Much like its siblings Thai Kitchens 1 and 2, Thai Kitchen 3 can be identified by the distinctive aroma of sizzling garlic and fresh basil that wafts out through its door. In the kitchen, chefs fold fresh seafood, meats, and vegetables into savory curries, nutty noodle dishes, and fiery stir-fries. All meals are made by adhering to time-honored traditional Thai recipes, which favor spicy chili peppers, creamy coconut milk, and tangy ginger root. Servers bring plates of noodles and bowls of soup into the dining room, where guests await their meals as they sip on Thai iced coffee in cushy booths amid warm red and yellow walls. Other diners sit perched on tall red bar stools as they order a cocktail or demonstrate how many times they can twirl around in a circle without even getting dizzy.
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.
Big Daddy Bagels' friendly staff mixes, boils, and bakes more than 15 New York–style bagels ($0.85 each) and concocts 17 cream cheese varietals ($2.35–$3.25) daily. The New Yorker piles on plain cream cheese, lox, capers, red onion, and tomato ($6.99), and the Boulderite Wrap houses black bean hummus, avocado, red onion, cucumber, tomato, and sprouts ($6.50) in a culinary inn. Freshly baked muffins ($1.75), cinnamon rolls ($2.25), and jumbo cookies ($1.75) support a cast of custom smoothies ($2.99), packed with a choice of two fruits, a juice, and optional protein powder ($.99). The chronically fatigued can boost brain waves or steam open envelopes at Big Daddy's full espresso bar, which serves an Americano ($1 for 12 oz.), cappuccino, ($2.25 for 12 oz.), and iced mocha ($3.25).
Rumbi Island's menu swiftly serves tropics-inspired fare stocked with flavors that run the gamut of Pacific to Caribbean culinary traditions, artfully sidestepping the haughty Atlantic. Customizable rice bowls (half sizes starting at $6.99, full sizes starting at $7.99) fill grumbling stomachs with their choice of protein (chicken, Luau pork, organic tofu, and more) and handcrafted sauce, like the soylicious Hawaiian teriyaki or the sweet, spicy Jamaican jerk. Take a monster bite into the Kahuna burger ($6.99), with two ground-beef patties marinated in teriyaki sauce and crowned with grilled pineapple. All sandwiches come potently paired with your preference of Rumbi fries (mix of sweet potato and regular fries) or chips and tropical salsa. Herbivores can don lettuce-strung leis with the Aloha chicken salad ($7.99), featuring a robust blend of diced mango, gorgonzola, and creamy mango-passion vinaigrette.
Craft beers flow through the taps lining Pizza Bar 66's unassuming counter, reflecting the Technicolor glint of the sports games broadcasted on televisions arrayed behind the bartenders. From a kitchen hidden beyond a wall coated with pennants and team memorabilia, chefs bake fresh pizzas and calzones to order, piling unusual toppings such as beets, goat cheese, and celery alongside staple morsels of pepperoni and bacon. Aspiring singers unleash streams of quarter notes from their pipes on Wednesday and Friday karaoke nights, and the kitchen whips up kids-only specials such as dinosaur bites and deep-fried report cards on Monday evenings. Regular performances by dueling DJs and local musicians enrich the atmosphere with danceable beats, rock riffs, and jazzy hooks.
Joe’s knows its specialties: Steak, Italian, and Cocktails. Steak dinners are served alongside traditional vegetables and potatoes, or a more unique choice of ravioli or spaghetti. The popular steaks can also be served on a sourdough baguette or in a salad with crumbles of Bleu cheese. Pasta entrees pair with eight different sauces, including pesto cream and white clam. Other classic Italian dishes range from chicken parmigiana to the shareable grilled artichokes dunked in lemon aioli. Inside the dining room, starburst lighting illuminates tan and exposed brick walls.