Boulder Restaurants That Have Starred on TV
Dubbed “America’s Foodiest Town” by Bon Appétit magazine, Boulder has drawn a number of big-name food shows seeking the scoop on the town’s acclaimed dining scene. In fact, the granddaddy of them all, “Top Chef” even shot an episode here. Below you’ll find a guide to the restaurants that have had their (delicious) close-ups on national television.
Chefs Hosea Rosenberg (Top Chef Season 5 champion) and Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson have appeared in Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and you can check out their restaurants in Boulder: Hosea’s Santo and Blackbelly and Lachlan’s Frasca Food and Wine and Pizzeria Locale.
“Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” Locations
Guy Fieri and his Food Network crew have been to Boulder a few times. Here’s where they ate.
Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage
Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage is what happens when a Colorado native heads to Italy and becomes obsessed with perfecting the art of pizza making. The fruits of her studies paid off, and her Boulder shop earned a visit from DDD in 2017. Here’s Audrey whipping up the shop’s famous meatball grinder sub for Guy:
On the “College-Town Champs” episode of “DDD,” Guy was impressed with the rich flavors in the complex and multifaceted khoa soi, a curry noodle soup made at Aloy Thai. See how khoa soi is made in this clip from the show:
Zoe Ma Ma
Run by Edwin Zoe in collaboration with his Chinese mother’s cooking, Zoe Ma Ma has been known for fresh, “non-Americanized” Chinese street food for some time. The whole world got a taste when episode “Mom’s Kitchen” aired in 2017, featuring the eatery’s pork-filled steamed buns and za jiang mian. Zoe Ma Ma was also in an episode of "Cheap Eats" (see below).
Foolish Craig’s Café
A longtime favorite for breakfast any day of the week, Foolish Craig’s landed a spot on the “From Crepes to Kreplach” episode of Triple D. And we all drooled as together they created this insane, 21-layer butter rum caramel crepe cake:
In the “Gettin’ Fresh” episode, Guy Fieri sunk his teeth into The Sink's famous Texas Onion Straw Burger and left his mark by spray-painting his logo on the wall (it’s okay, the entire interior is covered in drawings!). This restaurant on University Hill has had a few brushes with fame, from President Obama’s publicized visit in 2012 to a shout-out from Robert Redford, who used to work as a janitor at The Sink in the mid-50s.
Boulder chef Dakota Soifer took home top honors from Food Network's "Cutthroat Kitchen." Stop by his restaurant, Cafe Aion, for fragrant paella, roasted cauliflower or crispy potatoes.
“Cheap Eats” Locations
Featuring “buzz-worthy meals on a budget,” this Cooking Channel show is hosted by Ali Khan, who visited Boulder for one seriously delicious day — all for under $35. The whole experience had Ali proclaiming, "It's official. Boulder, you rock!" You can watch the whole episode here.
Village Coffee Shop
At this college student-favorite greasy spoon, Ali tucks into the “Mancake,” a pancake, stuffed with ham, bacon and sausage and learns the current Village Coffee Shop owner is a former Strong Man competitor.
Zoe Ma Ma
Also covered above under “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” (see above), Zoe Ma Ma was visited by Ali so he could taste Ma Ma’s authentic Chinese noodles.
Shamane's Bake Shoppe
This tucked away bakery is worth seeking out. Fruit-filled galettes, fresh macarons and savory pot pies temp you from the glass case at Shamane's. Ali had a great time learning how Shamane herself makes her legendary chicken pot pies from scratch:
West End Tavern
Once Ali gets word of West End Tavern and its chef-driven bar food, he heads to this Pearl Street fave for a flavor-packed blackened shrimp po-boy (including from-scratch tartar sauce). West End Tavern was also featured on "Man v. Food" (see below).
The executive chef of Flagstaff House, Chris Royster, was crowned one of Food Network’s “Chopped” champions in 2016.
“Man v. Food” Locations
Casey Webb is known for conquering food challenges with gustatory gusto on the Travel Channel’s "Man v. Food." Keep reading to find out what he sets out to conquer in Boulder.
At one of Boulder’s most iconic breakfast spots, where staff wear t-shirts that read “Eat in The Buff,” Casey ends up hugging owner Chris Meyer after tasting The Buff's Saddlebags Breakfast — a pancake stuffed with sausage or bacon and served with an egg on top.
West End Tavern
Casey takes on the Wing King Challenge at the West End Tavern. He must devour a five-pound bucket of chicken wings in 30 minutes, a task known to defeat 70 percent of its opponents. West End Tavern was also on an episode of "Cheap Eats" (see above).
“Unique Sweets,” a Cooking Channel program dedicated to uncovering the nation’s best desserts, featured Pizzeria Locale’s biscotti and butterscotch budino and chocolate-hazelnut-filled pizza dough called saltimbocca. Also covered were Gelato Boy's horchata affogato and gelato cake.
"Food Paradise" Locations
This Travel Channel show features dishes and delights across the country. Here's where they stopped in Boulder and what they tasted:
Half Fast Subs
Half Fast Subs (named via a contest that was open to the public) was featured for The Gobbler, a sandwich reminiscent of that cherished, day-after-Thanksgiving lunch: turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce.
The Buff's Saddlebags Breakfast — a pancake stuffed with sausage or bacon and served with an egg on top — was appropriately featured on the "College Town Cravins" episode. This is the same dish savored on "Man v. Food" (see above).
On the episode "Destination Delicious," Avery Brewing Company's Angry Clucker (a fried chicken sandwich on jalapeno bread) and bacon-wrapped meatloaf made mouths water! If you go, be sure to wash it all down with one of Avery's amazing craft beers brewed on site.
The Post Brewing Co.
The Post Brewing Co. starred in the episode "Off-the-Chain Eats," which tucked into the restaurant's cast-iron meatloaf and their famous chicken and waffles.
Frasca Food and Wine was featured on Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate,” during which Michael Chiarello raved about the James Beard award-winning restaurant’s fried pineapple-wrapped speck.
Other Boulder Brushes with Food Fame
Boulder itself was featured on "Top Chef" Season 15, Episode 3. Get your own Top Chef-inspired itinerary.
Here's what Gail Simmons did on her day off from filming "Top Chef" in Boulder (joined by Frasca's master sommelier, Bobby Stuckey):
Tundra Restaurant Supply was the shooting location for the Restaurant Wars episode of "Top Chef." Come gawk at all the pretty, shiny pots and pans, pick up an affordable knife or peruse tongs in every color.
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