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Westminster, CO options?

My husband and I will be staying at the Westin in Westminster and we're hoping to find a couple of good local options other than the hotel's restaurants. This topic has come up before but the threads are at least two years old.

I'm reluctant to drive into Boulder for dinner. Local options have more appeal. All price ranges. All cuisines.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Are you willing to drive into Denver? I only ask bc Lodo is not too far away and there are plenty of decent places to eat there. I don't much about Westminster as I'm new to the area but the times I've spent there eating has been at chains like Joe's Crab Shack and Bonefish Grill which I don't recommend AT ALL. Across the highway there are some chains in a shopping center. BJ's and such.

    8 Replies
    1. re: trolley

      Okay, now that I've looked up the meaning of LoDo, I can answer your question.

      I'm happy to learn about some good places for lunch Denver, but I'm really not looking to do highway driving at night in unfamiliar territory.

      In addition to the Wazee Street area, I'll be visiting the Plinth Gallery in a section of the city called River North Art District.

      I want to stay reasonably local in Westminster. I assume that means Mom and Pop store front ethnic places and that's fine.

      1. re: Indy 67

        well, getting from The Westin to Lodo is about 15 min and is a pretty straight forward drive as well. I moved here from Los Angeles last summer and driving here is easy and elementary compared to what I was used to. It's crowded on 36 and 25 only during rush hour unlike LA where traffic jams were 24/7 and unpredictable and freeways were hard to navigate. as you can tell the mt states ch board is very slow. I don't know why as Denver is definitely a city filled with great food. And coming from the very active LA board I resorted to yelp for reviews which is basically the wrong thing to do where I came from.

        So as far as Lodo, I've had decent food at Root Down, Coohills, and Linger. I know people love Old Major, Cholon and Euclid Hall.

        Here is a great list of restaurants which I plan to try soon.


        And maybe someone who is more familiar with Westminster can chime in as I mentioned I've only been to chains there.

        1. re: trolley

          I guess I anticipate drives into any city based on what I'm used to and, in Washington DC, that isn't good.

          I'd always consoled myself that at least DC isn't the worst city in the US. For decades, LA had held that top honor in every survey I've seen, with DC coming in at second place. Current lists of cities with the worst traffic variously put Washington, DC first or fifth or sixth.

          The board's posts are nudging me to consider driving into Denver. So what are the best restaurants that are convenient to I-36, the road I'll be taking from Westminster?

          1. re: Indy 67

            oh, no, no no. The roads here are nothing like DC or LA. I think DC topped LA this year for the worst traffic. The highways here are so easy I almost cried on my first trip to Denver from Boulder. I'm not kidding. I also suggest Denver like lurker dan bc the drive is much faster and easier. there's construction on 36 into Boulder but at night, it not jammed up at weird hours like it would be in LA or DC. it's just construction and a bit of a hassle. So a friend of mine who works in food also suggested Acorn at The Source. I really like sitting on the patio at Coohills as well.

            1. re: Indy 67

              I just google mapped it, and you are almost exactly equidistant from downtown Boulder and LoDo in Denver. About 15 miles, 20-25 minutes for each. Really, the options are limitless if you are willing to do either.

              For Denver, you will actually be on I-25 (36 takes you to that). I would consider restaurants in the Highlands, LoDo, Ballpark, and RiNo neighborhoods for the closest drives, maybe Uptown too.

              For Boulder, pretty much any restaurant would be the same drive.

              But with no limit on dollars or cuisines, it's hard for us to narrow down further. You could browse yelp (limiting to neighborhoods for denver) and see if a few things jump out; it's much easier for people to weigh in if you give them a few ideas. Or browse these 2 threads, now old, but at least vaguely comprehensive: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6707... and http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6790...

              1. re: LurkerDan

                "But with no limit on dollars or cuisines, it's hard for us to narrow down further..."

                My price range is quite broad. If there's a Denver restaurant in the Per Se, French Laundry, Inn at Little Washington, Alinea price stratosphere, I'll take a pass on that one, but otherwise, I'm fine with a price range that includes what I'd call normal expensive (e.g. main dishes in the mid-twenties to the very low thirties). I've found that if I need to, I can economize in a "normal- expensive" restaurant by ordering a moderately priced bottle of wine and, perhaps, sharing a dessert course.

                I'd prefer food that reflects the place I'm visiting. I'm not completely sure what that means in CO beyond locally-sourced lamb, but I'd be happy to learn and try.

                Having said all this, if there's a phenomenal ethnic restaurant I should try, I'd love to hear about it. (Who knew Rochester, NY would be the home of an amazing Thai restaurant -- truly some of the best Thai food I've eaten outside of Thailand.)

                1. re: Indy 67

                  You should take a look at Rioja.

                  1. re: Indy 67

                    There are very few places in the stratosphere of expense or reputation. Frasca in Boulder is the one place that seems to make the "lists". Most places are no higher than your normal expensive range. Rioja is a good suggestion. The Kitchen (in Denver or Boulder) is good. Oak in Boulder. There are other places in that class but I don't get out much these days, so can't speak of them personally (and hate recommending places solely by reputation).

                    There is certainly some good ethnic food around, but it's not really the specialty of the metro area.

        2. I don't know that there is much in Westminster beyond normal chain fare. Boulder and Denver are easy drives (and even in bad traffic, neither should take more than 20-30 minutes), though the construction on 36 does make driving on it unpleasant.

          As for the River North area, I have never been anywhere there, but The Source has some supposedly good spots: http://www.thesourcedenver.com/ Acorn and Comida, great coffee at Boxcar. Or check out this post: http://denver.eater.com/archives/2014...

          1. If you want a quick meal near your hotel, Bender's Bar and Grill is right across the pond in front of the Westin. It's a straight up sports bar, but they have some pretty good bar food. We go there all the time since my SO plays hockey in the adjoining Ice Center. They have a real nice patio if the weather is good.

            It's not outstanding food (much of it comes in baskets) like you'd find downtown, but for a quick lunch or dinner and a few beers (they have a decent selection on tap), it's a good option that you can walk to.

            Otherwise like others have mentioned, most other places in the area are chains, or mediocre locally owned places. If we don't feel like eating at Bender's, we usually just go to Rock Bottom (chain) or Mt. Fuji, which is hibachi and sushi, and it's average. They are both over by the movie theater.

            1. The Grill at Legacy Ridge golf course in Westminster has quite good food, dinner also.

              1. Public transportation (RTD bus) is frequent, you can catch it right at highway 36 in Westminster, and it will zip you to downtown Boulder or Denver. It's clean and easy, I take the bus between them often, saves parking aggravation as well.

                Is that something you'd be amenable to? If so, both have excellent offerings within blocks of the station(s).

                  1. re: eade

                    "What is wrong with Kachina?" The answer is absolutely nothing! I've become quite obsessed with their New Mexican pork green chili.

                    On our arrival travel day, after having eaten nothing but airport/junk food we arrived at the hotel in mid-afternoon. We craved green and fresh so we ducked into Kachina for one of their salads. We each ordered the Bright Salad and because we've never had any Pork Green Chili, we decided to share a cup.

                    Salads: The mix of greens is appealing -- fresh and varied -- but I wasn't a fan of the smoked tomato dressing that accompanies the salad. I thought it lacked acidic lift. Later in the week, I ate another salad, ordering their Oloroso (Sherry) dressing and was much happier.

                    New Mexican pork chili: The staff is very, very proud of this chili and both our server and a hostess who came over went into enthusiastic detail about the time and care needed for its preparation. I can only speak about results and both my husband and I became fans. I managed to have some of this chili on all but one meal I ate subsequently. I ordered their breakfast burrito topped with the chili and gratineed. And I ordered the Four Corners lunch, choosing the chile as the soup component. I did not tire of this stuff.

                    The only meal when I skipped the chile was the one dinner we ate at Kachina. My husband had the chicken duo: chorizo-stuffed chicken thigh and a marinated and grilled chicken breast. It was tasty and he was happy, but I thought my dish was more successful. I ordered the skirt steak, appearing on the menu as Steak Frites. However, since the kitchen had run out of skirt steak portions so I changed to hangar steak, another butcher cut that is somewhat chewy with intense flavor. (This cut appeared on the list of simply grilled meats.) The kitchen cooked my hangar steak very rare as requested and topped it with the chipotle butter characteristic of the Steak Frites prep. According to the menu, the meat comes from a local ranch. All I know is that it was one of the best steaks I've eaten: deeply flavorful and more tender than I actually expected.

                    1. re: Indy 67

                      just checked out their menu. Hey! not so bad lookin'! Glad you had a great time. And I learned something new...

                      1. re: trolley

                        Over the course of several breakfasts, two lunches, and one dinner, we encountered some glitches in service. (And others at our convention did too.) However, nothing rose to the level that would make me want to avoid dining at Kachina.

                        Our worst service came at our lone dinner. My husband and I split the Shrimp and Avocado Tostada to begin. Someone cleared the dishes and silver from that course, but no one replaced these items before the main courses arrived. The chicken-two-ways was fine, but there had been some miscommunication in the switch from skirt steak to hangar steak and my meat was over-cooked. Since my husband and I had always intended to share both of our mains, this was not a problem. We proceeded to eat our halves of the chicken dish. However, before we could begin, we had to solve our no-silverware problem.

                        Not spotting our waiter -- or any staff member -- in the vicinity, I stood up, went to an unoccupied table nearby, and snagged two rolled-up napkins containing fresh silverware and two bread plates to use for my portion of the chicken. Now, each of had extra napkins and extra spoons, but we were able to eat our food when it was hot rather, always a better situation than fuming anxiously waiting for an employee to do what I'd accomplished effortlessly. When the hangar steak was delivered -- cooked beautifully -- we hung onto our forks and asked for an additional plate before the runner departed the scene.

                        Would I have cared more if Kachina had been a higher-priced restaurant? Would it have been better if the staff had dealt properly dealt with the plates/silverware. Yes, to both my rhetorical questions. Nevertheless, these two glitches were not enough to dim our enjoyment of quality food.

                        1. re: Indy 67

                          Thanks for the review! Did you venture to Boulder or Denver?

                          1. re: LurkerDan

                            Yes, we got to Denver for one meal. The remaining two dinners were banquets connected with the conference.

                            In Denver, we ate with local friends who chose their favorite place, Root Down. We made a meal of 7 small plate choices plus two desserts. (Technically, one of the choices -- the pork tenderloin -- was full-size so we had enough to split it four ways. Also, we added one meat ball to the standard size of the meat-ball dish to accommodate four diners.)

                            Here's our list:
                            Beet salad
                            Spinach and Kale salad
                            Lamb sliders
                            Pork tenderloin
                            Seared Columbian Arepas
                            Lemon-Ricotta Gnocchi

                            Before going to the restaurant, I had had some concerns about a couple of the descriptions. Sometimes, long lists of ingredients in a dish -- or elements assembled on a dish -- can need editing. I was delighted that this was not the problem I had anticipated at Root Down. The disparate ingredients all worked together and tasted quite wonderful. I think my favorites were the salads -- great dressing -- and the meatballs and the sliders.

                            We had to ask for clean plates early in the meal when an item arrived that simply would have been ruined by eating it off the plate with the sauce left over from the previous dish. After that, our servers were very pro-active about replacing our plates with new dishes.

                            For dessert, we shared the Baked Alaska and the Chocolate Truffle. These were expertly executed but rather predictable -- definitely not as exciting as the small plates. The husbands -- both chocoholics -- were fans of the chocolate dessert.

                            Nice wine list with an emphasis on moderately-priced wines. (We enjoyed the Barbara d'Asti.)

                            Their signature cocktail, the Pepper Blossom, was great. Lively citrus taste with a nice jolt of chile pepper.

                  2. we venture to westminster to get thai/laos/cambodian food at woody's wings n things on lowell. it is definitely local and gritty. it's very authentic and always full of thai people.

                    6817 Lowell Blvd
                    Westminster, CO 80030