1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 255-3502, uccs.edu/~diningservices
UCCS's pub inside the University Center, also the only venue open during the gap between summer and fall semesters, serves only Colorado beers and wines, which deserves praise. Students and visitors alike can drink local while they snack on an app, like the house pickled veggies ($4.30). It's a good price, but the quick-pickled onions, cucumbers, cauliflower chunks and scant carrots land a little flat. Red wine vinegar and black peppercorns contribute the bulk of the flavor.
No doubt the Clyde's Burger Meal Deal ($7.80, plus 50 cents for cheese) draws many a student diner. The big, soft sweet potato bun carries the quarter-pound patty and accompanying veg admirably, but the patty is oddly pale and desperately in need of seasoning. Included drink and fries sweeten the deal. Maybe go with regular over sweet potato fries — the former land crisp and entirely edible, but the latter come a touch underdone in the middle. — GS
Rastall Dining Hall
902 N. Cascade Ave., 389-6606, coloradocollege.edu
Five years ago, Colorado College and Bon Appétit put $9 million into renovating the Worner Center, which still shines bright in the hands of the sustainability-minded food service provider. Compared with the sad Sodexo service of years past when I was a student, today's Rastall experience feels like fine dining.
Vegan, veg and gluten-free options abound, as do produce items from area growers, including aquaponics operations and CC's student-run farm. All-you-can-eat buffet ($10.61/lunch, $13.96/dinner) service feels freshest at the salad bar, complete with decent vinaigrettes and more-interesting toppings like wheat berries. Pizzas and burgers fall flat while hot-line items like roasted sweet potatoes and braised cabbage make for OK sides. I finish with a nostalgic PB&J and cookies over a Starbucks sip, which seems like a disconnect given Bon Appétit's local mission and the bounty of roasters in town. — MS
Pikes Peak Community College
Various trucks, visit ppcc.edu/food-truck-schedule
PPCC recently announced it would be ending its food-service contract with Sodexo, instead working with local food trucks to nourish students and faculty at its Centennial, Rampart and Downtown Studio campuses. Which brings us to Bill Layton's Bite Me Gourmet Sausage truck, just one of 15 rotating options.
When we find him at Red Leg — PPCC classes not yet having started — Layton recommends the Troy ($7, plus $1 for bacon), a jackalope sausage with caramelized onion, curry cream cheese and a bacon strip. The sausage's blend of antelope and rabbit with habanero pepper and cherry mellows any gamey notes. Garnishes add savory complexity for a killer bite overall. An elk brat ($7) also performs, bolstered by pork, jalapeño and cheddar. Layton recommends red chili garlic cream cheese and sauerkraut. The former makes a rich bite richer; the latter comes tangy with big caraway notes, cleaning the palate between bites. — GS