLIDE – Busaba: We have family that’s lived in Thailand for several decades and even visited a few times. These melt-in-your-mouth family recipes easily win Best Thai in all of CO. Their take-out needs to be ordered by 4pm on the weekends and they just opened a Boulder satellite location with take-out and online ordering only.

1st – Aloy Thai: Not only does Aloy Thai provide some of the most authentic and delicious Thai food in the area, but their staff treats everyone like family. Their drunken noodles have locals raving over and over again.

2nd – Khow Thai: Many advantages enabled Khow Thai to be voted as BOW runner-up for best Thai restaurant in Boulder. Located by campus, service is excellent, and the meals are delicious. While some people stop by for a quick lunch between classes or shifts, others enjoy going at night to have a nice dinner. The meals are all mouth-watering, but the drunken noodles are a fan favorite.

1st – Pho Café Lafayette: You gotta love a little variety and Pho Cafe has it in spades. It features a massive menu replete with spicy Thai curries, noodle dishes, rice platters, meat platters, and of course, pho. Come hungry, ‘cause the portions are huge.

2nd – Saigon Express: There’s no need to fly around the world to have delicious Vietnamese pho and noodle bowls. Saigon Express serves piping hot authentic dishes for lunch and dinner. Known for their combination appetizers and array of curry dishes, takeout is a popular option

LANDSLIDE – Chez Thuy: Though its service may have a reputation for being a bit abrasive, there’s no denying Chez Thuy’s commitment to serving authentic, tasty, high end Vietnamese food. Maybe check out the menu beforehand so you show up ready to order.

1st – Hugo Meyer (Piripi): Born in Argentina, Chef Hugo has brought his award-winning culinary expertise to locales such as Germany, Spain, and throughout Europe. Lucky for us he landed in Erie, Colorado.

2nd – James Cordova (Sugarbeet): Sugarbeet isn’t a new kid on the block for Longmont diners. Cordova has ensured it passes the test of time winning Best of the West multiple times. From starters like polenta bites to pasta and steaks, familiar food is special. The fact that it uses fresh, seasonal ingredients like butternut squash and fresh peppery greens is what keeps us coming back to see what’s new.

1st – Hosea Rosenberg (Blackbelly & Santo): People come from everywhere just to eat what Chef Hosea Rosenberg serves. Years into his career, the native New Mexican, who rose to fame on Top Chef, keeps delighting diners. From his traditional food at Santo to his carefully sourced, well-made nose to tail meat cuts at Blackbelly, his place on this list was well earned.

2nd – Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (Frasca): There are a handful of area restaurants that diners head to when they want a splurge. Frasca is one of them. It’s known nationally thanks to Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson who brought a little of Italy to Boulder since 2004.

1st – William Oliver’s: As a member of RAR, Responsible Association Retailers, William Oliver’s is known to consider not just the quality of their whiskey, but also their impact to the world. Their website features Whiskey 101, a blog about liquor facts, so you can impress others with your knowledge.

2nd – West Side Tavern: Pumpkin spice lovers unite! The only tavern where you can find pumpkin spice martinis all year round. Enjoy other equally exciting flavors of chocolate, cucumber, or lemon. Don’t forget to check out their provisions menu, which includes a delicious meat and cheese board, to enjoy each cocktail to the fullest.

1st – Pearl Street Pub: In Boulder there are not a lot of places for someone over 25 to hang out, yet Pearl St. Pub is one of those old-time oases. Good bar food, arcades, pool tables, and down home atmosphere describe it just fine. Throw in the right amount of grumpy old timers, and it’s a classic.

2nd – Sundown Saloon: Don’t let the name fool you. Everyone is welcome and it’s always Christmas! Filled with college students and known for the Christmas lights hung up year around, the “Sundowner” is known as Boulder’s oldest running dive bar.

1st – Left Hand Brewery: Who would have thought two guys with a home kit would brew their own beer and become a CO legend? Famous for their milk stout and quality beer, Left Hand is one of the area’s largest craft brewers. They avoid concentrate and add hand-juiced ginger. Known to host private events, live music, and yoga gatherings, they also create space for food trucks on weekdays and weekends.

2nd – Liquid Mechanics: Founded by three friends who were tired of their “regular” jobs. They must know what they’re doing as they’ve won 59 professional beer competitions since they opened in 2012. Be sure to visit them at 6:30pm on Wednesdays and you can test your trivia knowledge against other beer lovers in Lafayette. And if you’re losing, just buy them another drink.

1st – Avery: Home of the first prepackaged IPA in CO and thriving for over 25 years, Avery stays on course with their commitment to produce winning eccentric ales and lagers. Having moved into their dream location in 2015, they are also partners with over 30 non-profit organizations to provide resources for what they call a “quality community.”

2nd – Upslope: Upslope’s passion is obviously brewing beer, but a close second is fishing. Inspired to protect these passions, this brewery is involved with numerous programs to help conserve and protect the environment. Working with Trout Unlimited, they support packaging in 100% recyclable cans and using high efficiency Miura boilers.

1st – Dry Land: The first iteration of Dry Land Distillery that was dreamt up wasn’t a distillery at all but a brewery. The founders had to convert their recipes from brews to spirits with the assistance of friends at Still Cellars. They take pride in using ingredients and creating flavors from Colorado, prickly pear cactus, spruce, and a drought-resistant wheat.

2nd – Longtucky – Abbott & Wallace: Abbott & Wallace is the new name of Longtucky Spirits because the owners want to honor their families by putting their names on it. In addition to the bottles of liquor and open tasting room that most distilleries have, Abbott & Wallace has canned cocktails. Their latest flavor is La Chupacabra, Cobañero whiskey with apple, ginger, lime juices, and carbonation.

1st – Vapor: Whether you already love whiskey or want to try a few to see what you think, Vapor Distillery can help out with their whiskey distillery tour. You’ll get to learn about the ingredients and distillation process as well as try four of Vapor’s whiskeys. If you decide whiskey isn’t for you, you can take home a bottle of gin instead.

2nd – DV8 Spirits: Their slogan is Friends, Freaks, and Lusty Libations. As Boulder’s de facto queer bar, DV8 is as much fun as their 100% rice, 13x distilled, handcrafted, gluten-free, single batch vodka tastes. Along with divine spirits they offer events like Drag Queen Bingo, fire-breathing, and they have plans for the end-of-COVID cuddle fest-date TBD.

1st – Dugout: As their name implies, Dugout is a baseball-themed restaurant where you’re sure to hit a home run with any gourmet option you order. Founded by two friends, Jonathan Mares works in the hospitality department while Chef Fausto Felix creates in the kitchen back in 2017.

2nd – Lucille’s: Lucille’s is a family-friendly joint and they want to encourage your child with their Blue Ribbon Student Award. If you don’t have kids, there are deals for you too, just join their text or e-club. Their Easy Feasts are convenient for pickup when you want a taste of southern BBQ without actually eating out.

1st – The Buff: The Buff originally opened in 1995. When they moved to their new location in 2014 they worked hard to maintain a balance between paying homage to the old storefront and to the new building’s history. These days they feature products from other local businesses and offer 99 cent bloody marys, mimosas, and tequila sunrises.

2nd – Motherlode: The Motherlode Café and Tavern had an unusual start in the aftermath of a wildfire where they lost everything. During a fundraiser, they started making BBQ sauce and selling it, sparking warm reviews. As they expanded their product line their bloody mary mix became the best seller by far.

1st – The Roost: Started by four Californians who fell in love with Longmont, The Roost’s primary goal is to generate income for The Rooster Party, a nonprofit that assists people with adoption. 10 percent of proceeds go directly to this cause. They are also partnered with Colorado Kids Belong to help youth impacted by foster care.

2nd – The Post: Open since 2014, The Post has seven locations serving their all natural, gluten-free chicken. Most happy hour menus feature primarily discounted alcohol, but The Post’s menu, while having a few drinks, highlights chicken because that’s what they do best with whole chickens, half chickens, chicken tenders, chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, and chicken and waffles. They’ll have you dreaming of chicken.

1st – Frank’s Chophouse: Fine dining in a classic setting. Treat yourself to a New York Strip decadently enhanced with lobster tail and béarnaise sauce, or dive into their selection of seafood, salads, and other delicious entrees! Located off of Walnut and 8th St., you can’t miss Frank’s Chophouse with its bright red doors. Known to have two menus, one for their Tavern and the second for their Chophouse, your choices for what to enjoy will never end. Happy hour is daily from 3 to 6 pm.

2nd – Corner Bar: For those who work in Boulder, Corner Bar is a convenient stop for a quick lunch. If you’re alone and trying to spend less time staring at your phone, they have seating where you can people watch instead. Boulder is never short on interesting characters for you to invent scenarios for.

1st – Jefes: After successfully opening The Roost, another Best of the West winner, the Gafners took on another project. Like their other establishments, 10 percent of their profits are donated to local nonprofits. Recently they have taken steps to eliminate single-use plastics, so they have compostable options upon request to keep the Earth happy, and Jefes open, long into the future.

2nd – Tequila y Mezcal: Following the Marshall Fire at the start of the year, Tequila y Mezcal is still temporarily closed. They are sorely missed. However, as proven by reviews where patrons eagerly, and a bit impatiently, await their reopening. When some stores close, no one misses them, the fact this isn’t the case here just goes to show it deserves its Best of the West winner status.

1st – Efrain’s Boulder: Efrains doesn’t open until 11:00am, but they have people in the kitchen starting prep at 6:00am because they believe in making everything fresh the day of. Apparently this strategy works because they are a repeat winner of not only Best of the West, but also People’s Choice for the Best Mexican Food in Boulder.

2nd – Rio Grande: Pearl Street in Boulder is packed with restaurants, but Rio Grande still shines through with margaritas that hit the spot whether dining in or taking them to go. In addition to their classic marg, they offer flavors of mango, strawberry, and manberry to help them go down even more easily, if such a thing is possible.

1st – Jennifer (24 Carrot): Jennifer worked her way up in restaurants from Florida to New York to Colorado starting before she turned 21. More recently, she took some time off to raise her family. Now she has returned to the restaurant scene and found a home bartending at 24 Carrot Bistro where she draws inspiration from all the people she has ever worked with.

2nd – Hannah (Piripi): Hannah is an all-around lovely girl, but what her patrons might not know about her is that she does the marketing and photography for Piripi as well as tend the bar. She is still in school and has her own photography business, but she still makes time for her horses that she loves.

1st – Bitter Bar: When it first opened, Bitter Bar was called Happy Noodle and served food. Now, it is strictly a bar (although there is a cooler with some food if you’re hungry) and while the current owner, James Lee, was part of the establishment’s inception, he left for a while and is now back. All of this shifting and changing has made Bitter Bar into the neighborhood bar it is today.

2nd – Por Wine House: Por takes great pride in having had customers say their establishment reminds them of being in Europe on vacation. If having a glass of wine from the tap a few feet off of busy Main Street feels like a vacation, then they must be doing something right.

1st – Atlas Valley: In Colorado, where our grocery and liquor stores are typically separate, Atlas Valley stands out for being both. They have three generations working in the store and provide a wonderful opportunity to choose not to shop corporate in order to put dinner on the table.

2nd – PJ’s Wine & Spirits: When you operate in the same state as the largest liquor store in America, there has to be something that gives you an edge. For PJ’s that edge is their customer service. Many a happy shopper has left a pleased review of being recognized and called by name by staff and having their special orders taken care of quickly. Can corporate stores do that?

LANDSLIDE – Hazel’s Wine & Liquor: Home of Boulder’s largest selection of wine, beer, spirits, and more, it’s no surprise they have been voted Boulder’s Best Liquor Store eight years running. They haven’t gotten too big for their britches. However, they are still here to help you out with their bottle count calculator and wine tasting PDF’s on their website as well as their customer service.

1st – Atlas Valley: Atlas Valley has three wine experts on staff selecting and purchasing their wine. Jake Sheehy likens wine to a story, “Each bottle contains the history of its name, the passion of its creators, and the hard work of all those who worked on crafting it.” When you pick up a bottle of wine, you are helping it write its next chapter.

2nd – PJ’s Wine & Spirits: PJ’s has an incredible sense of community in and out of the store. When one customer leaves a less than satisfactory review, there are other customers there to defend PJ’s before the store even has to. These return customers know what’s good and they will accept no slander against their favorite liquor store.

1st – Boulder Wine Merchant: Brett Zimmerman is not only the owner, he is one of 274 master sommeliers in the world. As such, he personally selects each product on the sales floor. If you’re interested in fun facts and expert tips, you can subscribe to their newsletter and take baby steps each month to becoming a master sommelier yourself.

2nd – Pettyjohn’s: For over 50 years Pettyjohn’s has been a staple of the Boulder community. They take pride in their employees that have over 100 years of alcohol related experience between them. You can be a part of their Wine of the Month club or they can special order items for you if you already know exactly what you want.

Lafayette Peach Festival: For the love of Palisade peaches and for the 23rd year, there’ll be vendors galore as Lafayette celebrates the beloved drupe. Enjoy peach pies and cobblers while you stroll amongst local artists, crafters, and antique dealers.

Boulder Creek Festival: From May 28th to the 30th, downtown Boulder transforms into three days of all-out festival fun. There will be concerts at the Bandshell (and two other stages), a maker’s market, and a business bazaar. And if you’re ready to eat, dine on local favorites or grab a beer at the Creekside Beer Fest. There’s also kids activities!

Longmont Museum: Hosting concerts in their 250-seat Stewart Auditorium and in the outdoor courtyard, the Longmont Museum offers a wide range of live music and performances to choose from. In May, they’ll release details for this year’s Summer Concert Series, but for now, there’s several shows scheduled for March and April.

Boulder Theater: A staple of Boulder. Whether you’re coming for the Boulder International Film Festival, the 2022 Fly Fishing Film Tour, the Taj Mahal Sextet, or Lucinda Williams, the Boulder Theater has long been a favorite place of gathering and having fun.

Firehouse Art Center: Run by Arts Studio, Inc., the Old Firehouse was renovated in 1999 and has served as an art gallery since. With classrooms for educational purposes and twelve exhibitions a year, the Firehouse Art Center is working to share contemporary and traditional artists’ work. And not just artists from our county or state, from the country.

The Gallery @ The Bus Stop Apartments: With help from Thistle Communities, NOBO Art District was able to lease this gallery. A great space for presenting new art, be it visual, performing, or classic. With five garage style doors, our beautiful Colorado sun can be fully appreciated as folks enjoy the new space.

Longmont Museum: A beautiful museum for a day delving into the arts. A wonderful building with room for many different exhibitions. Until May 15th come see “Washi Transformed: New Expressions in Japanese Paper.” Upcoming programs include: Friday Afternoon Concerts and Thursday Nights @ the Museum.

Museum of Boulder: Having purchased its current home in 2013, the Museum of Boulder is centrally located in downtown Boulder, providing easy access to a museum with invaluable insight into our community. Catch their upcoming exhibit “Voces Vivas: Stories from the Latino Community in Boulder County Past and Present.”

Theater Company of Lafayette: This small and fun theater hosts various shows throughout the year. They are currently planning to host auditions for their late April/ early May show “Twilight Zone Returns (A Parody).” They also offer a great Youtube channel and recently hosted a Holiday special.

Colorado Shakespeare Festival: Since 1958, this wonderful summer event has filled our hearts and minds with classic plays. This summer’s shows include The Two Gentlemen of Verona, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Book of Will, Coriolanus, and The Alchemist.

1st – Tilt: With 50 games and pinball machines, Tilt offers a great space for any day of the week fun! They even have party options if you’re celebrating. Enjoy a full bar, food, and even leagues to take your pinball or table tennis to the next level. Whether you’re looking for The Black Knight or Mortal Kombat II, their selection is stunning.

2nd – Quarters: Luke and Emily started Quarters in 2019 and today they’re serving up a self-serve bar and arcade for all to enjoy. Outfitted with an RFID wristband if you’re 21+, you’ll be good to go to have a good time playing games such as pinball, Skee-Ball, or Pong.

Press Play: Boulder’s best arcade is teeming with games! A well-established bar and lots of games lining the walls, Press Play is fun, fun, fun. Their specials are great with a specific one each night! Notable events are Trivia on Thursdays, rotating DJs Friday and Saturday, and $3 U-CALL-ITS on Sunday.

1st – Anderson Farms: Pumpkin season is months away, but there’s no time like the present to start planning for those Fall adventures. Anderson Farms is providing classics such as a pumpkin patch and a corn maze, while offering 40 campfire sites for rent. Face your fears and take on a zombie paintball hunt, then relax while you enjoy the concessions and much, much more!

2nd – Cottonwood Farms: Located in Lafayette, another great pumpkin patch in the local vicinity! Family activities, two mazes, historic steam engines, and all for just a 5$ entrance fee (5 and under and 65+ are free). It’s recommended that folks prepay, especially for weekends.

John Lehndorff: John is a local food writing legend. Having transplanted to Boulder after attending McGill University, he made his way through the food scene at various publications (he even used to write and edit for YS), be it as a writer or an editor. He’s also the host of Radio Nibbles at KGNU 88.5 FM and has appeared in numerous local and national publications.

Sunflower Spa: With wine, tea, and fruit-infused water in the lobby, and with a super relaxing atmosphere, this place is a dream spot for its grateful customers. Sunflower provides 60 different treatments, which allows customers to design the particular spa experience that would best treat their ailments, relax their minds, and rejuvenate their bodies.

St. Julien: A place most of us see when walking down Pearl St., the most talked about service of St. Julien is their spa. Offering quality service and a beautiful interior, this team is known for immersing customers in a content state of total luxury and comfort.

Coco Michelle: Small-staffed, individual-focused, and located in old town Longmont. Elana and Courtney are a great duo! Offering a facial customized for your skin needs, treatments include cleansing, toning, two masks (an exfoliating mask and moisture or anti-aging mask), extractions, and a hand or foot massage.

St. Julien: The expert staff offers legendary facials, HydraFacials, and skincare treatments. But customers relish that the spa treats them like royalty with a magical experience that leaves them feeling refreshed and detoxed.

Blooming Massage: Customers describe Blooming as a calming and welcoming environment for all. The spa has therapists that focus on your needs whether that be pregnancy or abdominal and back pain. After reading about how relaxing this experience is, I’m dying to make an appointment ASAP.

Siam Sensational Thai Massage: This is the first Thai spa that is completely Thai-owned since 2009. Specializing in the traditional Thai massage of their namesake, this place is a Boulder favorite, or as some described it, a “Zen Gem” with patient care that has a focus on the individual. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, make sure to schedule an appointment because this popular shop does not take walk-ins!

Lola Nails & Lashes: Lola Nails & Lashes has great deals for manicures and pedicures. They offer 22 different manicure types from Nail Art and add-ons to polish changes. Their prices are also very reasonable, as you can pay just $65 for a full French manicure set.

Orange Poppy: Orange Poppy, located in Boulder, is a fresh and sleek manicure and pedicure experience. The spa is covered in bright colors and has a warm, inviting presence. They have six “Dazzle Dry” pedicure options, and an all-natural quick-drying polish with a hypoallergenic formula that is good for you and your nails. As a person who struggles with allergies, what I put on my body is very important to me and so these services are really awesome!

Ageless: One of the best med spas in Erie, Ageless offers many different treatments for acne, including various botox and facial services. This family-owned and female-operated business is here to keep you looking your best. Dr. Tony and Dr. Amy sincerely care about your health as much as you do, which has enabled them to be applauded by the community since opening in 2016.

Vasu: Vasu offers everything for anyone, no matter your gender or gender representation. Vasu is an ally to the trans and nonbinary community, which is super important in our modern era. They take special care to ensure that their clients all have a personalized, comfortable, and satisfying experience.

Coco Michelle: Coco Michelle is also worshiped in Longmont for the exceptional salon and boutique experience, as their stylists can maximize the beauty of customers with their amazing cutting or coloring services.

Rumours: This salon in Boulder is warm, bright, and vibrant. Carrying Kevin Murphy’s elite line of products, they leave your hair feeling silky and luxurious. Their stylists are exceptional, their colorists are reliable, and the shop understandably holds a 4.9 star rating on Google reviews.

Woodward Barbers: Woodward Barbers is a modern gothic shop with retro black leather barber chairs. The staff features a talented group of styling experts, and the company has locations in both Erie and Lakewood. The shop offers its special cut known as “The 15” ,which is a buzz cut with a hot towel session that is guaranteed to be done in 15 minutes and that only costs $20.

Brooklyn Barber: Adding some much-needed culture to Boulder, this shop shows refreshing inclusivity like no other. The Brooklyn Barber and Academy is especially unique because its remarkable staff can offer cuts for customers, and its brilliant instructors can provide training for stylists.

Chiropractic Center of Erie: Erie’s Chiropractic Center opened in 1993, and since then the office has perfected its three-step method to get you aligned, healthy, and back on your feet as fast as possible. With a combination of Adjustment, Deep Tissue Balancing, and Dolphin Neurostim, Erie Chiro helps you heal successfully, recover quickly, and get back to maximum strength effectively.

Chiro Now: Chiro Now is an upfront, no gimmick, family-operated Chiropractic Center. Dr. Joshua Katcher has owned the Boulder location for four years now. The office earned five stars all around by consistently helping customers achieve long-term health for their bodies and optimal contentment for their minds.

Jasper Animal Hospital: More warm and cozy than other competitors, Jasper Animal Hospital has both you and your furry children in mind. They understand that the doctor’s office isn’t anyone’s favorite place. But their calming atmosphere and super friendly staff helps make it a pleasant and painless experience for both you and your little one.

Left Hand Animal Hospital: The convenient and local Left Hand has all of your needs under one roof. They care for your furry loved ones both in person and over the web with an abundance of products that are available in the store or ready for home delivery.

Boulder Community Health: From broken bones to COVID vaccines, Boulder Community Health is there for all your health needs and can treat patients of all ages. BHC has been especially tough on COVID, as their vaccines have helped combat the spread of the virus and their treatments have helped provide care for infected patients.

Boulder Medical Center: The privately owned Boulder Medical Center provides care for all members of the Boulder Community. The Center works with over 80 providers, they have been operating for the past 70 years in the Boulder community, and they are appreciated among the residents for providing high-quality treatments with privatized health care.

Good Samaritan: Providing some of the best care in the state from the entrance process to the exit time, Good Samaritan is known throughout the community for its superior health care services. The facility focuses on holistic care while treating any ailments, illnesses, or injuries that patients experience. With my own family being treated here at times, I can testify that the staff at Good Samaritan truly does the best they can to provide stress-free care and efficacious treatments.

Boulder Community Health: Boulder Community Health has offered care for generations of people in Boulder with comfortable facilities, advanced equipment, and kind staff. As a community-owned hospital, they are praised regionally for their excellence in heart care, neurosurgery, stroke care, orthopedics, and cancer care.

Keene Smiles: Keene Smiles handles smile makeovers, sedation dentistry, implant dentistry, and Chao Pinhole surgical techniques to correct receding gum lines. This place isn’t all cosmetic though, as they also provide treatments to take care of your overall health needs. Their staff is super professional and understanding with their ability to take an individualized and calm approach to your dental care.

Boulder Dental Arts: This office has some of the most premier dentists out there, and the facility is adorned with massage chairs and noise-canceling headphones to alleviate all stress during the procedures. This friendly environment and comfortable atmosphere is especially ideal if you or a little one deal with sensory issues or just have a bit of dentophobia.

Home of the Healing Arts: Home of the Healing Arts is a holistic health center with one of Erie’s best doctors. Having over 20 years of experience in integrative and evidence-based medicine, Dr. Gloria Oberbeck is appreciated in East County for giving care to her patients with a worldly perspective of holistic medicine and with a diverse range of effective treatments.

Dr. Carl Moritz (Crossroads Medical): This office is an independent medical center that was established in 1998 by Dr. Carl Moritz. Crossroads Medical has a focus on personal health care and is revered for treating each patient as an individual. The independent risk factors, medical backgrounds, and health requirements are always diligently considered when Dr. Moritz determines the ideal treatment plans for the patients.

(TIE) – Blackbird Ink & InkSmith: This Blackbird-themed Lafayette tattoo shop has some of the cutest and most calming decor around. The shop has beautiful murals on the walls, gothic-inspired furnishings in the rooms, and an enchanting ambiance throughout the shop. These mesmerizing surroundings are designed to create a magical customer experience while they are completing the artistic tattoo process. Female-owned and operated, this shop is especially badass for offering beautiful tattoos and for doubling as an art gallery.

Bolder Ink: As Boulder’s oldest tattoo shop, the five artists at Bolder Ink specialize in the American traditional style while creating beautifully intricate masterpieces. But don’t sweat it if American Traditional isn’t your vibe. These artists design amazing fine lines with tremendous qualities of realism, blackwork, and various other styles that are sure to fit your vibe and adorn your body.

Brown’s Shoe Fit: Filled with luxury leather and fabrics, Brown’s offers a personal experience like no other. Employees take the time to get you the best fit with available measurements and sizing help. Brown’s focuses on the needs of the customers and has been a pivotal part of the Longmont community since 1946.

Pedestrian Shop: Celebrating their 50th year anniversary, this Boulder staple is genuinely one of the best places to buy shoes. Find its largest flagship store located on Pearl Street. Known for embracing Boulder values, Pedestrian focuses on giving back to their patrons. Their reputation includes satisfying their customers, working with nonprofits, and helping the community while also reducing their carbon footprint.

Carbon Valley Eye Care: While the docs are serious about our eyesight with some of the region’s top specialists in-house, they are also serious about the fashion choices. Good looks aside, it’s their services that set them apart. Not just routine eye exams, they offer in-house specialties like Vision Therapy, Myopia Management, specialty dry eye treatments, Lasik, and 24/7 emergency eye care.

Envision: The staff at Envision provides warm and inviting care, from the optometrist to the receptionist. This group has earned a reputation of helping you with any eye problem, whether it’s fixing lenses on old frames or buying eyewear from their own line of products.

Anspach’s: Established in 1955 on Public Road, Anspach’s has been a favorite for gemstone enthusiasts for over 67 years. Owner Graig forms connections with his customers to the point of knowing every person by name! Recognized for their assortment of classic jewelry pieces and estate sale items, they also provide custom jewelry and high-quality watches.

Angie Star: With a unique selection of pieces that are sustainably made and ethically sourced, this jeweler brings something new for its customers. Their reputation for repairing or redesigning old pieces, and for creating custom work catered to the preferences of the customers, confirms that the Angie Star staff pride themselves on the individualized service that they provide.

(TIE) – Ivy Rose: Styling women from every generation, Ivy Rose owner Rosemary Girard consistently brings Longmont residents new fashion with modern products and vibrant styles. Ivy Rose provides the most personalized purchasing experience in Longmont, as customers need to book actual appointments so the staff can focus on their fashion desires and fitting requirements.

(TIE) – Due South: A Lafayette lifestyle store, Due South carries everything with a luxurious local touch. The store is known for their masterful ability to repurpose and refurbish furniture and decor, and they also provide workshops that enable customers to create their own painted rugs and beautiful pottery. Here you can partake in their “Bring Your Own Project” workshop and get help on your DIY projects.

Rags Consignments: This hip, chic, fashion boutique that specializes in designer consignment clothes is so good they also took the crown for Best Fashion Boutique.

Acme Fine Goods: Even though one person wrote “Tractor Supply,” the rest of the voters know where the good stuff is! This is a mighty fine shop for men and is constantly receiving new arrivals. Be sure to check out their new recycled fleece hoodies.

Found Underground: This online review says it better than we ever could: “Found Underground is one of my FAVORITE places to shop in Louisville – in person and online! It offers beautiful, fashionable, and clean clothing at super reasonable prices. The best part is the respectful and caring way Nancy treats her customers. She delights in her customers’ stories, their pets, their children, and our community. This personalized and loving care makes customers feel like family! Numerous times, Nancy has organized generous fundraisers for patrons with cancer, for our local teachers, and for organizations in need.”

Rags Consignments: Simply put, there are no women’s consignment stores like Rags, anywhere. They started out of the owner’s 1995 home and quickly moved to one of Boulders’ top retail fashion stores. Maybe it’s the hip environment, but we think it’s more the exceptional selection of designer duds at everyday prices that makes Rags a winner every year. Their winning style has allowed them to expand to multiple locations in the Front Range.

Downtown Longmont: Longmont has gotten cool. Everything you want in a LOCAL downtown, almost all the shops and restaurants are locally owned. Known to offer what they call “modern urban grit,” we think Boulder might be getting a little jealous of Longmont these days.

Pearl St. & 29th St. Mall: Used to be Pearl St. was the darling of the county, but she has gotten competition this year from her own neighbor, the 29th St. Mall. Offering 2 B-Cycle stations, an eco steam wash for vehicles, and electric car charging stations, it’s even pet friendly! Now owned by the same folks that own Flatiron Crossing Shopping Center.

The Read Queen: This whimsy, quirky bookstore in Lafayette has character. A skunk dubbed “Stinky” was established as their official mascot after a real skunk was found in the original historic building. The staff is knowledgeable about the literary world, the store has a massive selection of books, and if they don’t have what you’re looking for the staff will order it for you. This Lewis Carroll-inspired shop also offers specialty coffees, teas, pastries, and Italian sodas.

Boulder Bookstore: Winner for the 21st year in a row, this shop obviously holds a special place in the hearts of the community. A multi-level shop of every kind of book you would ever want, knickknacks, and unique local products. There is always a new corner to discover. My favorite is the upstairs fantasy section, with coffee table books bigger than your own head.

Lafayette Florist: Operating in the same location for over 70 years and started by the Yoshihara family in the 1960s, this group has grown into one of BOCOs largest florists. Holding high standards for their products and growing methods, Lafayette Florist focuses on providing products that are gorgeous for the home and healthy for the environment. Known for their creative designers, they are beloved by brides as much as the community.

Sturtz & Copeland: This historic Boulder favorite started over a century ago in 1882. The current owner, Carol Riggs, then moved the store to its current location on Valmont in 1976. The store offers professional arrangements for its customers, and their wide variety of annuals, perennials, and indoor plants can adorn the beautiful splendor of special weddings or decorate the rooms for formal events.

Pitter Patter: This adorable children’s clothing and gift store is filled with unique apparel and cuddly stuffed animals. Offering variations of pink and purple tutus, they also provide matching mommy and me sets. Pitter Patter keeps your little ones in mind with splat mats, silicone bibs, the iconic Sophie La Girafe teether, and adorable printed onesies.

Grandrabbits: Grandrabbits has three locations along the Front Range. With a commitment to keeping kids a priority, this 21st-year winner is a top choice for parents and children. From their vast selection of Folkmanis puppets to their science kits, you are surrounded by wonder when browsing the shelves at GrandRabbits.

Snarkington’s: This purrfect shop is filled with many knicknacks and gifts. Those in need of a cat hat, blobfish ornament, or candle must check out this cute and quirky pink boutique. According to their owner, they get their name for fun as a play on words about their sassy and snarky customers.

Jacque Michelle: Known to be big on fair trade options for gifts and clothing, Jacque Michelle has been a Boulder staple for 12 years. Whether it’s a greeting card, leggings, earrings, or hat, everything her store offers is rare and unique.

Little Herbal Apothecary: This charming little store has all handmade herb mixtures and tinctures, including their own line of beauty and skin products. Their service also includes help with pregnancy and child care products. Offering all your natural remedy needs under one roof, they even provide workshops for you to make your own blends based on your health needs or beauty preferences.

Nude Foods Market: Boulder’s First Sustainable Grocery store is every earth lover’s dream! With all zero-waste packaging and refilling stations, the store allows you to help protect the planet while you shop for groceries. This is the perfect store for any person looking for new ideas to prevent waste and conserve resources, and the wonderful ambience of the 24/7 farmers’ market makes this the most refreshing place I’ve seen all year.

Monkton Guitars: Monkton Guitars has been selling vintage guitars, amps, and effects for over 30 years online, and now they recently opened a brick and mortar location to make their mark on the Broomfield community. You can stop in and jam with the owner, shop for musical products, or just hang out with fellow musicians while experimenting with different instruments.

HB Woodsongs: Now known as Woodsings, this BOCO monument has had its roots deeply entrenched in this community since 1971. The store is now celebrating their 51st anniversary as Boulder’s longest running music store. This group started out serving the folk music crowd. They have since expanded to satisfy musicians of various genres, and they are especially revered for the quality of craftsmanship that adorns their sweet collection of guitars, ukuleles, and banjos.

Struttin Pup: This shop carries only natural and antibiotic pet food. Even better, if you need a leash or harness, they can bring it straight to your door with a home delivery service that makes last-minute needs for pet food super easy. They specialize in grooming as well, but be sure to book in advance as this place is a hot spot.

Only Natural Pet: Considered to be one of the largest selections available of natural pet foods and treats, every item in the store is carefully chosen for health and quality. If you’re having a hard time choosing a product, their staff is helpful by offering recommendations based on the taste buds or dietary needs of your pets. They’ve won the hearts of many pets and customers by providing items that feature delicious tastes, healthy ingredients, and sustainability benefits.

Igadi: Known to carry a small selection of their own six select flower strains, this shop also carries Artsy Cannabis Co., Bonsai, and Level 10. Focusing on smokable items and edible products, their staff is engaging budtenders who are friendly to all customers and eager to make recommendations.

The Farm: Offering a beautiful array of glass pipes, water pipes, rigs, and their own line of apparel, this half dispensary-half boutique provides a unique atmosphere. The Farm budtenders are highly appreciated for always taking the time to fully explain the details of each item and help the customers find the optimal products.

(TIE) – Lafayette, Longmont, Louisville; Erie 1 vote ahead: You might not believe this, but it’s true. Longmont, Lafayette, and Louisville all scored the exact same amount of votes! Erie led the way though with ONE vote ahead.

Downtown Longmont: Other than Downtown Longmont, Historic Westside (a truly beautiful neighborhood) won top votes. We keep saying it. Downtown Longmont is getting cool. Now all they need is to add some place to dance!

Old North Boulder: Old North Boulder won this category (or at least a variation of those names). We assume they mean exiting out of North Boulder off-Broadway or 28th, onto 36 up to Lyons. Yeah, that is a pretty cool stretch of hood, beginning with North Boulder.

Treasures Upscale Consignment Clothing & Furnishings: Everything fashionable for your home or body! Treasures has two parts to her expansive store, a fashion boutique with stylish consignment clothing, AND darling furnishings and decor.

The Amazing Garage Sale: Sadly, due to the pandemic, most of the cute consignment furnishing stores have closed. There is still one gem left on North Broadway called The Amazing Garage Sale. Greenwood Wildlife Thrift Store has a fabulous selection of home furniture and deserves honorable mention.

Woodley’s Fine Furniture: In 1979 Mike and Pat Woodley began crafting great furniture and operating their family business. Now they have grown into a massive store with 6 showrooms and an enormous customer base. Winning this year’s BOW award for the quality of furniture and extensive range of the selection was no surprise. Their customer service is especially excellent, as they are known to go the extra mile to ensure the right furniture goes into their customer’s homes.

A close race between Arhaus, BC Interiors, Design Within Reach, Forma, and Free on the Sidewalk. The ultimate winner was Forma with their sleek modern and very comfortable furniture. Mostly famous for their recliners, they also offer room planning and design services. Legend to be the best in the nation.

Due South: The pleasant atmosphere of the store and diverse range of inventory helped furnish Due South the BOW award for EC. Customers are often excited to browse and pick home furnishing items that are entirely unique and aesthetically appealing. They also sell popular home decor items including molds, waxes, orchids, antique crafts, and chalk paints.

Canova Home: Boulder residents have allowed us to shine a light on the beneficial qualities of Canova Home by granting the store a BOW award. Whether it’s the wall lights or overhead chandeliers, customers are often found gazing for hours at the splendor of options the store provides.

Jax Farm & Ranch: Every home requires the occasional home improvement project. Customers voted Jax as the best place for it with the BOW Home Improvement win EC. The store has almost every part or tool needed. The staff meanwhile, has become especially popular due to their eagerness to provide expert advice regarding items needed or helpful strategies.

McGuckin Hardware: While McGuckin’s has been the runaway winner in this category for the majority of 22 years YS has published a Readers Poll, this year saw more competition. Fan loyalty and a store where you can virtually find anything has kept their crown is intact again this year.

Stonum Automotive: Quality and reliability are the two primary features that drove Longmont’s Stonum Automotive to become the 2022 BOW winner for Best Auto Repair. The expert staff possesses advanced knowledge and superior skills required for almost any repair. Their reliability is also an appeal for its loyal customers as Stonum is known for establishing clear timeframes for repairs.

Pellman’s Automotive: Getting to know the Pellmans is like getting to know Boulder. The shop first opened in 1995 with Brad as the mechanic and Lisa as the office manager. Because of their unfaltering commitment to exceptional service and expertise, they have grown to one of Boulder County’s largest repair shops. Even more impressive is they have maintained their local roots the entire time. In addition to doing a great job at maintaining vehicles, they also excel with maintaining the environment as a Leeds Certified green and solar-powered business.

Green Eyed Motors: Located in Frederick, the environmentally responsible practices of Green Eyed Motors has led them to become the 2022 BOW winner for Best Place to Buy a Car in EC. The dealership empowers customers to reduce climate change by purchasing electric, hybrid, and fuel-efficient cars. The expert staff also ensures each car they sell to be chemical free and technically sound.

Boulder Toyota: This family-owned dealership is highly respected for having the most modern Toyota models on the market. Boulder Toyota is a BOW winner due to their extensive selection of used cars and an award-winning service repair department. The leasing department gets extra praise for their eagerness to help customers obtain their ideal car while accommodating budgetary needs.

Germany Law Firm: For the second year in a row, Germany Law Firm has won reader’s vote for best EC lawyers. The firm serves families who care for disabled children or elderly by ensuring their clients receive fair treatment with real estate, financial trusts, living wills, or end of life decisions.

Darren O’Connor: He was a boxer before stepping into the legal ring and now wears the 2022 BOW championship belt for Best Lawyer in Boulder. The quality of service that Darren O’Connor provides has earned him a reputation for being an advocate of the community. Known for navigating his clients through difficult waters, he has successfully assisted homeowners to combat unlawful evictions and custody cases where he prioritizes the best interest of the child.

Elevations: The benevolent contributions that Elevations makes for the Boulder community explains why the credit union is the BOW winner for best bank in the region. The credit union provides excellent banking, consultation, and loan services. Their contributions include donations to local businesses, neighborhood services, organizations, and academic scholarships.

Sister Carmen: For over 40 years the Sister Carmen Community Center has faithfully served the East County region. Readers are thanking them by voting them this year’s BOW winner for Best Nonprofit in EC. The organization is commendable for assisting underemployed residents, poverty-stricken families, underprivileged children, and those hampered by illnesses or disabilities.

EFAA: With so many families suffering from hunger due to the pandemic, natural disasters, and unemployment, the food share service provided by the Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) in Boulder has provided relief for countless families. With the peace of mind this organization offers, it is well-deserving of this BOW award.

Outdoor Craftsmen: Outdoor Craftsmen, this year’s BOW winner for Best Landscaper in EC, leaves their clients with awe over their augmentation of their front and back yards. This group of professionals are known to improve the richness of grass and health quality of lawns while surpassing all expectations throughout each stage of the design, architecture, and installation process.

Ecoscape Environmental: The superior customer service that Ecoscape Environmental offers has been rewarded with the BOW award for Best Landscaper in Boulder. Clients enjoy working with staff while participating in developing plans and determining the features of their yards. Even more enjoyable, the company only utilizes environmentally friendly products and ecologically sustainable methods.

The Fowler Group: Expert advice and caring service encouraged readers to vote for The Fowler Group as the Best Realtor in EC. While other realtors may simply view customers as sales and commissions, the Fowler Group perceives them as friends and neighbors. Known to be communicative, they listen to client desires and exert maximum effort to help them live in the dream home of their choice.

Bernardi Group: Led at the helm by Karen Bernardi, the Bernardi Group wins BOW for Best Realtor in Boulder. With 35 years of realty experience, Bernardi has a prestigious reputation for her connections, relationships in the industry, and knowledge of the area. Clients benefit from the team’s massive inventory base and Bernardi’s superb negotiating skills.

Steve’s Plumbing: The expert skills and friendly service provided by Steve and his son has earned Steve’s Plumbing the BOW award for East County. Located in Longmont, customers enjoy working with the fun personalities of this charismatic father-son duo. The many loyal customers who have been relying on Steve for over a decade demonstrates the unbridled trust they have in his skills.

Bernie’s Plumbing: Bernie’s Plumbing has accumulated a massive customer base in Boulder by consistently offering reasonable estimates and honest assessments. Customers also applaud that they can provide comprehensive services, making them a go-to service for almost everything under the roof of their homes. The comfort of knowing that with one phone call any project can be completed for an affordable price encouraged readers to select Bernie as its BOW winner.

Silver Contracting: For thirty years Silver Contracting in Lafayette has been performing construction, remodeling, and architecture projects for homeowners and businesses alike. The company consistently satisfies families by enhancing the beauty of their home and benefits businesses by improving the quality of their buildings. This range and versatility provided wins the BOW match for EC.

Melton Design Build: Actualizing the visions of their customers is a remarkable quality of Melton Design Build. Whether it’s new additions or remodeling projects, the company is revered for collaborating with their customers successfully and understanding their home desires. Their customers in return have voted the contractor BOW and undisputed contractor champion of Boulder County.

Reinholt Tree Care: Reinholt Tree Care in Longmont is the company customers call when they need trees serviced or obstructive trees removed. For trimming, they break out their Edward Scissorhands skills for even trims, perfect shapes, and stylish dues. The efficacy of Reinholt’s tree removal chops and removing an abundance of trees in a short amount of time while leaving the areas spotless is well known.

Berkelhammer: There are a fair number of companies that can cut and prune trees. You could call Fred for that, but that’s not why Berkelhammer has been the area’s top arborists since 1988. Well-renowned for using pesticide-free treatment to save bees and trees, his website says it best: “We believe that the best way to determine the skill and professionalism of an arborist service is to observe, through the seasons, the health and beauty of its customers’ trees.”

Louisville Cyclery: Like most businesses that stay open for 40 years or more, Louisville Cyclery knows the power of community. They are one of the first sponsored racing teams in Boulder County and host rides every weekend. Recently they donated several bikes and toys to those impacted by the Marshall Fire. Doogal, their friendly on-site pooch, is the cutest customer service rep you’ll ever meet.

Full Cycle Bikes & Colorado Multisport: This locally-owned shop is known for its friendly staff and delicious blueberry scones. Ross, who works the floor, has operated this community hub for the last five years. Another bonus? They have coffee, kombucha, and beer! Grab a snack while you wait for your tuneup and talk bikes with the experts.

Angles Ski Shop: Angles started out in its owner’s garage before growing into one of the first sports stores on Main St. in Longmont. Now, it’s blossomed into a one-stop shop for many of your outdoor needs. Their expert staff can help you comb through their seemingly endless options, from fly fishing gear to bikes, plus all of your winter favorites and tune-ups.

Crystal Ski Shop: Crystal Ski Shop is one place that defines Boulder. Its owner, Justin Burger, worked at the store in high school before the opportunity to purchase the business arose after he graduated from CU. Now, he’s continuing that legacy by giving the winter and outdoor sports communities a second place to call home.

JAX Mercantile: Ever wanted to test a new hunting bow before you buy it? JAX has an indoor range where you can do just that. It is a place known for its farmer’s market and events with live animals, too. This Colorado legacy has built a name for itself in Boulder County and has won Yellow Scene’s Best Sporting Goods Store every year since opening.

Play It Again Sports: Got a broken helmet? Play It Again Sports can fix it. Need a new bat for the upcoming baseball season? They got you covered there, too. Do your ski bindings need adjusting after that spill you took? Probably so, and Play It Again has been doing it for BOCO since 2006.

Colorado National Golf Club: As they say, “All golf courses are not created equal.” Colorado National has won several awards and offers guests a premier golf experience at the home of the CU men’s golf team. The Master’s Restaurant offers a breakfast to dinner menu complete with some of the best wines BOCO has to offer. Play in front of stunning views of the Rockies in a round you’re sure to never forget.

Flatirons Golf Course: Flatirons is one of the best municipal golf experiences along the Front Range. It opened in 1938 as the Boulder Municipal Sports Center and has grown to offer state-of-the-art practice facilities with its indoor practice range. Enjoy a game while basking in the incredible views of BOCO’s most iconic rock formations.

Fitness 1440: As if opening a business during the pandemic isn’t challenging enough, Matt and Robbie Mauch continue to serve their customers with one of Boulder County’s only 24-hour gyms. Not only will their business help fund your favorite causes, but the duo also pride themselves on providing training programs that motivate and educate. As a newcomer to the community, winning this vote means they are doing it right.

YMCA of Northern Colorado: The YMCA is one of the best community-centered nonprofits in BOCO. It offers fitness classes specifically tailored to cancer survivors in partnership with the Livestrong Foundation that are designed to help individuals boost their total health. The YMCA also has after-school programs, fitness classes, and community gathering spaces — everything we need after spending nearly two years under the stress of a pandemic.

(TIE) – Erie Community Center: This category often is a battle between Bob Burger in Lafayette and Erieites. This year they share the crown with a tie. Erie Rec is a great place to host a birthday party, cookout, or get your groove on in a Zumba class. The facility has everything you want in a rec center and its event planners can help make sure your event is one to remember.

(TIE) – Bob L. Burger Recreation Center: Named after former Lafayette mayor Bob Burger, the rec center has been serving the residents of Lafayette for two decades. It has an indoor pool, waterslide, jacuzzi, gymnasium, and even a skatepark. This year, they added a pickleball court and provided emergency shelter for those impacted by the Marshall Fire.

1st – North Boulder Recreation Center: Great spot on Broadway. Dance away your stress at a dance & fitness event or take care of your mental health during a restorative yoga or walking meditation session. No matter what you need, the North Boulder Recreation Center is truly a place where community is created.

2nd – Valmont Bike Park: This 42-acre natural surface cycling terrain park has challenges for all ages and skill levels. From cross-country trails to asphalt jumps and gravity trails, this park is a great place to hang out with friends or family. And the bonus? There is plenty of parking.

Eldora Mountain Ski Resort: It’s good to get out of the house every once in a while. Brave the long and steady winds with more than 40 kilometers of terrain and enjoy the small feel of the resort itself. It’s conveniently located just 30 minutes outside of Boulder and has a little something for everyone, including cross-country skiing and learning the slopes.

Steamboat Ski Resort is considered one of the best resorts in Colorado because of its “champagne powder,” as the Steamboatians call it. The big sky overhead will take your breath away, whether you’re new to skiing or are a seasoned pro. The resort also offers free live music and fireworks on Fridays.

Bennetts Karate: The Bennett family has been teaching martial arts in Colorado since 1996. Sensei Richard opened Bennetts in Erie in 2009, and currently teaches three different disciplines: Uechi Ryu Karate-Do, Matayoshi Kobudo, and Aikido. Classes are held in many different venues, which makes Bennett’s a convenient place for disciples of all skill levels.

Tran’s Martial Arts & Fitness: Tran’s gives its customers a solid foundation for their lives. This isn’t a fancy fitness center with hundreds of confusing machines. It’s a place where adults and kids can go to learn the meaning of hard work, respect, and self-discipline without being judged. Say “Osh” to a new workout that will get you into the best shape of your life.

Soul Tree Yoga: Soul Tree opened in January 2010 and has quickly become BOCO’s go-to yoga studio. The studio has hosted community events including the recent vigil for those impacted by the Marshall Fires. Its instructors focus on teaching appreciation, mindfulness, and body awareness– all things we need to be more of as we reemerge from the pandemic.

Boulder Bikram Hot Yoga: With more than 50 years of teaching experience, Radha Garcia and the instructors at Boulder Bikram Hot Yoga are passionate about your health. The studio offers both in-person and virtual classes for every skill level. Just one session with these highly-skilled instructors and you will have the real deal hot yoga experience.

Pilates 4 Bodies: Elleene’s new studio in Lafayette is next-to-none. Her exercise classes can help you overcome some physical ailments while lengthening and strengthening your muscles. No matter if you sign up for individual classes or prefer the discounted package deal, Elleene and her instructors will give you one of the best workouts BOCO can offer.

The Pilates Center: Established in 1990, sisters Amy Taylor Alpers and Rachel Taylor Sege brought The Pilates Center to Boulder through the lineage of Joseph Pilates, the founder of the practice. They’re not only focused on their customers’ health, they also help teachers become better instructors.

WOW! Children’s Museum: Children beaming with excitement while learning led their parents to choose this East County BOW winner. The perfect combination of education and entertainment provides multiple opportunities to learn. Here, kids can embrace science while making bubbles, exercise creativity in the ArtSpace, or cultivate plants in the Discovery Garden. And where else could a child want to hone their social skills than on a pirate ship?

Valmont Bike Park: Owned by the Boulder Parks and Recreation Department, the Valmont Bike Park has won the Boulder BOW for Best Place to Play with Kids. This 42-acre park features long tracks for biking, huge jumps for tricksters, and a new section for skaters. The size of the park and versatility of the options makes the Valmont park conducive for all age-groups and skill-levels.

Dawson School: Exceptional teachers and long-lasting relationships are why Dawson is the BOW winner for Best Private School. Parents can trust their children will emerge from the school with excellent critical thinking skills, an advanced knowledge base, and powerful creative abilities. These important qualities are typically attributed to the remarkable teachers in the classrooms and the comprehensive curricula of the programs.

Centaurus: Many new parents deliberately choose to buy their homes and raise their families in East County due to the quality of the public school system. BOW voters agree that the exceptional education that children receive in the county is best embodied by Lafayette’s Centaurus High School. The top-tier graduation rate of the school and the high performance levels of the students make it an ideal program to prepare students for college, and the diversity of the student population helps the classrooms represent the multitude of races and ethnicities that enrich our society.

Flatirons Elementary K-5: Flatirons Elementary is the BOW winner for Best Public School due to its ability to effectively integrate students into academia. Teachers receive extensive training to ensure they successfully equip students to understand the lessons and develop a passion for knowledge.

1st – YMCA: The YMCA for East County children has earned the BOW award for Best Summer Camp in the region. Various locations make it convenient for parents to find their local program while the countless activities cater to kids with diverse interests. Camp specialties include arts, science, team sports, and hiking missions.

2nd – School of Rock Broomfield: Way back before the pandemic, School of Rock was the hit of the YS SuperKids Expo. This summer camp was quick to successfully maneuver around COVID and switch to online sessions and lessons. Their students have recorded with Skip Marley and even played at Red Rocks! This little red schoolhouse has proven they have what it takes to keep on rockin’ and rollin’, even in a COVID world.

1st – Thorne Nature Experience: Every kid in BOCO should experience Thorne at least one summer in their life. Formed in 1954 by Dr. Oakleigh Thorne II, the goal was to help build Earth stewardship in youth. Thorne awards in excess of $500,000 in camp scholarships and offers subsidized school programs to more than 7,000 low-income youth. Each year Thorne strives to fill the gap so that all youth have an opportunity to connect with nature.

2nd – Renaissance Adventures: Many kids dream of becoming noble heroes with powers of greatness. Renaissance Adventures wins the Boulder BOW summer camp award for allowing kids to fulfill this dream. Featuring role-playing adventures, children learn how to work together to complete difficult quests, solve complex problems, and find hidden treasures. While it’s exciting to role play, the cognitive and social benefits also help prepare them to reach greatness in the real world.

School of Rock Broomfield programs are so good, they also won Best Music School in EC. When kids are learning with legends and playing at Red Rocks while being supported by Fender, Zildjian, and Roland… you know they are receiving top education in rock music.

Parlando School of Music Arts: The superior quality of the music education this school provides has resulted in the community singing their praises for this 2022 BOW award winner. Their expert teachers instruct students to excel at any instrument, including piano, guitar, or string. On the theatrical stage, students learn to sing, dance, and act while performing for live audiences.

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