Boulder Eats: 14 restaurant openings, closings and food happenings for July – Boulder Reporting Lab

The Boulder Reporting Lab
Boulder Reporting Lab’s July 2024 food and drink roundup highlights book clubs in bars, a new saloon opening, a local restaurant closing, restaurant-sponsored agriculture, a food-film fundraiser and more local donut love. Have news about your local restaurant? Heard rumors of openings or closings? Or simply have a question? Send your food and drink news and insider tips to food@boulderreportinglab.org.
Estes Park’s popular Antonio’s Real New York Pizza opened a second location in Longmont in June. They serve thin-crust, Sicilian, Neapolitan and Detroit-style pizzas. Find them at 325 Main Street, open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (closed Sundays and Mondays). Still not convinced? “People often ask about our crust because it’s puffy, yet crisp and chewy,” the restaurant says. “That’s 12 years of experimentation and the understanding that time equals flavor.”
The Colorado Club Saloon is now open at 1043 Pearl Street, operating from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and until 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. This new sports bar and restaurant concept comes from Half Eaten Cookie Hospitality and founder Bryan Dayton, the owners of Oak and Corrida in downtown Boulder. The Club Saloon features live honky-tonk music on Wednesdays and a Colorado-American style menu. Offerings include salads, sandwiches, bar-food appetizers, and six protein entrees, such as steak frites and shrimp and grits.
YA YA Farm & Orchard, a local favorite for u-pick apples and their Percheron draft horses, has opened its July weekend farmstand from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring their famous apple cider donuts. Order ahead to ensure you don’t miss out.
Cozobi Fonda Fina, a new Mexican restaurant by Johnny Curiel, is set to open July 10 at 909 Walnut Street in Boulder, replacing Masas & Agaves. Named after the Zapotec god of corn, Cozobi’s menu highlights corn prepared using the traditional process of nixtamal, with 14 of its 21 dishes featuring the grain. Curiel, who recently opened Alma Fonda Fina in Denver with his wife Kasie, emphasizes a relaxed, authentic dining experience inspired by his personal stories with Mexican culture. The restaurant aims to cater to Boulderites’ preferences for organic, non-GMO foods and accommodate various food allergies. Cozobi maintains elements of Masas’ decor but introduces a more earthy, cozy ambiance, Boulder Reporting Lab reported.
The Local Boulder, a “neighborhood tavern” known for its BBQ and draft beer at 2731 Iris Avenue, announced its closure on July 1. The owners explained on their website: “The Local’s closing is a result of several challenges we’ve faced, including escalating food, labor, and overhead costs for a restaurant of this scale. These factors have exceeded our ability to fairly increase prices and ultimately made it unsustainable for us to continue.” They noted that their sister pizza restaurant, FRINGE, a Well-Tapped Eatery at 2900 Valmont Road, will honor Local gift cards and certificates.
Chicken fight: The Post Chicken & Beer is running a tasting competition for a new chicken slider from eight contenders, and diners get to vote for their favorites. Biscuits are available at happy hour at all four locations, and diners participate in multiple rounds of eliminations. The winner will be featured at Denver’s Chicken Fight Festival on Aug. 29, going up against 54 other restaurant competitors.
Try two new flavor contenders by July 28 to get your vote in. Diners can vote on their favorite slider one time per round by texting 303-970-8688. The Post is selecting one lucky voter per round to win a chicken biscuit party at the restaurant location of their choice.
Play with your food: Button Rock Bakery in Lafayette now offers  “Cookies & Canvas,” featuring four-inch regular and gluten-free sugar cookies in ready-to-decorate kits for special occasions. Wedding and baby shower designs, as well as kids’ party themes, are priced between $24 and $50 per set, with an additional $10 for custom logos and designs. You can choose from primary or pastel edible ink colors.
Restaurants support farmers: Just like our CSAs (community-supported agriculture), restaurants are now buying directly from farmers with RSAs (restaurant-supported agriculture). Guaranteed income for local, small farms is critical to their financial survival, and having restaurant backing gives them extra cachet for being featured on specialty menus.
Sheila Lucero, culinary director for Boulder’s Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, is creating a sustainable relationship with Hotchkiss-based Thistle Whistle Farm for the summer season, according to a press release from the restaurant. Together, the restaurateur and farmers analyzed the growing season and product availability, deciding on green garlic, pearl onions, new potatoes, green daikon, and Chimayo and Melrose peppers.
Big Red F founder Dave Query started cultivating local farm relationships in the 1990s, and the practice continues today with all their restaurants, including Jax. “Working with Thistle Whistle is a mutually beneficial arrangement,” Lucero said. “Our chefs get to work with unique and exceptionally fresh and flavorful Colorado products, and we are helping set the farm up for a successful and profitable growing season.”
Book clubs in bars: There is an introvert happy hour near you. Silent Book Club is a worldwide movement of readers who gather in public spaces, like local bars, cafes and coffee shops, to silently read together. Boulder has two clubs. Silent Book Club Boulder meets on the first and third Mondays at Rayback Collective on Valmont, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The first 30 minutes are for getting drinks and socializing, followed by an hour of silent reading of any book you choose. Since it’s not quiet in the bar, many people wear noise-canceling headphones. The other group, Boulder Silent Book Club, mixes it up between bars, restaurants and the library. Meeting times and locations are announced on their Instagram feeds.
‘Reels for Meals’ food & film fundraiser: Help support two good causes with a foodie-focused fundraiser benefiting Meals on Wheels Boulder and the Flatiron Food Film Festival. “A Taste of Things,” starring Juliette Binoche, is the featured film for the July 18 Reels for Meals event at eTown Hall.
Organizers have planned activities that are both educational and entertaining for food lovers. Tickets are $25 for the film alone, or you can splurge on a $55 ticket that includes the opening soiree with bites from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, Gemini Restaurant, Jeannot Patisserie and Bistro, and Boulder Cork, plus reserved seating and a cash bar.
Did you know Meals on Wheels Boulder serves 300 meals daily and has served more than 2.7 million meals since they started in 1969? Their work today includes:
Community support for this fundraiser will also enable the Flatirons Food Film Festival to continue fulfilling its mission of celebrating food culture and community. The festival hosts a series of films and events intended to entertain, educate, and inspire.
Centro Mexican Kitchen’s new brunch menu: On June 14, Centro Mexican Kitchen unveiled new summer dishes for its happy hour brunch menu, available from 10 a.m. to noon daily. Among the choices are $4 tostadas with eggs, avocados, refritos, and pickled jalapeños; $7 chilaquiles; and $9 French toast with a choice of horchata, cinnamon apple, or strawberry. Diners can add a flight of shots to match the meal or enjoy a $30 Bloody Mary for two.
Fresh juice, functional benefits: Boulder has a great juice game, and now Snooze is entering the field where Wonder, Leaf, Thrive, Epic Nutrition, Vitality Bowls and Mad Greens (among others), Snooze, a breakfast and brunch cafe, has added three specialty juice blends to the menu:
Nok’s Donuts in Lafayette has been named the best donut in Colorado, according to Yelp’s Elite Squad of reviewers. Quoted from the review:
Everything is natural—even the sprinkles—at this Boulder-area shop. “We wanted to do something different: donuts and icings made fresh daily entirely from all-natural ingredients,” says Pornchanok “Nok” Liu, who owns the shop with spouse Michael Liu. So these treats have no artificial flavoring, colors, sweeteners, or additives—they even make their own natural baking powder from scratch. Choose from classic cake or “crispy on the outside and moist on the inside” mochi and vegan donuts, both gluten-free. They “actually taste like [the] real flavor,” according to Yelp Elites, who rave about the fruit (blueberry, raspberry, and passion fruit, to name a few) and lemon-frosted donuts (“you can tell [they’re] made with real lemon juice”). Watch Nok’s bakers handcraft their natural creations fresh each day in the open kitchen.
Move over, Taco Tuesdays — Gemini is hosting Paella Tuesdays this summer. Enjoy fresh paella dishes for $12 starting at 4 p.m. every Tuesday in July and August.
T.M. Spring is a contributor to Boulder Reporting Lab who loves all things food – dining, film, cooking, and community. She’s a lifelong writer who has written and produced for dozens of media companies, including USA Today, WashingtonPost.com, and AOL. Today she is a consultant in the Ethical AI and Innovation tech industry, and working on a book project. More by T.M. Spring
1 Comment
Thank you for this well rounded insight into the food happenings in our area. It is helpful knowing what is going on and I enjoy the advice from such a “well seasoned ” foodie.
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