Best Of 2006

Favorite

Haute Cuisine 

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Restaurant for Kids that Isnt 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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