The World Outside Your Door
Best place to eat when you crave meat
2870 North Ave., Grand Junction
READER PICK: Every carnivore loves this restaurant, from the peanuts on the floor to the Hee-Haw posters in the waiting area to those tasty rolls, fall-off-the-bone ribs, tender steaks… oops, don’t mind the drool. It happens when we think about Texas Roadhouse.
Best place to eat for herbivores and vegetarians
Garden of Eat’N >>
2502 Highway 6 and 50 # 700
READER PICK: Truly a great place to go for a salad that doesn’t seem like a salad course, but a full meal. Tasty soups, too, with a vegetarian option as well as an offering for the meat lovers in the group.
Best new restaurant (opened in the last 12 months)
359 Colorado Avenue, Grand Junction, CO 81501-2467
READER PICK: If good Irish beer, amazing pub food and a friendly place to hang with your pals are on your wish list, then wish no more. Head downtown to Naggy’s (you may be the only person in Mesa County who hasn’t already checked it out) and enjoy.
Best asian restaurant
2886 North Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501-5022
READER PICK: This is blasphemy to sushi lovers, but true nonetheless: Not everyone likes sushi and Zen Garden is a great place to accommodate those sushi lovers and those who simply love the lovers. Great variety, good use of spices and a nice presentation of old favorites.
Best Italian restaurant
2416 Highway 6 & 50
READER PICK: Anyone who’s ever endured an hourlong wait to be seated knows this place is a Grand Junction favorite. The salad and breadstick lunch is awesome, as are the dinner entrees.
Best Mexican restaurant
421 Brach Drive, Grand Junction
3245 I-70 Business Loop
READER PICK: We love our homegrown favorites here in the Grand Valley, especially when it comes to Mexican food. Or margaritas and guacamole, both of which are awesome at Dos Hombres.
Best Bargain eats
Multiple locations throughout the Grand Valley
READER PICK: When the wallet is a little skinny but the stomach is still saying “Feed Me!” Taco Bell comes to the rescue. The food isn’t just a bargain; it’s tasty, too.
The Egg & I
120 W Park Dr # 107,
READER PICK: Some people want a feast at breakfast that includes something from every level of the food pyramid. Don’t worry, the Egg and I can accommodate. Great variety, tasty combinations and a large menu that offers something for everyone.
Best sandwich shop
1125 Patterson Road,
READER PICK: We love our sandwiches and we love it when we can get them exactly the way we want them. With everything from meat loaf to Montecristo, with vegetarian options and countless variety, Which Wich is an easy place to visit over and over again without ever feeling like you always eat the same food at the same place.
Best catering or takeout
2440 Highway 6 and 50
READER PICK: This is a great option whether you’re hosting a small gathering or a community celebration. Great barbecue and no fuss.
924 North 7th Street
READER PICK: This local favorite is carbohydrate heaven, with everything from cookies and cakes to breads and bagels. The smell when you walk in the door makes you wish you could ditch the office and work from Homestyle.
Best happy hour
The Ale House
2531 North 12th Street
READER PICK: Need a place to unwind with a few friends? Whether yyou want to enjoy the patio, catch the game on TV, shoot a few games of billiards or just knock back a brew or two, the Ale House is our readers’ pick for the place to go for happy hour.
Best health club or gym
700 Maldonado Way
READER PICK: Plenty of classes, a pool that’s big enough to do more than get wet, lots of weight machines, equipment and options for healthy living.
Best locally made adult beverage
Goat Vodka from Peach Street Distillers
144 South Kluge Ave, Bldg. #2,
READER PICK: Flavored vodka? A bloody Mary that doubles as a vegetable serving? Oh, yeah. The Western Slope is a happier place because these guys are making some amazing booze.
Best locally grown or manufactured product
READER PICK: What can we say that hasn’t already been said about Palisade peaches? They divine, they’re delicious and we’re absolutely devoted to their consumption.
Best place to go with kids
Bananas Fun Park
2469 Riverside Parkway
READER PICK: Where else can you go to find arcade games, lazer tag, mini golf, bumper boats, go-karts, a batting cage and a bump-n-jump? With a few winter specials and deals during the winter vacation, this isn’t just fun for the kids, but fairly painless for the budget, too.
Best place to buy a vehicle
Western Slope Auto
2264 Hwy 6 & 50 Grand Junction
READER PICK: The sales staff is attentive without being pushy. The service department is top-notch and willing to work with their customers to make sure that satisfaction comes standard.
Best place to buy A RECReational vehicle
3090 I-70 Business Loop,
READER PICK: Buying an RV is a huge investment in family fun and Gibson makes sure that customers get great service and a great deal. They carry a full line of RVs to cater to everyone’s camping preference, whether you want a Hilton on wheels or a something a little more rustic.
Best venue for a live music performance
645 Main Street, Grand Junction (970) 263-5700
READER PICK: At the Avalon, there are no bad seats. No matter where you sit, you’ve got a great view of the stage, and the downtown location makes it easy to turn a simple concert into a full evening of dinner, music and a nightcap to put the icing on the cake.
Best local festival or event
Downtown Farmers Market
READER PICK: Live music, great food, fun vendors, awesome produce and the best venue for people-watching on the entire Western Slope. And it happens every Thursday night in the summer! How cool is that?
Best item to trim for local government budgets
Salaries, raises and bonuses for administrators and employees
READER PICK: Whatever happened to the idea behind the term “public servant?”
Best place to get the good ice —without having to visit the hospital
1125 Patterson Road,
STAFF PICK: Crunching ice can be quite a satisfying act, but not if the ice is hard and splintery. St. Mary’s has the good ice for chewin’, but not everyone wants to visit the hospital to get it. Instead, go to Which Wich. They have the good chewin’ ice and a fun sandwich experience to boot.
Best place to hang out during the week
Naggy McGee’s Irish Pub
359 Colorado Avenue, Grand Junction
STAFF PICK: Going out doesn’t only have to happen on the weekends. When you are looking for some place to hang out during the week, Naggy McGee’s is the place to be. Not only do they have savory Irish fare and great happy hour specials, they have regular entertainment of live Irish dancing and music as well.
Best Blotter Item
STAFF PICK: Seems we have some color-conscious criminals right here in River City as witnessed by the pilfering of a pink garden hose from a resident’s back yard. To avoid any bad karma, the hose-swiper did replace the pink hose with their own green garden hose and a note explaining that they simply preferred the pink one. To the best of our knowledge, no charges have been filed and the suspect remains at large.
Best You Said It Items
Best You Said It items
STAFF PICK: A carved wooden eagle statue was stolen from a yard and the owner rightfully berated the thief in the You Said It column. Lo and behold, the statue had been recovered and was sitting in the “missing statues” locker waiting to be returned to its owner. When the missing statue warden read the You Said It, she wrote a You Said It of her own imploring the owner to identify and claim the statue, which the owner did. Statue and owner are now reunited, not much worse for the wear. Shame on the thief – but three cheers for the column people love to hate!
Best use of bacon in a local restaurant
STAFF PICK: When is the use of bacon ever bad? Has there ever been an instance where a person has said, “This would have been much better without the bacon.”? Choosing just one “best use of” for bacon is difficult. You could go with the Rib City Grill triple cheese fries with a side of spicy ranch dressing. Melted cheese atop crisp waffle fries with a scattering of crispy real bacon bits on top make these a fabulous treat.
Still, even the cheese fries come in second to Pablo’s Pizza’s Delta Blues pizza. The Delta Blues pizza has red sauce, mozzarella, bacon, bleu cheese, spinach and mushrooms. The combination of the sharp bleu cheese with the salty bacon just can’t be beat! Enjoyed on the patio under a warm blue sky with a frosty 90 Shilling or Easy Street, the Delta Blues will certainly make you smile.
Best Liquid Apples in Cedaredge
794 NE Indian Camp Ave.,
STAFF PICK: Most people know about the crispy, sweet apples in Cedaredge but not as many may be familiar with their liquid sister — the scrumptious hard cider handmade at the Blossomwood Cidery. Just a short drive off the main drag brings you to the orchards and rustic tasting room where you can sample a couple different kinds of grown-up apple juice. With alcohol content approaching the double digits in one bottling this is not the stuff for baby bottles - but certainly bottles that would enhance a cool fall evening and go perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner.
Best fashion statement at a local event
STAFF PICK: polka-dotted rubber rain boots and shorts at the Palisade Bluegrass & Roots Music Festival… Not only did they declare that the wearer was prepared for anything, she was prepared while keeping her sense of fun.
Worst place to lose your balance and/or discover you have acrophobia
STAFF PICK: The Mount Garfield trail.
Best ‘Listen to the people’ act from a local government
STAFF PICK: Re-naming Rocket Park and leaving the beloved rocket there for all to see and admire. Soon, it will be the stuff of legends, passed down from one generation to another (Say, sonny… when I was a kid, we actually got to climb on that rocket, in the snow, after hiking five miles to get to the park).
Best cheap date
STAFF PICK: A romantic walk down Main Street admiring the Art on the Corner and making up funny stories about the sculptures. She’ll think you’re clever and spontaneous rather than broke and desperate.
Best ski mountain deal in colorado
READER PICK: The snow has started to fall, opening day is coming soon and it’s not too late to take advantage of some brand new deals being offered by our local mountain. Check out the Deca Card or the Stay and Play package.
Best after-work mountain bike ride
Kokopelli Loops at Loma
STAFF PICK: When the days of “springing forward” begin again and we are blessed with long summer nights, mountain biking after work becomes almost mandatory. We want a ride that is long enough to feel like we’ve actually gotten some exercise, but we don’t want anything super technical. There is nothing like banging into rock ledges to remind you that you have already put in a full eight-hour day.
For these reasons, Loma is the best place to go for an after-work bike ride. For a short ride, Rustler’s loop is fun for every skill level. Advanced riders can bomb down switchbacks while beginners practice braking skills and ledge work. Rustler’s stays right above the river for about half of its 3.6-mile ride before taking riders to the finish through a roller coaster ride. For a slightly longer ride, Wrangler’s loop (off of Mary’s loop) offers just the right amount of downhill, technical fun, and sunset views. Careful! The downhill section at the end does include a few sketchy sections with ledge drops. As always after your bike ride, be sure to enjoy a snack and a sunset before heading home!
Best fall/winter escape
STAFF PICK:The Grand Mesa is a great place to enjoy the fall colors, but remember to go early – fall happens earlier at 10,000 feet. In the winter, it’s a great place to go for quiet relaxation or wild, adrenaline charged fun, depending on whether you want to hole up in a cabin with a book and a bottle of wine or go snowmobiling.
Best hiking and biking snacks
CLIF Mojo bars
STAFF PICK: Let’s face it: if we could all take pizza and beer with us on our hikes and bike rides, we probably would. Sadly the pizza would get squished in a backpack and the hydration bladder couldn’t handle beer without exploding. Enter the power bars, protein bars, energy bars, stingers, beans, and gel packs. Everywhere we turn we’re surrounded by bars that are supposed to keep us full and energized on our wild Colorado adventures.
The snack bar that always has a place in our backpack? A CLIF Mojo bar. The mojo bars have more texture—nuts and pretzel bits—than the regular CLIF bars. They come in flavors like chocolate dipped or peanut butter and jelly! Best of all? They are organic, and they taste great! If it is super hot and you think you’ll need more than just water, take along Nuun hydration tablets in either the orange or mixed berry flavor. The extra electrolytes really make a difference in the desert heat.
Best Example of an Over-Hyped Opening
STAFF PICK: Whether you still call it Walker Field or the newer name of Grand Junction Regional Airport, we all still think of it as not enough seats on not enough flights for too much money. But at least now we have a (drum roll please) Subway Restaurant as one of the upgraded amenities. The grand opening of this fine dining establishment got plenty of press, including the fact that after months of operation it was losing money. Maybe it’s time for a Save the Five Dollar Footlong rally out there so we all retain the chance to grab one before getting on a food-less flight for hours.