With its TV, Xbox games, and free WiFi, Twirl Boulder is as appealing any neighborhood hangout as any you might see on television—and that's not taking into account the 50-plus flavors of locally sourced frozen yogurt on rotation. Here, guests can pile them high with dozens of other toppings, including several gluten and dairy-free options. The store understands its youth appeal, creating the Purple Lounge, which hosts game, karaoke, and dance nights. The lounge is also available for get-togethers via free reservation. As visitors kick back on the wraparound couch or warm themselves before the fireplace, they munch on slices of Nick-N-Willy's pizza, sliders, chicken nuggets, and sip cold drinks. Twirl also caters to its adult clientele, offering presentation-friendly meeting areas with a TV to banish boring office meetings.
Bright canvases hang over the counter at Boulder Creek Market, behind which the crew crafts a menu of signature sandwiches. You can order traditional cuts of ham, turkey, and roast beef, but it's worth trying some of the specialty game meats, such as ostrich, buffalo, and wild boar. Fresh, locally baked bread is included whether you're having salad or a gourmet sandwich. And the dressings are all made in-house, from basil pesto to spicy chipotle mayonnaise and balsamic vinaigrette. Sandwiches and salads can be prepared vegan or vegetarian upon request.
Boulder Baked's chefs don't make pizzas, but they do deliver their fare in pizza boxes. When the phone trills and someone orders a Sweet Sixteen, they arrange dough balls in a four-by-four matrix, packing them so tightly that the cookies merge into rounded rectangles. This is just one option—the cooks also create classic and gluten-free desserts such as pies, cupcakes, and brownies. They bake each treat to order, and can tuck almost any delicacy into care packages for students or shopping-mall Santas.
The steady rhythm of a chopping knife can be heard from behind the counters at Spooners Frozen Yogurt, where toppings are freshly prepared every day. Customers can decorate their cups of all-natural yogurt with morsels of fresh fruit, chunks of cookies, or nuts. Every flavor of the locally-sourced yogurt is made with no artificial dyes or preservatives.
As the catalyst between farm and plate, the chefs at Poppy Cafe know that fresh, local ingredients create the most flavorful meals. The café serves up organic and gluten-free meals, homemade libations, and freshly baked desserts. A selection of signature sandwiches—such as the rosemary-roasted turkey, pesto, and provolone—highlight the lunch menu, and dinner entrees feature the ponzu halibut with parsnip purée, rainbow veggies, and sautéed spinach, or crab-and-ricotta-stuffed ravioli in a sun-dried tomato cream sauce. For an expertly prepared breakfast, diners can munch on gluten-free blueberry pancakes or a denver omelet with bacon, cheddar, and avocado, paired with a Solar Roast coffee or Peace and Love tea, which may cause road rage within 30 minutes of drinking.
The frozen-dessert crafters of the award-winning Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato whip up a dizzying array of up to 80 distinct flavors, which rotate every two weeks. Fill a small dish ($2.99) with Peanut Butter Blast, or reward a small child for aging with a large dish ($4.75) of birthday-cake ice cream. Unconventional choices including Jack Daniels chocolate chip and Junior Mint tantalize sweet teeth with decadence, and low-fat frozen-yogurt helpings such as a regular-size black raspberry or chai ($3.92) add guilt-reduced options. The shop also outputs gelato ($3.32–$5.30) in flavors such as cantaloupe or green tea white chocolate, as well As fruit-infused sorbets such as blueberry zinfandel, forest berry, and guava strawberry.