Smokin Joes BBQ heaps plates of beef brisket, St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork and other menu items slathered in sauce that’s at once sweet, tangy, tart, and spicy. Other sauces include the spicy barbecue, sweet and tangy mustard sauce, and the Carolina sauce, which blends vinegar, brown sugar, and a hint of cayenne pepper ideal for whole-hog cooking. Signature milkshakes cool off the tongue with inventively sweet flavors, such as the birthday cake shake with Funfetti cake mix, milk, and vanilla ice cream. Smokin Joes can also cater for events such as company picnics, class reunions, and weddings, especially weddings where they toast with barbecue sauce instead of champagne.
Throughout the summer months, el Camino's rooftop garden blossoms with organic cilantro and mint leaves, providing ultra-fresh accouterments for the eatery's Mexican feasts. And though the small garden doesn’t cultivate all of el Camino’s ingredients, the rest of the bounty originates not too far from Highland. For example, the eatery's chefs stuff housemade tamales, tacos, and other lunch and dinner specialties with all-natural chicken, beef, and pork from local vendor Anderson Meats. They create guacamole, salsa, and each and every dessert completely from scratch, using produce supplied by two Colorado companies, Red Hat Foods and Arroyo Produce. Beyond supporting the local economy, el Camino tries to preserve the entire ecosystem by operating on 100% wind power and recycling all of its cans, bottles, and cardboard cutouts of Al Gore.
While satisfying hunger with decadent, locally sourced food, including a daily brunch, el Camino sates rippling thirsts for both beer and entertainment. The bar pours drafts from the likes of Del Norte, Avery, and Great Divide breweries, and mixes up potent bloody marys, mimosas, and sangria. Every night of the week brings a different treat, such as $1 street tacos on Tuesday and the Tito Del Barrio Malaga flamenco band every Saturday.
Pizza Public’s dining area takes on two different looks during any given business day: it’s a family-oriented "craft" pizzeria by day and turns into a full lounge and bar at night. Amid soft lights and flat-screen TVs, daytime diners and families nibble on house pizzas fresh from the kitchen that can be decked out in traditional pepperoni or more daring toppings such as goat cheese or mango. When the sun goes down, the eatery’s bar comes to life as patrons sip on cocktails or a large selection of Colorado craft beers. The full menu is available all day, with gluten-free options for all pizzas and a tapas list that includes bruschetta and the eatery’s inventive prosciutto puffers.
The feel of a classic saloon with wood-slat flooring and a wood-topped bar invites patrons in for a cold pint and a comforting burger. The menu opens with a prologue of starters such as the southwestern-chicken egg rolls infused with chicken, black beans, corn, spinach, and jack cheese ($6.95) and fried-pickle spears ($5.95) for staving off hunger's vanguard. Try your hand at a sandwich such as the bagel Reuben ($8.25) or heft a vegetarian-black-bean burger served with southwestern slaw ($6.25). Diners can also be the architects of their own burger ($4.95), starting with a choice of 15 add-ons ($0.75+ each)—including fried egg, goat cheese, applewood bacon, and brie—before attempting to build an entire city out of ground beef. When the sun shines, many guests find seats in an outdoor patio reminiscent of a German beer garden as they drain a glass of sudsy sustenance.
The main dining room at Vita is a chic, lofty space that could easily pass for an art gallery if it weren't for the tables, chairs, and neatly folded white napkins. Collections from local artists are displayed on the walls and available for purchase, but most people are here to order up cocktails and modern American food—not paintings. The menu is divided into shareable small plates, such as upscale sliders, calamari, and housemade mozzarella with olive bread, and larger entrees that include steaks, fish, and vegetarian risotto. Weekend brunches offer benedicts and sandwiches, as well as mimosas, bloody marys, and bellinis by the glass and carafe. Vita's rooftop terrace is well known for its open-air dining and martinis garnished with moonbeams. The restaurant hosts live music Friday and Saturday evenings, and in the summer, musicians take to the upper deck in a sunset concert series.