If you are a foodie (like myself… or so I like to think), you know that the best meals in the world come from tried-and-true family recipes. Lucky for us Coloradans, our state is chock-full of talented chefs who are more than eager to share their favorite dishes, which can be found at these 11 legendary family-owned restaurants that you have to try:
1. O Sole Mio Trattoria Italiana (Fort Morgan)
Does looking at this picture make you think you left the Eastern Plains for old Italy? That's the point of O' Sole Mio, which brings an authentic Italian menu and ambiance to Fort Morgan via owner Carlo Pellegrini and his cookbook full of old family recipes.
2. China Garden (Estes Park)
For the best Chinese food outside of—well, China—visit this Estes Park favorite, which is a "traditional family-owned Chinese restaurant" with an extensive menu of chicken, vegetarian, and beef dishes.
3. Jean's Family Kitchen (Hugo)
Located in Hugo, Jean's Family Kitchen is just that: a no-frills restaurant that serves an impressive menu of old family favorites like meatloaf, chicken fried steak and juicy burgers.
4. Highway Bar & Grill (Dinosaur)
As per a review on their Facebook
, "Of course the food and atmosphere is the best..The owner Lady Tess is an awesome person herself so stop on in and grab a beer or bite our both and enjoy what Real down home cooking in an relaxed friendly atmosphere really is!!!" We will support this kind of a business ANY day!
5. The Fort (Morrison)
Arguably one of the most famous of family-owned Colorado restaurants is The Fort, whose fresh beef, game, and seafood entrees are as fabulous as the establishment's history. (Long story short, When plans for a dream home in the country exceeded the family's budget, Mr. & Mrs. Sam Arnold decided to "get to work" by adding a restaurant to their home. Since The Fort first opened for business in 1963, it has been a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.)
6. Edelweiss (Colorado Springs)
Every morning (noon and night!) you greet me!" That's right, folks; this authentic German restaurant opens every morning at 11 am and serves up some of the heartiest, German-inspired meals in the state!
7. The Last Steep (Crested Butte)
For a meal that is as unforgettable as the town of Crested Butte itself, check out The Last Steep and their incredible selection of burgers, seafood, and beers. (Psst... do yourself a huge favor and save room for dessert! You and your stomach can thank me later.)
8. Nana & Nano's Pasta House (Trinidad)
With a name like Nano and Nana's (which, of course, translates to Grandpa and Grandma), you know that the food, atmosphere, and fresh selection of deli favorites is sure to be molto bene!
9. Cactus Flower (Pueblo)
If you think this pork and avocado burrito from this family-owned restaurant (which has been Pueblo's go-to for tasty Mexican fare since 1990) looks good, wait until you get a taste of it...
10. Rainbow (Fort Collins)
The best part of waking up isn't the generic coffee in your cup; it's the fresh, flavorful, and reasonably priced breakfast burritos, Banana Rum French Toast, and/or Huevos Rancheros on your plate at Rainbow! (Don't worry—they also serve fresh coffee!)
11. Pantuso's (Grand Junction)
Can anyone else hear the accordion music, smell the fragrant garlic wafting through the air, and taste the perfectly-seasoned sauces just from looking at this picture? There's a lot more where that came from at this iconic Italian restaurant, which has been serving their famous dishes since 1958.