Lunch has gone next level at Cowboy Star. “Now you can do the whole experience at lunch time,” says sous chef Nick Ryder. “You can really celebrate and go to the nines.” If that’s your game, start with the crab legs. The crustaceous delight is a frequent special, but they go quick. Just save room for the real star: an 18-ounce Rib Chop. The marbling is intense; the cut is like butter; and the flavor divine. You’ll find excellent wine pairings too. Looking for lighter or less expensive? You can customize any burger. But the herb roasted chicken sandwich is impressive. Brined and served with grilled balsamic onions and tarragon aoli, this is what chicken should taste like.
5198 N. Nevada Ave., cowboystarcs.com
The latest of Altitude Hospitality’s concepts, Sprig brings fast-casual fresh and healthy to Northgate. The entire menu is gluten free, dairy free, non-GMO, but there’s no lack of flavor. Smoothie bowls and vegetable bowls make up most of the menu, with choices of sweet or savory. Our favorite? The Roasted Veggie, filled with quinoa or brown rice, kale, roasted veggies, pickled red onion, avocado, roasted garlic tahini sauce and golden goddess dressing, and finished with toasted pumpkin seeds—add chicken for extra protein. And Karen’s Heavenly Cookies are among the best chocolate chip cookies ever—and still gluten and dairy free.
7 Spectrum Loop, sprigeats.com
The Old Colorado City gastropub’s delicious food in a dive bar setting keeps us coming back for more. The traditional menu is full of culinary twists that feel upscale while still satisfying a comfort food craving. The Beer Cheese Mac is made with beer cheese, cavatappi and blackened pork, and it rivals as one of the best mac and cheeses in town. Phish n’ chips uses common haddock, but is crusted with kettle chips, giving an extra crunch and added layer of flavor. Don’t forget the bread pudding for dessert.
2625 W. Colorado Ave., alchemypubcolorado.com