Best Of 2006

Favorite

Best Food & Drink 

Best

Overall Restaurant

Steakhouse

Restaurant for Carnivores

American Cuisine Gold The Famous Steakhouse 31 N. Tejon St., 227-7333

restauranteur.com/famous People flock to The Famous day and night, be it for shrimp and crab Louis salads and head-sized burgers at lunch, or the superstar aged, prime steaks at dinner. But it takes more than massive slabs of marbled meat to make the best overall restaurant. Stiff drinks, dark woods, rich leathers and the dulcet tones of Tony Bennett and The Chairman bring a certain swagger. Toss in a potent protein-induced testosterone surge and it's no wonder this swanky joint stole our readers' hearts. DTR Overall Restaurant Silver The Blue Star 1645 S. Tejon St., 632-1086

thebluestar.net Bronze Briarhurst Manor 404 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1864

briarhurst.com Steakhouse Silver Texas Roadhouse 595 S. Eighth St., 473-9711

3120 N. Powers Blvd., 638-8050

texasroadhouse.com Bronze Steaksmith 3802 Maizeland Road, 596-9300

steaksmith.com Restaurant for Carnivores Silver Texas Roadhouse 595 S. Eighth St., 473-9711

3120 N. Powers Blvd., 638-8050

texasroadhouse.com Bronze MacKenzie's Chop House 128 S. Tejon St., 635-3536

restauranteur.com/mackenzieschophouse.com American Cuisine Silver Phantom Canyon Brewing Company 2 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 635-2800

phantomcanyon.com Bronze Dewey's American Grill 4659 Centennial Blvd., 262-9100

deweysamericangrill.com Best New Restaurant

Tapas Gold Metropolitain 101 N. Tejon St., 302-0280

restauranteur.com/metropolitain Downtown has gone uptown with the arrival of Metropolitain, a swank Manhattan-style lounge and restaurant. Reminiscent of The Famous, Colorado Springs' only true Chicago-style steakhouse, the Met fills the niche of a more refined New York restaurant: Think eclectic evening fare, rather than a more staid meat-and-potatoes approach. Constructed in the former home of Mataam Fez, the underground Met has a grotto-like feel with a dark, hip, modern decor that's great for impressing dates or business associates. The ample lounge is well-suited for martini sipping. GE New Restaurant Silver Rock Bottom Brewery 3316 Cinema Point, 550-3586

rockbottom.com Bronze Salsa Brava Fresh Mexican Grill 802 Village Center Drive, 266-9244

salsabravaonline.com Tapas Silver The Blue Star 1645 S. Tejon St., 632-1086

thebluestar.net Bronze Shuga's Restaurant Bar 702 S. Cascade Ave., 328-1412

shugas.com Best Innovative Menu

Restaurant Wine List Gold The Blue Star 1645 S. Tejon St., 632-1086

thebluestar.net Whenever you find a glossary and pronunciation guide at the bottom the menu, you know the kitchen is keeping close to the cutting edge. Ditto for a wine list that can be only corralled in a steel-covered three-ring binder. Bottles trot in from across the globe and the kitchen travels from France to India and back, stopping in Asia for Chinese-style crispy duck and Chef Davis' Louisiana homestead for soft-shell crabs and jambalaya. Sunday nights bring the chance to pair your dinner with an exotic wine at half the price so send your tongue on a world tour. DTR Innovative Menu Silver Metropolitain 101 N. Tejon St., 302-0280

restauranteur.com/metropolitain Bronze Blue Vervain 56 Park Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-2400

bluevervain.com Restaurant Wine List Silver The Famous Steakhouse 31 N. Tejon St., 227-7333

restauranteur.com/famous

Bronze MacKenzie's Chop House 128 S. Tejon St., 635-3536

restauranteur.com/mackenzieschophousecom Best Fine Dining Gold Blue Vervain 56 Park Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-2400

bluevervain.com No longer the new kids on the block, the cooking Christensens are redefining fine dining with their friendly atmosphere and world-class dishes. Pleasant surroundings, professional service and flawless execution anchor Blue Vervain's command performance. Follow haricots verts, beets, chimichurri-sauced steaks and fish with seasonal, creative and delicious desserts. DTR Silver The Pepper Tree Restaurant 888 W. Moreno Ave., 471-4888

peppertreecs.com Bronze The Blue Star 1645 S. Tejon St., 632-1086

thebluestar.net Best Caf

Restaurant for Herbivores Gold Adam's Mountain Caf 110 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1430

adamsmountain.com This cozy caf exudes rustic Victorian charm. The exposed ceiling beams, inventive French doors and subtly mismatched chairs underscore Adam's ability to balance class with an utter lack of pretension. The menu shows deference for fresh ingredients, whole grains and regional nuances without being overly chichi. The Senegalese vegetables are not to be missed, the salmon is smoked in-house and their breakfasts are a local institution. "Their pancakes are out of this world," reveals Manitou Springs Mayor Marcy Morrison. "It's a warm, homey atmosphere, it's friendly and the wait staff is very attentive."

Visit Adam's in its new, more spacious, creek-side location in the historic Manitou Spa building as of this December. AB Caf Silver Shuga's Restaurant Bar 702 S. Cascade Ave., 328-1412

shugas.com Bronze La Baguette Four locations

restauranteur.com/co/cs/deli.htm Restaurant for Herbivores Silver Souper Salad 3636 Citadel Drive, 597-6124

1434 Kelly Johnson Blvd., 533-0614

808 Garden of the Gods Road, 277-0687

soupersalad.com Bronze Gertrude's Restaurant 2625 W. Colorado Ave., 471-0887

gertrudesrestaurant.com Best Barbecue Gold

Front Range Barbeque 2330 W. Colorado Ave., 632-2596

4935 Templeton Gap Road, 598-8895

frontrangebarbeque.com Though Front Range Barbeque's tender pulled chicken and Kobe beef burgers have won acclaim among the city's most persnickety carnivores, it's the finer details that keep the rest of us coming back. Located in a small Old Colorado City house, this homey restaurant serves plates with crunchy fried onion bits and a sweet cornbread muffin. NZ

Silver Red Hot & Blue 4290 N. Academy Blvd., 592-0300

redhotandblue.com Bronze Slayton's Barbeque & Creamery 806 Village Center Drive, 266-5300

slaytonsbbq.com Best Sunday Brunch Gold Sunbird Restaurant 230 Point of the Pines Drive, 598-8990 The restaurant's awe-inspiring hilltop location lets you look down on the rest of Colorado Springs as you dine. Feel the power as you enjoy the buffet featuring a pasta, omelet and fajita bar, two walls of desserts, fresh fruits and salads, carving stations, juice bar, seafood and more (with champagne included!). JET Silver The Lake Terrace Dining Room at The Broadmoor 1 Lake Circle, 577-5733

broadmoor.com Bronze Cheyenne Mountain Resort " Mountain View Dining Room 3225 Broadmoor Valley Road, 538-4000

cheyennemountain.com Best Wait Staff

Patio Dining

Bar for a Margarita Gold Jose Muldoon's 222 N. Tejon St., 636-2311

josemuldoons.com According to co-owner Luke Travins, Jose Muldoon was a legendary gunslinger and tequila aficionado with an Irish-American father and a Mexican mother. The tequila-aficionado part definitely explains Jose's expertise in the margarita realm. Travins claims there's no secret ingredient "just quality tequila and premium sweet and sour mix, combined with fresh-squeezed limes."

So maybe it's the family atmosphere and incredibly friendly servers that make us come back again. Or maybe locals and tourists are charmed by the festive spirit that spills out to the streets during summer. Or is it the lush back patio? Ponder it over a plate of nachos, a margarita and fried ice cream, perhaps? BS Wait Staff Silver (tie) The Blue Star 1645 S. Tejon St., 632-1086

thebluestar.net Ritz Grill 15 S. Tejon St., 635-8484

ritzgrill.com Bronze Southside Johnny's 528 S. Tejon St., 444-8487

southsidejohnnys.biz Patio Dining Silver Amanda's Fonda Mexican Restaurant 3625 W. Colorado Ave., 227-1975

amandasfonda.com Bronze The Margarita at PineCreek 7350 Pine Creek Road, 598-8667

restauranteur.com/margaritapinecreekcom Bar for a Margarita Silver The Loop 965 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9344

theloopatmanitou.com Bronze Sonterra Grill 28 S. Tejon St., 471-9222

sonterragrill.com Best Restaurant for Kids that Isn't Fast Food Gold Red Robin Four locations

redrobin.com Kids know what they like, and so does Red Robin a full kids' menu, plus "adult" menu items like freckled lemonade, bottomless french fries, 25 burger choices and monstrous malts. Parents can relax while kids enjoy play-'til-you-win arcade games, helium balloons and, if they're lucky, a visit from Red Robin himself. JET Silver Poor Richard's Restaurant 324 N. Tejon St., 632-7721 Bronze Fargo's Pizza Co. 2910 E. Platte Ave., 473-5540

fargospizza.com Best Restaurant for Tourists Gold

Phantom Canyon Brewing Company 2 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 635-2800

phantomcanyon.com Make sure your pub crawl includes a pint at Phantom Canyon; you can view what's on tap monthly at their Web site. The menu lavishes patrons with an eclectic cuisine, featuring eats such as pizza, fish and chips, fondue and bread pudding. Hop upstairs and shoot some pool to complete a lovely evening. TS Silver Craftwood Inn 404 El Paso Blvd., Manitou Springs, 685-9000

craftwoodinn.com Bronze The Wines of Colorado 8045 W. U.S. Hwy. 24, Cascade, 684-0900

winesofcolorado.com Best

Place for a Wedding Reception Gold

Briarhurst Manor 404 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1864

briarhurst.com If romance were a place, it would be Briarhurst Manor. The fantastic food is matched only by the beauty of the historic building and grounds. Whether your reception includes two or 250 guests, the manor offers an intimate, elegant feel in a fairy-tale setting at the foot of Pikes Peak. JET Silver The Broadmoor Hotel 1 Lake Circle 634-7711

broadmoor.com Bronze Craftwood Inn 404 El Paso Blvd., Manitou Springs, 685-9000

craftwoodinn.com Best Chinese Food Gold

P.F. Chang's 1725 Briargate Pkwy., 593-8580

pfchangs.com The Web site calls this restaurant a "stylish, high-energy bistro." But don't spend all your time power-walking in your electric yellow jumpsuit; the food will keep you busy enough. There's a whole section on the menu devoted to Sichuan, a region in China where the food is spicy and saucy. Yum. FG Silver Silver Pond Chinese Restaurant 5670 N. Academy Blvd., 594-9343

bestsilverpondchinese.com Bronze China Village Restaurant 203 N. Union Blvd., 475-8299 Best Chips and salsa

Enchiladas

Mexican Food Gold

Amanda's Fonda Mexican Restaurant 3625 W. Colorado Ave., 227-1975 With a menu culled from a collection of family recipes spread all over Mexico through five generations, there is no reproducing a meal from Amanda's Fonda. Nine years in business attest to the success of its steaming enchiladas and bottomless chips and salsa, to say nothing of its beautiful creekside locale. Amanda's Fonda draws in a regular crowd of locals, and, in a rare double-play, can claim to be a favorite tourist spot. The restaurant is planning a menu update in the near future, but don't worry it won't drop what keeps you coming back. LP Chips and Salsa Silver Salsa Brava Fresh Mexican Grill 802 Village Center Drive, 266-9244

salsabravaonline.com Bronze Jose Muldoon's 222 N. Tejon St., 636-2311

josemuldoons.com Enchiladas Silver Jose Muldoon's 222 N. Tejon St., 636-2311

josemuldoons.com Bronze The Loop 965 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9344

theloopatmanitou.com Mexican Food Silver The Loop 965 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9344

theloopatmanitou.com Bronze 3 Margaritas 3956 N. Academy Blvd., 573-5065

6385 N. Academy Blvd., 532-1743

310 S. Academy Blvd., 596-5414

3margaritas.net Best Fondue Gold

Mona Lisa Gourmet Caf & Fondue 733 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-0277

monalisafondue.com Mona Lisa's smiling because her after-work social hour visited the no-reservations-required wine cellar for a wine tasting, followed by fondue in the upstairs quarters. The Mona Lisa's homey atmosphere, along with roughly 150 varieties of wine and heavenly cheeses, evokes a playfulness that calls for double dipping. TS Silver The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant 30-A E. Pikes Peak Ave., 385-0300

meltingpot.com Bronze None Best French Food Gold

La Petite Maison 1015 W. Colorado Ave., 632-4887

restauranteur.com/maison Hidden in plain sight on Colorado Avenue in Old Colorado City, La Petite Maison quietly goes about serving some of the city's finest cuisine. The ambience of the Victorian cottage lends itself to a dining experience that employees and, probably, countless diners describe as "good food and good wine ... a perfect match." KB Silver La Creperie Bistro 204 N. Tejon St., 632-0984 Bronze La Baguette Four locations

restauranteur.com/co/cs/deli.htm Best German Food Gold

Edelweiss Restaurant 34 E. Ramona Ave., 633-2220

edelweissrest.com If zigeunerschnitzel, spiessbraten, spatzle and Weihenstephan look like word scrambles to you, it's high time you haul your hinterende over to Edelweiss for a lesson in Deutsch. Whether it's lunch, dinner, dessert or rounds of rich German beer, they'll have you saying ein mehr in no time. CSB Silver Uwe's German Restaurant 31 N. Iowa Ave., 475-1611 Bronze Old Heidelberg Pastry Shop & Caf 1109 S. Tejon St., 634-1052

3609 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 536-0979 Best Greek Food Gold

Jake and Telly's 2616 W. Colorado Ave., 633-0406

greekdining.com Since 1997, Jake & Telly's has helped us swirl an expertly recommended wine to compliment perfectly cooked lamb. The second-story patio has allowed us to look down on the foolish people who pass by J&T's, completely oblivious to the caliber of tzatziki sauce they so callously breeze by. SK Silver Zorbadillo's Heavenly Greek and Mexican 604 S. Union Blvd., 447-9290 Bronze Caspian Caf 4375 Sinton Road, 528-1155

caspiancafe.com Best Green Chili Gold

King's Chef Diner 110 E. Costilla St., 634-9135

kingschefdiner.com King's Chef isn't shy about pouring the best green chili in town over anything you so please. The taste lures you in while the spice knocks you down. I'll never forget my server's amusement when I took my first bite and peppered the chili with compliments in between panicked gulps of spice-dulling coffee. SK Silver Western Omelette Restaurant 16 S. Walnut St., 636-2286 Bronze El Taco Rey 330 E. Colorado Ave., 475-9722 Best Indian Food Gold

Taste of India 4820 Flintridge Drive, 598-3428

tasteofindiasprings.com Indian cuisine is like a warm hug from an old friend. Every time I eat it, I get all sappy and jovial. I go for the veggie dishes: saag paneer, bengan-bhurtha and aloo gobi are all exquisite when scooped with garlic naan and onion kulcha. And don't get me started on the mango shakes ... MS Silver Mirch Masala 5047 N. Academy Blvd., 599-0003

mirchmasalacuisine.com Bronze Everest Nepal Restaurant 28 E. Bijou St., 473-3890 Best Italian Food Gold

Paravicini's Italian Bistro 2802 W. Colorado Ave., 471-8200

paravicinis.com "We have a lot of signature dishes that have a home-cooked feel," says manager Sarah Passow. Paravicini's offers a bevy of seafood choices, a lavish variety of enticing cream sauces and veal cooked eight different ways. It also offers monthly cooking classes on-site. Look forward to opening a new location in Palmer Lake soon. AB Silver Luigi's Homemade Italian Food 947 S. Tejon St., 632-7339

luigiscoloradosprings.com Bronze Carrabba's Italian Grill 2815 Geyser Drive, 527-1126

7120 Campus Drive, 264-0401

carrabbas.com Best Japanese Food

Sushi Gold

Jun 1760 Dublin Blvd., 531-9368

3276 Centennial Blvd., 227-8690 Jun has been voted Best Sushi for 10 consecutive years, and for good reason. The hardwood sushi bar, the chef's expertise with a knife and the warm dcor all make for a unique and welcoming dining experience. Start with some miso soup and then go all-out with the fresh sea eel, California maki and spicy tuna. SK Japanese Food Silver Ai Sushi Four locations, independently owned Bronze Musashi 1765 N. Academy Blvd., 597-0634 Sushi Silver Ai Sushi

Four locations, independently owned Bronze Fujiyama 28 S. Tejon St., Suite A, 630-1167 Best Noodle Bowl Gold

Noodles & Company 7234 N. Academy Blvd., 264-0022

1812 Southgate Road, 385-0800

noodles.com Whether you're looking for comfort food to eat all by yourself, or you want to create your own Lady and the Tramp moment with a significant other, Noodles & Company has you covered. They go global and al dente on noodles, and serve you your stroganoff or stir-fry with a smile. KW Silver Saigon Caf 20 E. Colorado Ave., 633-2888 Bronze An Nam Vietnamese and Chinese

Restaurant 6928 Mesa Ridge Pkwy., 390-8700 Best Margarita Gold

The Loop 965 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9344

theloopatmanitou.com Me, I'm a Cadillac Margarita man an ounce of Grand Marnier with my tequila and lime. The Loop offers a slew of other specialty margaritas to fall in love with (none of them named for spacious cars). And the best part about 'em is they're big and sweet, like a hippopotamus rolled in sugar. MS Silver Jose Muldoon's 222 N. Tejon St., 636-2311

josemuldoons.com Bronze Amanda's Fonda Mexican Restaurant 3625 W. Colorado Ave., 227-1975

amandasfonda.com Best Middle Eastern Food Gold

Caspian Caf 4375 Sinton Road, 528-1155

caspiancafe.com Chef Daniel White pleases local palates with Mediterranean meals varying from French and Greek classics, such as steak Nicoise and gyros to Middle Eastern dishes like falafel and shish taouk. The Caspian Caf has a full-service bar and private dining area available for banquets. Come at 7 p.m. on Thursday or Saturday to fill your belly while live dancers shimmy theirs. TD Silver Mediterranean Caf 118 E. Kiowa St., 633-0115 Bronze Tajine Alami 10 Old Man's Trail, Manitou Springs, 685-1119

tajinealami.com Best Tacqueria Gold

Monica's Taco Shop 30 E. Fillmore St., 473-1996

5829 Palmer Park Blvd., 597-7022 Monica's menu is something of a matrix diners choose their meat and a delivery system. Reigning over this kingdom of choice is the carne asada burrito, a fresh tortilla loaded with grilled steak and nothing more. No beans or rice detract from this greasy-in-a-good-way cylinder of joy. DTR Silver El Taco Rey 330 E. Colorado Ave., 475-9722 Bronze La Casita Patio Caf Four locations

restauranteur.com/lacasitapatiocafecom Best Tex-Mex Food Gold

Texas Roadhouse 595 S. Eighth St., 473-9711

3120 N. Powers Blvd., 638-8050

texasroadhouse.com Texas may not be its home, and fried jalapeo slices may be the only remotely Mexican menu item, but readers call it the best Tex-Mex in town. Perhaps this Indiana chain's family-friendly environment, longhorn flavors (steak and barbecued ribs), Texas-sized portions and reasonable prices distracted y'all. DTR Silver La Casita Patio Caf Four locations

restauranteur.com/lacasitapatiocafecom Bronze Sonterra Grill 28 S. Tejon St., 471-9222

sonterragrill.com Best Thai Food Gold

Wild Ginger 3020 W. Colorado Ave., 634-5025 So the recent coup in Thailand is something for table talk these days. While the outcome takes shape, why not indulge in Thai delicacies and see what owner extraordinaire Khon has to say about it? Rest assured, she'll find a way to make you laugh over an outstanding curry coconut dish or one of Wild Ginger's other addictive and annually award-winning dishes. MS Silver Little Bangkok 109 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 442-6546 Bronze Bhan Thai 1025 N. Academy Blvd., 574-3401

bhanthai.net Best Vietnamese Food Gold

Saigon Caf 20 E. Colorado Ave., 633-2888 The unassuming dcor of this eatery belies the fact that these talented chefs have been expanding the palates of downtown for years. The juxtaposition of hot foods with crisp, fresh vegetables, and the inventive use of tender herbs and tantalizing sauces it's all so good that anyone who doesn't get a bi-monthly craving for Saigon Caf probably just hasn't eaten there yet. BS Silver Saigon Grill 3119 W. Colorado Ave., 635-0336 Bronze Saigon Springs 3408 N. Academy Blvd., 597-1175 Best Deli Gold

Wooglin's Deli 823 N. Tejon St., 578-9443 CC kids, downtown business folks, hipsters and families love the large sandwiches, homemade soups and pastries here. Don't forget the bagel melts, which simply cannot be duplicated at home. But let's also applaud Wooglin's for its newest addition: the graffiti mural that changes every couple of months. BS Silver Broadway Deli 7170 N. Academy Blvd., 535-9944 Bronze Jason's Deli 7455 N. Academy Blvd., 302-0234

jasonsdeli.com Best Buffet Gold

Golden Corral 1970 Waynoka Road, 591-9870 If you want to see anyone doing as the Romans did i.e., eating, throwing up, and eating again Golden Corral is your best bet. Meats, breads, macaroni, desserts ... the sweet and salty cornucopia just keeps on giving. Get in there. Leave your belt and pride behind. KW Silver Country Buffet 7665 N. Academy Blvd., 590-9241

751 N. Academy Blvd., 574-1444

countrybuffet.com Bronze Empire Asian Buffet 5760 N. Academy Blvd., 548-0334 Best Diner Gold

Gunther Toody's 5490 E. Woodmen Road, 548-1955

5794 Palmer Park Blvd., 570-1952

gunthertoodys.com Stepping into 1950s-inspired Gunther Toody's is less like traveling back in time than going to your kid sister's birthday party. But that's what's so entertaining about this sock-hop of a restaurant, where "Flo" and "Archie" serve you giant burgers with "Elvis fries." A tub of Bazooka bubble gum 5 cents apiece graces each entrance, along with the rare resting hula hoop. NZ Silver King's Chef Diner 110 E. Costilla St., 634-9135

kingschefdiner.com Bronze Ruby's Diner 3020 New Center Point, 380-7829

rubys.com Best Take-Out Gold

The Pita Pit 8 E. Bijou St., 634-1748

773 Garden of the Gods Road, 277-7482

pitapitusa.com Founded in 1995 near Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, the Pita Pit franchise provides custom-made pita shells stuffed with falafel, meats or veggies and specialty sauces. The Pita Pit opened its 100th U.S. location this year, helping folks everywhere to scrumptious and affordable take-out. TS Silver Papa Murphy's Six locations

papamurphys.com Bronze Chipotle Seven locations

chipotle.com Best Late-Night Dining Gold

Denny's Six locations

dennys.com For a slammin' breakfast, a classic burger mounded with fries or a little somethin' sweet 24 hours a day, point your headlights toward the bright yellow and red Denny's sign rising just above the horizon. Top off your snack with their bottomless cup of special-blend coffee, and late night at Denny's quickly becomes early morning. CSB Silver Metropolitain 101 N. Tejon St., 302-0280

restauranteur.com/metropolitain Bronze McCabe's Tavern 520 S. Tejon St., 633-3300

mccabestavern.com Best Local Pizza Gold

Louie's Pizza Five locations

louies-pizza.com Now in their 21st year of family-owned and -operated business (finally, legal drinking!), Louie's has established a proud pentagonal pizza domination of the Springs. Specialty pizzas like the chicken Alfredo and taco pizza make Louie's stand out from the usual pack of cheesy pie-slingers. MS Silver Borriello Brothers Pizza 215 E. Platte Ave., 578-9312 Bronze Poor Richard's Restaurant 324 N. Tejon St., 632-7721 Best Chain Pizza Gold

Pizza Hut 13 locations

pizzahut.com Considering the finicky disposition of most coupon-clippers and deal-watchers, it's no small feat to nab the honor of best pizza chain. There's a lot of competition among the delivery joints; it takes more than promotional stunts to win the public's heart. It takes good, consistent pizza. Cheers to the Hut. MS Silver Papa John's Nine locations

papajohns.com Bronze Papa Murphy's Six locations

papamurphys.com Best Local or Regional Restaurant Chain Gold

La Casita Patio Caf Four locations

restauranteur.com/lacasitapatiocafecom Warm, fresh, homemade tortillas are only one of La Casita's many charms. Locally owned, and serving Colorado Springs for 20 years, La Casita restaurants offer their menu for dine-in, pick-up, large-order deliveries and full service, professional catering. They are open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. KB Silver Il Vicino Wood Oven Pizza & Brewery 11 S. Tejon St., 475-9224

ilvicino.com Bronze 3 Margaritas 3956 N. Academy Blvd., 573-5065

6385 N. Academy Blvd., 532-1743

310 S. Academy Blvd., 596-5414

3margaritas.net Best Breakfast Gold Omelette Parlor 900 E. Fillmore St., 633-7770 Omelette Parlor is the place for old-school, cholesterol-laden breakfasts of traditional eggs, greasy slabs of meat, and all the wheat toast needed to sop up every calorie. A bright, sunny interior and warm pine floors make this place almost heaven for morning people who line up to get in on weekends. Oh, and they make a mean omelet, too. GE Silver IHOP Four locations

ihop.com Bronze Western Omelette 16 S. Walnut St., 636-2286 Best Meal for Under $6

Nationwide Chain Gold

Chipotle Seven locations

chipotle.com I'll never forget the first time I saw a Thoreau quote about beans on a Chipotle cup. Though my initial reaction may have been shock, I've come to realize Thoreau and Chipotle have something in common simplicity.

Chipotle's founder, Steve Ells, built the chain on the idea of a "focused menu." Ells wanted to use the best ingredients to create only two menu items, the burrito and the taco. Chipotle's beef and pork come from free range, all-natural livestock. I don't know what Thoreau would really say about Chipotle, but if buying a burrito saves a pig from a cramped corporate pen, then count me in. FG Meal for Under $6 Silver Taco Bell 16 locations

tacobell.com Bronze The Pita Pit 8 E. Bijou St., 634-1748

773 Garden of the Gods Road, 277-7482

pitapitusa.com Nationwide Chain Silver P.F. Chang's China Bistro

1725 Briargate Pkwy., 593-8580 Bronze Old Chicago Four locations

oldchicago.com Best Bakery Gold Marigold Caf & Bakery 4605 Centennial Blvd., 599-4776 Sure, everyone bakes daily. Every old caf with a door and rolling pin has someone who keeps bizarre hours to proof dough and make icing look like roses. But Marigold doesn't just make breads and delicacies look good, it makes them taste really good, too. That's the key to baked love. MS Silver La Baguette Four locations

restauranteur.com/co/cs/deli.htm Bronze Panera Bread Four locations

panerabread.com Best Pancakes Gold IHOP

Four locations

ihop.com Its arms are always open. Its butter pecan syrup is always mixable with its strawberry syrup to make the best pancakes in Colorado Springs. They're so good, you must pound the coffee so your brain can comprehend the sensation your taste buds are having. IHOP open 24/7. God Bless America. SK Silver Adam's Mountain Caf 110 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1430

adamsmountain.com Bronze Mountain Shadows 2223 W. Colorado Ave., 633-2122 Best Bagels Gold Einstein Bros. Bagels 4325 Centennial Blvd., 548-8408

2848 N. Powers Blvd., 573-7606

6988 N. Academy Blvd., 265-8610

einsteinbros.com Buy Einstein Bros. Bagels by the baker's dozen. For breakfast: wild blueberry with maple and raisin shmear. For lunch: everything with jalapeo salsa shmear. For an afternoon snack: pumpernickel with garden veggie shmear. For dinner: plain with smoked salmon shmear. Tomorrow: still nine bagels in that bag. CSB Silver Panera Bread Four locations

panerabread.com Bronze Olde World Bagel 1670 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 527-9651

oldeworldbagel.com Best Salads Gold Souper Salad 3636 Citadel Drive, 597-6124

1434 Kelly Johnson Blvd., 533-0614

808 Garden of the Gods Road, 277-0687

soupersalad.com Souper Salad lets you feel skinny while eating to your heart's content. Salad lovers can fill their plates, then fill them again and again. The $5.99 all-you-can-eat buffet features more than 60 salad items as well as a potato bar, pizza, made-from-scratch soups, a dessert bar and an ice cream machine. JET Silver Poor Richard's Restaurant 324 N. Tejon St., 632-7721 Bronze Marigold Caf & Bakery 4605 Centennial Blvd., 599-4776 Best Cheeseburger Gold Conway's Red Top Restaurant 390 N. Circle Drive, 630-1566

3589 N. Carefree Circle, 596-6444

5865 Palmer Park Blvd., 219-3273

conwaysredtop.com Conway's sells salads, but why on Earth would any self-respecting carnivore ever consider one? This place has fed beef to three generations of Springsites. You've got 8 ounces, and a choice of the glorious basics: cheese, chili, mushrooms or BBQ. Hey, if you simply must have veggies, have a zucchini or mushroom appetizer both come nicely deep-fried. KW Silver Red Robin Four locations

redrobin.com Bronze Fatburger 7465 N. Academy Blvd., 535-8111

fatburger.com Best Gyro Gold Mediterranean Caf 118 E. Kiowa St., 633-0115 When lamb and beef meet tzatziki inside a warm pita, the result is something magical, like when a unicorn reads Harry Potter. The Med Caf (as regulars call it probably because they need it like medicine) is a no-heat-lamps, fine-ingredient, fresh-prepared kind of place. Hence, best gyro. MS Silver Jake and Telly's 2616 W. Colorado Ave., 633-0406

greekdining.com Bronze The Pita Pit 8 E. Bijou St., 634-1748

773 Garden of the Gods Road, 277-7482

pitapitusa.com Best Ice Cream Gold Josh & John's Naturally Homemade Ice Cream 5152 N. Academy Blvd., 593-1220

111 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 632-0299

joshandjohns.com For kicks, find someone who doesn't know the power of Josh & John's ice cream. Giggle to yourself as your uninitiated chum casually asks for extra candy to be mixed in with some cookies and cream ice cream, completely unaware of an impending goodness-induced coma. SK

Silver Cold Stone Creamery Five locations

coldstonecreamery.com Bronze Baskin Robbins Five locations

baskinrobbins.com Best Restaurant for Dessert Gold Michelle's Chocolatiers 122 N. Tejon St., 633-5089

michellecandies.com If you're apt to bemoan the loss of locally owned businesses downtown, let your salty tears fall into sweetness at Michelle's. The candy store-slash-soda-fountain-slash-time-machine has been around since 1952, and still makes cases worth of delicacies (chocolate-covered cheesecake to caramel apples, two menu pages of desserts in all) with grandma's care. KW Silver Marigold Caf & Bakery 4605 Centennial Blvd., 599-4776 Bronze The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant 30-A E. Pikes Peak Ave., 385-0300

meltingpot.com Best Natural Foods Store Gold Whole Foods Market 7635 N. Academy Blvd., 531-9999

wholefoodsmarket.com Love it or hate it, Whole Foods has become the Wal-Mart for the socially and environmental conscious few of us but our army is growing. With big-box corporations as far as the eye can see, it's nice to have an alternative. Thank you Whole Foods, for providing anything we might need that is actually good for the planet and us. JK Silver Mountain Mama Natural Foods 1625 W. Uintah St., 633-4139 Bronze Wild Oats Natural Marketplace 3180 New Center Point, 622-1099

wildoats.com Best Bread Gold Panera Bread Four locations

panerabread.com It ain't the warm, colorful walls, or the cinnamon crunch bagels, or the comfort that comes with Panera being a known commodity. According to scores of our readers, it's the bread, stupid. Stone-milled rye. Sesame semolina. Loads of loaves with asiago cheese. Understood. KW Silver La Baguette Four locations

restauranteur.com/co/cs/deli.htm Bronze Great Harvest Bread Company 6942 N. Academy Blvd., 528-6442

101 N. Tejon St., 635-7379

greatharvest.com Best Farmers' Market Gold Old Colorado City Farmers' Market Readers couldn't resist the bounties of homegrown fruits and vegetables at the farmers' market in Old Colorado City by Bancroft Park. Week after week, on Saturdays June through October the market is one of the most colorful and popular morning attractions. A mainstay for more than a decade, this market attracts customers who know a simple truth: For some reason, vegetables just taste better when they're purchased from the families that grew them. MdY Silver Manitou Springs Midweek Market Bronze Memorial Park Best Caterer Gold Picnic Basket Catering Co. 1701 S. Eighth St., 635-0200

pbcatering.com With items like almond-stuffed dates wrapped in apple-smoked bacon, Picnic Basket Catering has totally obliterated the same-old food, day-after-day routine. Co-owner Michelle Talarico says her company "will be forever grateful for all the support the community has shown us." TS Silver Cravings Catering & Special Events 1701 S. Eighth St., 635-0200

cravingscatering.com Bronze Alpine Chef Catering 2201 Hagerman St., 471-3663

alpinechef.com Best Grocery Store Gold King Soopers Eight locations

kingsoopers.com Top 10 reasons we love King Soopers: 10) School savings programs; 9) online coupons; 8) freshly baked bread; 7) dozens of deli items; 6) brands we trust; 5) expanding organic aisles; 4) gas discounts; 3) customer card savings; 2) penny mechanical pony rides; and 1) cashiers who know your name. JET Silver Whole Foods Market 7635 N. Academy Blvd., 531-9999

wholefoodsmarket.com Bronze Safeway 11 locations

safeway.com Best Local Coffee House Gold Pikes Perk Coffee & Tea House Seven locations

pikesperk.com Pikes Perk is the hot spot to meet, greet and surf. The venue's wi-fi-enabled, java-pouring and musician-friendly environments jolt productivity and creative spirits. With fair-trade roasting, loose-leaf teas, wholesale programs and fundraising efforts, Pikes Perk is a force in the community. TS Silver Raven's Nest Coffee 330 N. Institute St., 632-3433 Bronze Boulder Street Coffee Roasters 332 N. Tejon St., 577-4291 Best Gold Chain Coffee House

Gourmet Coffee Drinks

Place for a Blind Date

Latte Starbucks 16 locations

starbucks.com While our readers said Starbucks is the best place for a blind date, they didn't say which one. We'll assume they hoped to do a little groping after a gourmet latte at one of the chain's two Tejon Street locations downtown.

Both Starbucks attract hordes of office shirts and skirts on weekday mornings but, by afternoon, the cafs turn decidedly clandestine, harboring enigmatic-looking laptop junkies and muted murmurs of development deals going belly-up. The starry-eyed romantics surface later, engaged in refreshingly awkward conversation as the baristas steam their milk. We presume these couples met online, each perhaps sipping a mocha, separated only by choice of a "home" Starbucks. MdY Chain Coffee House Silver Pikes Perk Coffee & Tea House Seven locations

pikesperk.com Bronze It's a Grind Coffee House 3236 Centennial Blvd., 635-2411

9475 Briar Village Point, 277-0100

itsagrind.com Gourmet Coffee Silver Pikes Perk Coffee & Tea House Seven locations

pikesperk.com Bronze Raven's Nest Coffee 330 N. Institute St., 632-3433 Place for a Blind Date Silver Jose Muldoon's

222 N. Tejon St., 636-2311

josemuldoons.com Bronze Old Chicago Four locations

oldchicago.com Latte Silver Pikes Perk Coffee & Tea House Seven locations

pikesperk.com Bronze Shuga's Restaurant Bar 702 S. Cascade Ave., 328-1412

shugas.com Best Coffee Roaster Gold Boulder Street Coffee Roasters 332 N. Tejon St., 577-4291 Boulder Street is No. 1 with the kids because it has its own character and it doesn't shove itself in your face. A modest shop with cheap coffee, great snacks and sandwiches, this is a perfect hangout place. Just ask the high-schoolers who ditch classes for these digs. JTR Silver High Rise Coffee Roasters 2421 W. Cucharras St., 633-1833

highrisecoffee.com Bronze Barista Espresso 625 W. Colorado Ave., 578-1185

rebelroaster.com Best Ethnic Market Gold Briar Mart 1843 Briargate Blvd., 528-6869 For 10 years, Briar Mart has featured products you won't find elsewhere: French, Bulgarian and Greek feta cheeses, Kinder Surprise Eggs, German chocolates. Check out the caf for chicken and beef kabobs or gyro sandwiches most of their sales come from those waiting on their orders. TD Silver Par Avion Finer Foods Emporium 1872 Southgate Road, 636-2328

paravionfood.com Bronze Carneceria Leonela 3736 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 637-2641

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