Two Colorado restaurants named New York Times best restaurants of the year

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The past 19 months have pushed the restaurant industry to its limits. In a year where dining establishments have been forced to shift gears to survive, it’s difficult to categorize restaurants with pre-pandemic standards.

What are the “best” restaurants in the country over the past year? Is it downplaying the industry’s unprecedented struggle?

Nonetheless, last Tuesday, The New York Times published The Restaurant List 2021. The interactive list allows diners to explore new and classic dining experiences after a year and a half of closures and restrictions.

Although the restaurants are not ranked, the final list reflects the “rich mosaic of American cuisine.” And as part of this culinary mosaic are two Colorado restaurants.

Although they are very different in food and style, the The New York Times list included Boulder’s Frasca and Denver’s Comal Heritage Food Incubator among “the liveliest and most delicious restaurants in 2021”.

Comal Heritage Food Incubator

Photo from Comal Heritage Food Incubator via Facebook

In Denver, Comal Heritage Food Incubator just celebrated its fifth anniversary on October 15th. The restaurant serves a variety of international dishes in the Five Points district. From Mexican cuisine to Ethiopian cuisine, the restaurant menu is constantly changing depending on who is in the kitchen.

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Who works in the kitchen is a big part of Comal Heritage. In addition to a rich menu, the restaurant’s mission is to train immigrants and refugees in the food industry. The aim is to help immigrants develop entrepreneurial skills in order to one day set up their own business. As a result, the menu changes as participants prepare and perfect dishes from their own cultural heritage.

You could get a succulent carne asada one week and a shoulder of lamb marinated in Iraqi spices the next. This is the wonder of Comal Heritage Food Incubator.

The Comal team is always looking to help others. During the pandemic, they prepared soups and meals for families in their neighborhoods. Additionally, they delivered meals for the Denver Metro Emergency Food Network.

Frasca food and wine

Photo by Frasca via Facebook

Frasca has become a staple in Boulder over the past 17 years. The fine restaurant had a specific mission from the start – to bring the authentic flavors of the northeastern region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia to a small town in Colorado.

The New York Times wrote, “The Rockies are a long way from Trieste, but the flavors here make the trip beautiful.”

The stylish Italian restaurant is nothing new to press praise or even praise. Just in 2020, Frasca was nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant. It also won a James Beard Award for Outstanding Hospitality in 2019 and one for Outstanding Wine Service in 2013.

The restaurant currently serves its fall menu and offers indoor and outdoor dining.

Check out the New York Times’ full interactive list of America’s 50 Best Restaurants at nytimes.com.


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