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The upscale Denver Central Market, a gourmet food hall in a 1920s building

Colorado

Colorado’s Urban Food Scene: 3 Cities with Food Halls and More

By: Idoia Gkikas

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  • States:
    Colorado

Colorado’s latest culinary trend is the urban food hall.

Old buildings and outdoor gardens are repurposed into trendy neighborhood cafeterias – think food court meets food truck and chef-driven restaurants. Unlike established restaurants, food halls allow up-and-coming restaurateurs and cutting-edge cuisine to flourish. Experiment with the newest trends in Denver, savor farm-to-table treats in Fort Collins and try funky eats and drinks in Boulder.

Food-Hall Hub and Dynamic Dining in Denver

The capital city of Denver has the amenities of a cosmopolitan city, but without all the pretense. Known for its long-standing tradition of food trucks, Denver is now embracing the food hall concept. Denver Union Station serves as the city’s light-rail and bus depot, but this transit center now incorporates boutique shopping and gourmet dining. You can easily get your three square meals here: breakfast at Snooze, a morning-only eatery; lunch at Acme Delicatessen, an artisanal sandwich shop; and dinner at The Cooper Lounge, an elegant cocktail lounge and restaurant – not to mention coffee, craft brews and sweets served at numerous shops and cafes.

In Denver’s trendy RiNo District, find a different kind of culinary hub. Named by Vogue as one of the best food halls in the USA, The Denver Central Market gathers some of the city’s hippest vendors in a community-oriented market. Look for culinary specialties, from charcuterie to hyper-fresh vegetarian to handcrafted chocolates and ice cream.

Dining and boutique shipping at the Denver Union Station transit hub

Dining and boutique shipping at the Denver Union Station transit hub
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Evan Semon

Fort Collins: Farm-fresh Eats

Home of Anheuser-Busch and New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins has a hipster vibe with a love for quirky arts, live music and outdoor activities. The food scene is all about locally sourced, quality ingredients. Get a taste of the freshness at Jessup Farm, a century-old farmstead-turned-artisan village. Enjoy an espresso or tea at Bindle Coffee (the beans are roasted on site), seasonal comfort-food menus at The Farmhouse (there’s even a chicken coop in the back) and a barrel-aged craft brew at Jessup Farm Barrel House. At Ginger and Baker, pies of all kinds are the stars of the show. Also on-site is a cooking school, market and restaurant.

Craft beers, outdoor seating and artisan village at Jessup Farm in Fort Collins

Craft beers, outdoor seating and artisan village at Jessup Farm in Fort Collins
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A Mountain City with Taste in Boulder

Eclectic yet down-to-earth, Boulder is an all-around great destination with loads of hidden culinary gems. Check out the Rayback Collective, a lively space for music, parties, community events, brews and food. Rayback bills itself as a food-truck park, with an ever-changing lineup of local food trucks (and a stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, to boot). Beer lovers can get a German-style experience at the Bohemian Biergarten in downtown Boulder. On tap are German, Czech and Central European (and some local) brews and a sampling of German comfort food to soak it all up.

A view of the downtown Pearl Street Mall district and the Rocky Mountains in Boulder

A view of the downtown Pearl Street Mall district and the Rocky Mountains in Boulder
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Denise Chambers

Getting There

Colorado is easily via Denver International Airport (DEN), which offers nonstop flights from multiple international destinations and connecting flights to major cities across Colorado.

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