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14 Chefs Share Their Secret Lunch Spots

The DO Chef Panel weighs in on mid-day hidden gems

Photo by Jeremy Mack

Lunch doesn’t have to be this way. #notsaddesklunch

Lunch doesn’t get enough love. Especially with the popularization of brunch, lunch out is usually a weekday affair and is often relegated to that one go-to sandwich shop near the office, or a fast-casual burrito. But we believe settling day after day for the mid-day meal is a lost opportunity.

To help you broaden your lunch horizons, we asked the DiningOut (DO) Chef Panel of over 70 chefs about the lunch spots in Colorado they love, but no one knows about. Stay tuned for dinner hidden gems next week.

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Buchi Cafe Cubano is a cool spot for a great Cubano sandwich and coffee if you drink it (yuck!). My husband Max [MacKissock] and I also love JJ Chinese Seafood Restaurant at 2500 West Alameda.” —Jennifer Jasinski, Crafted Concepts 
[JJ Chinese is the perfect place to get adventurous with dishes like Fried Crispy Pig’s Intestine, Jelly Fish, and Bamboo Fungus.]

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“My favorite secret spot in Colorado has always been The Bucksnort Saloon in Sphinx Park, CO. Twelve miles back in a slot canyon on a dirt road lined with odd little cabins and homesteads, you come around a tight corner and there it is in all its divey, biker bar glory. I always opt for the Smothered Burrito and the house Antler Ale.” —Christopher Medved, Ace Eat Serve

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The Bucksnort Saloon … this is a great hole in the wall tucked away in Sphinx Park outside of Pine. Good burgers and cold beer. The crowd is a mix of cowboys, Harley dudes, rock climbers, and curious tourists. Great atmosphere with a patio overlooking a small babbling brook. Best of all, limited cell phone service if you’re looking not to be reached!” —Rodney Herwerth, The Inverness
[Rich Byers, executive chef of The Corner Office, thirds these chefs’ recommendation on The Bucksnort, so you’ll definitely want to check out this hidden gem off Highway 285!]
bucksnort saloon

Local chefs’ best-kept secret: The Bucksnort Saloon just outside of Pine (Photo by Bucksnort)

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Lucile’s Creole Cafe.” —Efren Velasquez, La Loma
[Lucile’s has been serving breakfast and lunch for over three decades, and now has locations in Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, Longmont, and Littleton. For lunch, try the legendary Gumbo and Banana Beignets for dessert.]

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“For casual and fast, Curry -N- Kebob near 28th and Valmont in Boulder. Quick, great value, sensitive to dietary restrictions, and owned and operated by the real deal: a family from Bangladesh.” —Alec Schuler, Arugula/Tangerine
[Try the Lamb Tikka Kebob with Naan and a Mango Lassi.]

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You & Mee Noodle House on the hill in Boulder for pho and a boba tea.” —Kyle Mendenhall, The Kitchen
[You & Mee also has “Com” (steamed rice plates), vermicelli noodle dishes, sandwiches like a Grilled Tofu Sandwich with daikon and pickled carrots, and traditional Chinese dishes like Kung Pao Squid.]
Dae Gee

Korean barbecue at Dae Gee

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Dae Gee on Eighth and Colorado—it is usually quiet when I go there for lunch on Mondays. Jezebel’s Southern Bistro and Bar is also a good place for lunch.” —Aniedra Nichols, Elway’s Cherry Creek 

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Yabby Hut on South Wadsworth for bags of greasy, garlicky, buttery, spicy crab and shrimp!” —Jorel Pierce, Crafted Concepts
[Will you go for Amateur Mild or venture to try XXX spicy?]

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Kim Ba has amazing Vietnamese food that reminds me of the time I spent traveling in Vietnam. I love to get the Bun Bo Hue, soup of Hue City.”  —Ben Jacobs, Tocabe
[Bun Bo Hue is a hot and spicy beef soup with rice noodles in a special broth indigenous to the Vietnamese city of Hue.]

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Pho Duy on Federal—great Pad Thai.” —Tom Coohill, Coohill’s
[Of course, the pho is also pho-nomenal, and it comes in more varieties than you can count here.]

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Fraser Valley Hot Dog—best post-skiing meal. Pho Golden, in Golden, CO, is also a personal favorite.” —Andrew Aghajanian, Devil’s Thumb Ranch 
[Nothing like a Dogfather hot dog after a day crushing moguls—chili, cheddar, onion, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, celery salt, relish, and mustard.]

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“I really dig eating at Waffle House in Littleton (I think). I’m usually there a few times a month. Also, Willy’s Wings in Morrison. That’s a destination spot for me before every Red Rocks show. Cheap chicken wings drenched in blue cheese.” —Adam Branz, Bistro Vendôme

 

Subculture

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Subculture. They have birch beer on fountain—enough said. And Pho Duy on Federal for their pho, of course. Brisket, Tendon, and Tripe [Chin, Nam, Gau, Gan, Sach] is the best.” —Nick Shankland, Hideaway Kitchen 

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“I like to stop in to US Thai Cafe at 25th and Sheridan for lunch, and not just because it’s right across from Joyride Brewery (totally coincidental!). This place has the best Thai food I’ve ever had … you have to get the Pineapple Fried Rice—traditional fried rice with loads of fresh onion, cucumber, sugar snap peas, and tomatoes, finished off with pineapple and toasted cashews. And don’t try to be a stud when deciding your spice level—I dig spice and their ‘mild plus’ has plenty of heat even for my palate.” —Nick Ogg, Postino WineCafé 

 

14 Chefs Share Secret Breakfast Spots


The DiningOut (DO) Chef Panel serves as the voice of culinary talent in Denver, Boulder, and beyond. These 70-plus chefs answer our burning questions about the local dining scene, cooking, and food trends on a monthly basis.