On the Boulevard
2855 N. Murray Blvd., 471-4424, on-the-boulevard.com
Nancy and Bob Gilkerson took over then-6-year-old OTB in '07, changing the menu to "focus on food, rather than just being a bar that served food," she says. Her neighborhood (between the busy Academy and Powers corridors) responded, and OTB enjoys a loyal breakfast following plus happy hour (4 to 7 weekdays) regulars.
She talks up her corned beef hash in particular with homemade raisin soda bread, saying "it's just awesome, like none other," and I truly feel compelled to return for it based on the overall quality of my green chile slopper ($9.95). It's cooked a perfect med-rare, flavorful from garlic salt seasoning and the good green stuff, arriving with half a cheese quesadilla and pita chips. A simple patty melt ($8.95) also plays well with onions and Swiss on warmed, crunchy marble rye, perfect with a Bristol Compass IPA ($4.75). Go also for darts, pool, sports viewing or to see if you know anyone on the wide caricature wall. — MS
123 E Pikes Peak Ave., 520-0123, springsorleans.com
Even alone on a cool autumn evening, dining on the patio of this downtown standard feels special. The quiet, breezy corridor is a lovely spot, especially at sunset. So I find it a bit surprising that they haven't placed for Best Patio in this or last year's Best Of. They did, however, win Best Cajun/Southern, so onto the eats.
Most of chef Jason Miller's menu lands in the $15 and up range, but a more affordable catfish po'boy ($12) more than satisfies. A big catfish fillet comes breaded in cornmeal and delicately herbed with a snappy remoulade, on (not in) a toasty French loaf. Get a knife and fork for a pleasing and well-executed bite. Or grab a spoon and a cup of chicken and andouille sausage gumbo ($9), rich and red with just enough spice that it can't be ignored. The price stings a little, but that smoky sausage guarantees meaty joy. Wash it down with a Turbodog ($5/pint) from Louisiana craft brewery Abita, lager-crisp with coffee and toffee notes. — GS
Garden of the Gods Gourmet
410 S. 26th St., 471-2799, godsgourmet.com
TILL may be the talk of the town presently, but sister organization Garden of the Gods Gourmet first launched the Napa-fresh, farmhouse-chic experience locally when they moved into these sharp new digs in 2014. GOGG blends sit-down, retail marketplace and grab-and-go functions seamlessly. On the go, I grab lunch from the market and eat on the front patio.
My 12-ounce Ruby juice (a steep $7) at least gifts me a jar, sharp with ginger but balanced between sweet beet, carrot and apple and vegetal punch from celery, kale and cucumber. A 6-inch sandwich and Zapp's chips combo runs only $6.50, TILL-baked baguette bread delightfully chewy until my jaw muscles fatigue. Elegant presentation in twine-wrapped butcher paper elevates a turkey-bacon option as does a side horseradish mayo. A Pavlova ($4) makes a fine finish, delicate with airy meringue like the ballet dancer for whom it was named. I think of eating a happy cloud. — MS