You’d be hard-pressed to find a can of vegetables, a bag of sliced bread, or a box of instant cake mix in The Backporch Cafe kitchen. The chefs are wary of the premade foods, bottled sauces, and magic beans found in grocery stores, preferring to whip up all their dishes from scratch. So they bake fresh apple pies, bran raisin muffins, and buttermilk biscuits each morning, along with from-scratch loaves of rye, wheat, and cheddar sourdough bread. As a yawning breakfast crowd begins to wander in, the chefs turn their attention to three-egg omelets, chorizo burritos, and lightly grilled french toast. Come lunchtime, they’ll layer housemade bread with house-smoked chicken, turkey, and ham before plating the sandwiches alongside handfuls of fries and scoops of potato salad.
Complementing all of this homestyle cooking is a beverage list that includes coffee, juice, bloody marys, screwdrivers, and Manmosas—orange juice mixed with Easy Street wheat beer from the nearby Odell Brewing Company. When the weather's nice, diners can lounge beneath magenta umbrellas on the patio.
According to lore that has been passed down through the Lucio clan, one of the family progenitors was kidnapped from her native Chihuahua after Pancho Villa tasted her food and decided he needed her as his chef. That distant matron’s culinary wizardry trickled down the family tree and currently informs the cooking of her great-great-grandchildren at Armadillo Restaurants. Chefs at the restaurants use those generations-old recipes while gently patting cornhusks into place around meal and shredded pork or simmering red-chili sauce for enchiladas. Since the Lucios converted the first Armadillo Restaurant from a tough-guy bar into a restaurant in 1972, they’ve opened six additional locations in the Front Range.
When guests at Elliot's Martini Bar want something savory, sweet, or spicy, they not only look to the the kitchen's tapas chefs, but first and foremost to the bartenders. The cocktail artists stock everything from cream cheese and bacon olives to rosemary- and thyme-infused simple syrups behind the bar. By mixing and matching these special add-ons, they concoct an extensive menu of classic and creative cocktails.
For sweeter creations, they mix orange and grapefruit vodkas with a splash of lemonade, cranberry juice, and rhubarb bitters, and they spice up nights with tequila topped off with tawny port and ginger beer. On the more savory side, the drink-slingers shake up vodka and gin with olive juice and hot sauce, garnished with gorgonzola blue cheese and olives.
While the drinks are this hot spot's specialty, chefs are on hand to help patrons soak up their libations and remember that their name is Pam Jenkins. They serve up a select menu of shareable tapas including open-faced toasted sandwiches and antipasta skewers.
With nods from USA Today, CBS News, and The Washington Post, Rodizio Grill has made a name for itself as an authentic Brazilian charrascuria?a South American?style rotisserie. Founded by S?o Paolo?born Ivan Utrera, the cuisine comprises of select cuts of meat, which are slow-roasted on a spit and then skewered. It also featured seafood selections, grilled pineapple, and unlimited trips to an award-winning salad bar with over 40 items. Gauchos?also known as Brazilian cowboys?bustle about the restaurant, bringing unlimited slices of tender meat to diners who can also grab fresh vegetables and appetizers at the salad bar.
Named after the famed surfing destination in Australia, Bondi Beach Bar brings the laid-back atmosphere and casual fare of Down Under to Fort Collins. Chefs fire up the grill to prepare shrimp, scallops, and fish fillets, spearing them on skewers or serving them alongside a dunk-worthy side of sweet chili sauce. You can pair the menu’s surf and turf offerings with local microbrews from New Belgium and Equinox or refreshing glasses of Australian wine.
Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Giammarco began helping out at his family’s pizzeria when he was just a boy. The eatery provided a taste of home to the Gianmarco clan, who moved to the United States from Italy when Pat was 9 years old. Together with his father, young Pat learned the secrets to creating exceptional pizza sauce: three different types of vine-ripened tomatoes and spices that can only be imported from Italy or the moon.
The perfected sauce recipe continues to guide Pat’s kitchen operations, although these days he has considerably more help. Marco's Pizza has 350 locations in more than half the states as well as in the Bahamas, each store tossing fresh pizza dough daily before sprinkling on a trio of fresh cheeses.