Front Range Barbeque
2330 W. Colorado Ave., 632-2596, frbbq.com
You know it for bluegrass Wednesdays and commendable tap beers, but have you kept up with Front Range for the increasing Colorad-ization of its menu? Besides being naturally raised, all its meats save for the pork are local. And all produce (in season) is Colorado-grown, says kitchen manager Jesse Galvan.
The lunch special ($6.95) is a house-roasted pumpkin and butternut squash bisque plus a salad with delicious, cold-smoked, sweet onion buttermilk ranch. The soup's a touch heavy on baking spices but still good and nice with a Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. (Thank you, Beer Drinker's Guide to Colorado coupon.) The new-to-the-menu riblet plate ($16, with two sides) is heaping and killer: slow-cooked St. Louis rack ends are light on the char but tender and flavorful, with both hickory and mesquite flavor. Get them naked and try all three house sauces at the table; the original spicy is king. — Matthew Schniper
467 N. Circle Drive, 471-0742
Las Americas is a small corner restaurant in the Tower Plaza shopping center. Its signage is a little battered, with previous names having been barely painted over in favor of advertisements for menudo, tamales and barbacoa. But word from local food blog The Dive Review was that the kitchen knew what it was doing when it came to the latter, so off I went.
Ordered over a glass case topped with menus and full of clothing for sale, the huge plate of deep-brown pulled beef cheek ($7.99) was thin and soft, fatty and rich, and beautifully cut by a heap of cilantro and white onions. All that got spooned into a steaming corn tortilla, then topped with fresh salsa, over, and over, and over. It's the value of the century, one that could easily feed three people — or two if you want to just loll around, then roll on out with the extras. — Bryce Crawford
The Bull Moose Restaurant and Bar
1245 Cañon St., Guffey, 719/689-4199, thebullmooseinguffey.com
Guffey is more of an outpost than a town, taken to electing animals "mayor" and offering more bone-based odd art and Western antiques than tourist services. But the fireman-owned and -themed Bull Moose is a worthwhile daytrip destination, boasting steroid- and hormone-free meats and surprisingly good grub for the backwoods.
The generously portioned pulled pork on a brioche bun ($8.95) is smoked over apple juice-soaked aspen chips, and served with a fantastic house barbecue sauce — bearing more smoke, mild sweetness, a black pepper bite and medium spice burn — on the side. The thick, hand-cut house potato chips are crispy-edged but soggy-centered, still good under barbecue-sauce drippings. Some of our house salad greens ($4.95) were old and slimy, and the sweet potato fries served savory (sweet offered; $3.95) are average, though a tomatoey green chili ($3.95/cup) with balanced heat pleases fine. — Matthew Schniper