Vibrant Culinary Scene for Groups in Colorado
First-ever Colorado MICHELIN Guide awards announced on Sept. 12
By Beth Buehler
Colorado continues to make its mark with some of the most creative chefs, award-worthy restaurants and talented producers of healthy and delicious fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and more within its borders. The latest nod to the Colorado culinary scene comes from none other than the MICHELIN Guide, which unveiled its inaugural selections for Colorado and honored chefs and restaurant teams on Sept. 12 at Mission Ballroom in Denver’s RiNo District.
Colorado received five One-Star, 30 Recommended and four Green Star restaurants and nine Bib Gourmand designations. A total of 44 restaurants were recognized, which translates into a very vibrant culinary scene for groups gathering in Colorado and leisure travelers.
“It’s quite an impressive feat for a debut selection to include so many MICHELIN Green Stars. Our famously anonymous inspectors were wowed by these restaurants’ high-quality, local ingredients, sourced seasonally and sustainably,” says Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the MICHELIN Guides. “It’s a very exciting time for the culinary community here, and we feel the momentum growing.”
The MICHELIN Guide was first published in France in 1900 as an accompaniment to tire sales, providing practical advice on where to dine and stay to local motorists. The same criteria and manner of selection used in the very beginning and are now applied in more than 40 destinations around the world. The first North American guide was introduced in 2005 for New York, with guides later added for Atlanta, California, Chicago, Florida, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C.
In June 2023, Colorado was announced as the eighth MICHELIN Guide destination in North America with Aspen, Beaver Creek, Boulder, Denver, Snowmass Village, and Vail to be featured.
MICHELIN Recognition for Colorado
Restaurants can land one to three stars, with three being the highest recognition. Five Colorado restaurants have debuted in the MICHELIN Guide with one star, meaning they are very good restaurants in their categories. Five restaurants went home from the Sept. 12 announcement with One Star: Beckon, Brutø and The Wolf’s Tailor in Denver; Bosq in Aspen; and Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder.
Boulder and Denver also scored big in the MICHELIN Green Star category with Brutø and The Wolf’s Tailor earning the sustainability nod along with Boulder’s Blackbelly Market and Bramble & Hare. MICHELIN Guide Inspectors also identified nine restaurants for the Bib Gourmand designation, which recognizes eateries for great food at a great value with all being in Denver except for Basta in Boulder. Denver Bib Gourmand recipients include AJ’s Pit Bar-B-Q, Ash’Kara, The Ginger Pig, Glo Noodle House, Hop Alley, La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal, Mister Oso, and Tavernetta.
Also of significance are the 30 MICHELIN Recommended restaurants in five communities.
Aspen: Element 47, Mawa’s Kitchen, Prospect
Beaver Creek: Mirabelle, Splendido at the Chateau, Wyld
Boulder: Blackbelly Market, Bramble & Hare, Dushanbe Tea House, Oak at Fourteenth, Santo, Stella’s Cucina, Zoe Ma Ma
Denver: A5 Steakhouse, Barolo Grill, Dio Mio, Fruition, Guard and Grace, Hey Kiddo, Marco’s Coal Fired, Mercantile Dining and Provision, Noisette, Olivia, Potager, Q House, Safta, Smok, Temaki Den
Vail: Osaki’s, Sweet Basil
In addition to the One Star, Bib Gourmand and Recommended designations, MICHELIN Guide announced four special awards.
Exceptional Cocktails Award: Caroline Clark, The Wolf’s Tailor
Outstanding Service Award: Sergei Kiefel and the front-of-house team, Frasca Food and Wine
Sommelier Award: Ryan Fletter and Erin Lindstone, Barolo Grill
Young Chef/Culinary Professional Award: Kelly Kawachi, Blackbelly Market
The announcement of Colorado’s first-ever MICHELIN Guide designees reinforces the dedication of the culinary industry here and the state’s place as a premier dining destination. “Bringing the MICHELIN Guide to Colorado further amplifies our state’s status as a place where extraordinary dining experiences come to life,” says Colorado Tourism Office Director Timothy Wolfe.
The hospitality industry is vital to the state’s economy and standing as a prime destination to meet and visit. There are more than 12,400 eating and drinking establishments, with independently owned and operated businesses accounting for 69% of Colorado’s restaurants.
More Culinary Landscape Insights
Also key to the truly vibrant culinary scene for groups gathering in Colorado is the food and beverage teams at hotels and other venues around the state. There also is an impressive array of caterers to choose from that are focusing on fresh, local ingredients, developing innovative menus, and delivering beautiful presentations that will keep attendees talking.
Some hotels, venues and caterers even have their own gardens and herds. For example, at the Colorado Convention Center’s on-site Blue Bear Farm, honey and 5,000 pounds of fresh produce is harvested. At The Broadmoor’s 5,000-acre campus in Colorado Springs, Broadmoor Farms grows herbs and produce in a greenhouse and outdoor garden. The Broadmoor’s private ranch, Eagles Nest Ranch near Greeley, raises Wagyu beef exclusively for the resort and has more than 40 beehives that produce over 1,500 pounds of honey. Additional hives are located at Broadmoor Farms and on one of the resort’s golf courses to both produce honey and pollinate the multitude of flowers on the property.
Get out an enjoy Colorado’s impressive food scene, the secret is out!
All photos by Brent Andeck Photography.
Colorado native Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 18 years, helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine, and was on the team that introduced Southwest Meetings + Events this summer. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.