When 5280 magazine ran a feature on local chefs’ upscale versions of oatmeal, DJ's 9th Avenue Cafe was the first eatery mentioned. Unlike his peers’ signature concoctions, Chef Devin Stallings’s version pairs a plain portion of organic, irish steel-cut oats with servings of pistachios, dried dates, cranberries, brown sugar, and milk, which diners can add however they see fit. The laid-back, collaborative approach to cuisine is emblematic of Devin’s work at DJ's, which the Denver Post praises for “simple, thoughtfully prepared and relatively wholesome food.”
At breakfast, those wholesome dishes include crab-cake benedicts and french toast stuffed with peanut butter and jelly; a weekend brunch menu expands upon those offerings with housemade chicken pot pie. For lunch, Devin and his team smoke pork in-house before adding it to Cuban-style sandwiches with dijon mustard and sliced pickles, as well as grill half-pound, handmade burgers that diners can crown with their choice of toppings.
Winner of numerous accolades from the readers of the Springs Gazette and the Independent, Josh & John's has firmly established itself as a local favorite. Each scoop of the shop's ice cream is fresh, often churned just hours before, and made without hormone-filled, artificially beefed-up dairy products. Like the seasons, special flavors come and go by the day or week, but popular stalwarts such as yellow cake, chocolate-chip-cookie dough, and oatmeal cookie hold down the creamy fort. Toppings such as fresh whipped cream, nuts, fruit, or house-crafted caramel add an extra dash of flavor.
Decorated with pastel and chrome creamery gear and an open chalkboard filled with doodles, Josh & John's is as local as an ice-cream parlor can get, unless it?s located inside an actual local resident. Every day, the friendly staff puts up a new trivia question for patrons to answer, and if you come in on cold, rainy, or snowy days, you'll get bonus punches on your Ice Creamometer card. Josh & John's is also celebrating the opening of a new location in Mountain Shadows.
The Wetzel name wasn’t always a source of pride. As a kid, Rick Wetzel grew accustomed to hearing, “Hey Wetzel, you pretzel!” on the playground. But the teasing inspired a quest for the tastiest soft pretzel, one that eventually blossomed into Wetzel’s Pretzels. After years in Nestle’s marketing department, Rick and coworker Bill Phelps channeled Rick’s soft-pretzel recipe into a chain of shops. They make hand-rolled, oven-baked pretzels that sit for only 30 minutes before being sold or chucked, an example that might be in the dictionary under "fresh," if Babe Ruth using his bat as a pool cue weren't already there. And though the buttered and salted Wetzel’s Original still occupies a spot on the menu, a flurry of imaginative flavors fills its other slots, from Sinful Cinnamon to Jalaroni, a cheesy pretzel scattered with pepperoni and jalapeños.
Cold Stone's ice cream inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. The ice cream generously welcomes dozens of toppings, as traditional as crumbled cookies and chopped nuts or as quirky as granola and black licorice. Choose your favorite ice cream from among dozens of silky flavors, such as Irish cream and butter pecan. Then make certain no one will try and steal a taste by topping it protectively with brownies, gumballs, and cherry pie filling. Whatever Frankencream you create, it'll be scooped cold off the grill into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl. Cold Stone's ice cream and toppings vary between seasons and location, and they also offer sorbet and an array of lighter toppings such as fruit and honey. Ice-cream creations run between $4 and $6, depending on size.
Three green leaves and a small, blooming bud rest upon the globe. It?s an appropriate logo for Wystone's World Teas, given that they carry more than 150 loose and whole-leaf teas from around the world. These are the ingredients the tea bar?s teatenders use to craft beverages such as Japanese green teas. Tea also spills over into the bar's menu which includes a tea infused oatmeal, grilled pear salad, and turkey sandwich. The sweet notes of the beverage even flavor such desserts as the African Rooibos carrot cakes, which come topped with Caramel Rooibos?tea cream frosting.
Private and daily tea tastings give guests the chance to learn about the drink's preparation, origin, and three purest forms: dry leaf, infused leaf, and leaf that looks a little like Larry Bird. During these one-hour sessions, participants sip on five to seven different teas while snacking on chocolate, cheese, and fruit. Wystone also sells teapots and glassware in-store and online and gives back to the community by donating a portion of their profits to the local nonprofits they feature in their store on weekdays.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers? exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location?s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.