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Take a brake


Because researchers have shown that man cannot live on bike crashes alone, we bring you our look at grub spots in the racing area.

Each section's full of stops where you can drink, dine and perhaps even dance for next to nothing, as well as others that will reward you for dropping a few pretty pennies. Two notes:

• Due to space considerations, we can't be comprehensive here. But the places listed below are ones that we've found to be consistently satisfying and worth a visit.

• Also, it may be wise to call ahead, to check on wait times and even to ensure that your pick is actually open when you're planning to go. Although we know of at least a place or two that's breaking schedule to be open for race day, some may be stubborn about their time off.

Downtown's hub

Spots within a few blocks of the finish line

Arabica Café ~ Mediterranean ~ $

12 S. Tejon St., 471-2444,

Arabica was Indy readers' pick for Best Hummus, a thick, rich chickpea blend. The outfit's beef shawarma is also a highlight, laced with Lebanese spices and marinated overnight.

The Corner Café ~ Café ~ $

7 E. Vermijo Ave., 520-1843,

A breakfast and lunch standout. The Corner Café's sandwiches, made from sustainably sourced meats, are entirely satisfying, especially next to fries and a cup of co-owner Bob Smoot's outstanding pork green chile.

The Curry Leaf Restaurant ~ Greater Asia/Sri Lankan ~ $

26 S. Wahsatch Ave., 447-0608,

Amazing curries reveal hints of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and more rare spices like rumpe and goraka. The chicken curry is particularly euphoric, and the deviled shrimp will burn you.

El Taco Rey ~ Mexican/Southwestern ~ $

330 E. Colorado Ave., 475-9722,

It's often tough to find a seat in the small eatery during lunch hours, a testament to how great the Mexican standards are here. The avocado pork burrito is locally famous.

Everest Nepal Restaurant ~ Greater Asia/Nepalese/Indian ~ $

28 E. Bijou St., 473-3890,

Nepali and Indian staples rule the roost: Daal dishes, curry plates, wonderfully seasoned meats and vibrant veggie offerings pair well with sweet lassis, chai tea or beer.

The Famous ~ Steakhouse ~ $$$

31 N. Tejon St., 227-7333,

All the high-end steaks are delicious and tasty, and sides pair beautifully. If you just want to gaze over dark wood and feel leather on your bum, nab a $13, kick-ass cheeseburger at lunch.

The Flow of Mexico ~ Mexican/Southwestern ~ $$

16 E. Bijou St., 633-2526

Where others are greasy and heavy, Flow is crisp, fresh and somehow lighter. Try the excellent and chocolatey mole de pollo or get the ceviche de pescado y camarón or campechana.

Fratelli Ristorante Italiano ~ Italian ~ $$

124 N. Nevada Ave., 575-9571,

For 16 years, Fratelli has been dishing out an authentic blend of Northern and Southern Italian cuisine, including classics like linguine con carne and fettuccine Bolognese.

Fujiyama ~ Sushi/Japanese ~ $$

22 S. Tejon St., Suite A, 630-1167,

Fujiyama sports a menu with rolls such as the Michael Jackson (too soon?), X-Men, Moby Dick, Sugar Daddy and Deer Butt. Or you can just go for the standard two-piece nigiri selections.

Il Vicino ~ Pizza ~ $

11 S. Tejon St., 475-9224,

Il Vicino, a regional chain, is popular for a pint and a delectable, gourmet wood-oven pizza. The paninis and salads are also satisfying.

Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse & Pub ~ Irish/English ~ $$

21 S. Tejon St., 385-0766,

At "Quinn's," look for American pub standards and more unusual Irish fare like a Celtic Reuben, Irish Stout Beef Boxty, or a traditional Irish breakfast (served anytime).

Judge Baldwin's Brewing Company ~ Brewpub ~ $

Antlers Hilton Hotel, 4 S. Cascade Ave., 955-5600,

The house-made beers don't top those from other local microbreweries, but the Maine Lobster Roll sandwich is a winner.

King's Chef Diner ~ Diner ~ $

131 E. Bijou St., 636-5010; 110 E. Costilla St., 634-9135;

King's Chef is famous for its seriously hot vegetarian green chili (with a gluten-free version now, too). Pour it over the enormous breakfast burrito or go all out with the green chili cheeseburger.

La Baguette ~ Café/Bakery ~ $

117 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 636-5020,

Enjoy freshly baked bread, a French-inspired menu that includes a to-die-for French onion soup, and affordable baguette sandwiches.

La Creperie Bistro ~ Crêperie ~ $$$

204 N. Tejon St., 632-0984

The tiny dining room and cozy sidewalk patio offer a charming intimacy in which to enjoy your savory or sweet treat. A full French menu and lovely wine list complement the popular pancakes.

MacKenzie's Chop House ~ Gourmet/Steakhouse ~ $$$

128 S. Tejon St., 635-3536,

MacKenzie's is the subterranean lair where carnivores go to feast and sip specialty martinis. Dinner steaks can run up to $39, but a lot of lunches are in the $9 to $13 range.

Mediterranean Café ~ Mediterranean ~ $

118 E. Kiowa St., 633-0115,

The food here is simply fantastic, with bright flavors, fresh ingredients and damn good renditions of the usual suspects, including gyros, falafel, kebabs, moussaka, spanakopita and more.

Nosh ~ Gourmet ~ $$

121 S. Tejon St., 634-6674,

We called the Crispy Korean Wings the best dish we reviewed in 2010. Nosh's commitment to unusual and diverse flavors is as compelling to the senses as the giant koi pond wall décor in the dining room.

The Olive Branch Restaurant ~ Café/Bistro ~ $$

23 S. Tejon St., 475-1199,

Extensive gluten-free menus show that this stand-by knows how to adapt. Overall Olive Branch highlights: a juice bar; pancakes and omelettes until 4; and steak and seafood entrées at dinner.

Opb&j ~ American ~ $

3 E. Bijou St., 571-9854,

Opb&j spins the childhood staple of peanut butter and jelly into a full-on, mostly organic meal. More than 700 variations are available.

Paris Crepe Euro Café ~ Creperie ~ $

218 N. Tejon St., 444-0110,

Paris Crepe goes the bargain route, offering regional crêpes for $3 to $7.95. The Thai beef is a wonderful example: full of peanut crumbles, pickled pear, cilantro and peanut sauce.

Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. ~ Brewpub ~ $$

2 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 635-2800,

Gov. John Hickenlooper opened Phantom Canyon in 1993; it's since changed hands but remains a downtown cornerstone with excellent pool tables, craft brews and solid, higher-end pub food.

The Rabbit Hole Dinner and Drinks ~ Gourmet ~ $$

101 N. Tejon St., 623-2120,

This new, hip underground location, open from 4 p.m., serves local beers from Bristol Brewing Co. and Colorado Mountain Brewery, and creative dishes like bacon-wrapped rabbit meatloaf.

Ritz Grill ~ Gourmet Bistro ~ $$

15 S. Tejon St., 635-8484,

Dinner can be as cheap as lunch, with a $10 pizza, or flashy with a $27 filet topped with Gorgonzola. Catch regular happy hours, live music at night, and weekend brunches.

Saigon Café ~ Vietnamese ~ $$

20 E. Colorado Ave., 633-2888,

In 2010, readers voted Saigon Café as Best Vietnamese for the eighth consecutive year, mostly on the power of its noodle bowls. Lunch boasts more than 19 combination plates alone.

Slayton's Tejon Street Grill ~ Barbecue ~ $$

28A S. Tejon St., 471-2311,

Slayton's specializes in Kansas City-style barbecue smoked with apple and hickory wood. In addition to ribs, brisket, pulled pork and the like, look for upscale burgers like the Guinness Stout Burger.

Sonterra Innovative Southwest Grill ~ Mexican/Southwestern ~ $$

28B S. Tejon St., 471-9222,

The "innovative Southwest grill," complete with cacti and a cool, cloud-painted ceiling, is otherwise known for dry-aged steaks and gourmet, Coastal Mexican-type seafood plates.

Springs Orleans ~ Cajun/Southern ~ $$

123 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 520-0123,

Attached to the under-construction Mining Exchange, a Wyndham Grand Hotel — where the bike valet may be found — Springs Orleans does Cajun/Southern with po-boys, burgers, Southern "tapatizers," gumbo, build-your-own platters and more.

Taste of Jerusalem Café ~ Mediterranean/Yemeni ~ $

15 E. Bijou St., 477-1777,

Owner Abdul Nasser's menu blends Yemeni styles with classic Mediterranean dishes. Lately, it's grown to encompass delicious marinated kababs and lively new veggie and meat platters.

Yoo Mae ~ Sushi/Japanese ~ $$

21 E. Kiowa St., 473-8105

Chef JJ Kim's take on Japanese cuisine is as inventive as it is tasty: Among other choices, diners have the chance to eat Rhode Island and Alabama rolls. (Helps explain the map of the U.S. on the wall.)

North downtown

Spots within easy biking distance (going slightly uphill)

Amuzé at the FAC ~ Gourmet ~ $$$

30 W. Dale St., 477-4377,

Chef Bill Sherman's French influences emerge in artistic ways, like the Zia sun-symbol arrangement of the filet mignon carpaccio, which pays homage to the Fine Arts Center's architectural leanings.

Borriello Brothers ~ Pizza ~ $

215 E. Platte Ave., 884-2020,

Borriello Brothers dishes out our readers' favorite pizza. Pies are 18-inch, hand-tossed New York-style beauties, topped with the standards of your choosing. Personal-sized gluten-free pizzas are also available.

Dale Street Café ~ Café/Bistro ~ $$

115 E. Dale St., 578-9898,

Set in a charming Victorian, Dale Street Café boasts an extensive lunch and dinner menu that's made it a downtown staple. Entrées usher in everything from Jägerschnitzel to peanut-crusted mahi mahi.

José Muldoon's ~ Mexican/Southwestern ~ $

222 N. Tejon St., 636-2311,

Springs diners come for tasty Tex-Mex staples, a sizzling skillet of buffalo, or lighter fare like the vegetable topolobampo. (Try and say that after three house margaritas.)

La'au's Taco Shop ~ Tacqueria ~ $

1605 S. Cascade Ave., 578-5228,

La'au's keeps it simple with a choice of tacos, bowls, burritos or salads with a wide variety of fresh fillings — from mahi-mahi to huli chicken to slow braised, hand-shredded pork.

Louie's Pizza ~ Pizza ~ $

333. N. Tejon St.; 1146 E. Fillmore St.,

The buttery garlic bread is a favorite, and the pizzas and calzones are plenty hearty. "La Fruita" dessert pizzas put fruit spreads and icing over a cinnamon-sugar crust.

Panino's Restaurant ~ Italian ~ $

604 N. Tejon St., 635-7452,

Panino's is family-owned and -operated, and offers a hearty menu with pizzas, pasta, salads and more than 30 signature baked Panino sandwiches.

Poor Richard's & Rico's Coffee ~ Pizza/Drink House ~ $$

322-324 N. Tejon St., 632-7721,

Rico's has your tastes covered with fine wines, drinking chocolates, teas and coffee drinks, and Poor Richard's satisfies that never-ending craving for awesome gourmet pizza. The adjoining book and toy stores make food waits painless.

Rasta Pasta ~ Italian Caribbean Fusion ~ $$

405 N. Tejon St., 481-6888,

Rasta Pasta's menu relies heavily on a proprietary blend of dry jerk seasoning and a house marinara sauce, with choice of heat level. Try the Tortellini Jamaica Mon or the signature Rasta Pasta.

Smiley's Bakery & Café ~ Café ~ $

323 N. Tejon St., 328-9447

Smiley's delivers kitschy, but quaint, décor with antique kitchen tables, novelty signs and houseplants galore. Its deli counter demands attention with pies, pastries and muffins, but Smiley's (open for breakfast and lunch) makes solid sandwiches and soups as well.

Wooglin's Deli & Café ~ Café ~ $

823 N. Tejon St., 578-9443,

Wooglin's offers a cozy, offbeat, collegiate atmosphere, live music, and all-from-scratch menu of excellent coffee drinks, veggie chili, hot and cold "overstuffed" sandwiches, burgers, quesadillas and more.

South downtown

Spots within easy biking distance (going slightly downhill)

The Blue Star ~ Gourmet ~ $$$

1645 S. Tejon St., 632-1086,

Readers picked the Blue Star for Best Overall Restaurant, Wait Staff, Fine Dining and Restaurant Wine List awards last year. The lounge and dinner menus are roughly the same price these days, so sit wherever you're comfortable.

Edelweiss Restaurant ~ German ~ $$

34 E. Ramona Ave., 633-2220,

Edelweiss delivers an authentic taste of Germany with delicious schnitzel, bratwurst, sauerbraten, steak selections and much more. Lunch brings sandwiches like a Reuben and Cordon Bleu.

Luigi's Homemade Italian Food ~ Italian ~ $$

947 S. Tejon St., 632-7339,

Open since 1958, the authentic, Northern Italian dinners thankfully haven't changed much. Rich, homemade sauces define the pastas and stone-baked pizzas.

McCabe's Tavern ~ Irish/English ~ $

520 S. Tejon St., 633-3300,

With more than 20 primo Irish whiskeys in addition to a large, international beer list, McCabe's could be considered a drink destination first, but there are plenty of classic Irish eats as well.

Oscar's Oyster Bar ~ Pub Food ~ $

333 S. Tejon St., 471-8070

Oscar's is a downtown go-to at lunch for a satisfying, largely better-than-bar-food menu of thick burgers and sandwiches, plus gourmet treats like a spicy seafood gumbo and fresh oysters.

Shuga's ~ Café/Drink House ~ $

702 S. Cascade Ave., 328-1412,

The boozy cocktails are quality, the atmosphere is always changing, and the food, especially the ever-lauded Brazilian coconut shrimp soup, is as good as the drinks.

SouthSide Johnny's ~ Pub Food ~ $

528 S. Tejon St., 444-8487,

You might come just for the drinks and the music, but you'd be missing out on tasty highlights like the chicken tenders tossed in Asian bruja hot sauce, or the ahi tuna steaks.

The Warehouse Restaurant and Gallery ~ Gourmet ~ $$$

25 W. Cimarron St., 475-8880,

Featuring a gallery-style succession of artwork and chic décor as well as an intriguing take on dinner-date favorites like seared ahi tuna and steak Oskar, the Warehouse offers fine dining with a locavore's twist.

Old Colorado City

Race-route (or nearby) destinations to sample, straightaway

Amanda's Fonda ~ Mexican/Southwestern ~ $

3625 W. Colorado Ave., 227-1975

Our readers have voted these hefty portions of Tex-Mex standards the Best Mexican food for 11 years. Get a margarita and chile rellenos and dine on the creekside patio.

Bon Ton's Café ~ Café ~ $

2601 W. Colorado Ave., 634-1007,

Featuring a gorgeous, tree-lined patio, Bon Ton's does classic breakfast items all day and everything from fish & chips to tacos, sandwich melts and burgers at lunch.

Cucuru ~ Café ~ $$

2332 W. Colorado Ave., 520-9900,

An eclectic coffee shop, wine bar, tapas spot and café all rolled into a mini art gallery, Cucuru is your spot for a latte, sangria, quesadilla and cheese plate.

Faerie Tales Bakehouse and Catering

1015 W. Colorado Ave., 375-5651,

French-inspired bistro cooking. See this week's Appetite review here.

Firehouse Southern Style BBQ ~ Barbecue ~ $

817 W. Colorado Ave., 447-8829,

Home of superior ribs and awesome homemade pies, Firehouse describes its meat prep as a Texas-Oklahoma hybrid, which equates to gorgeously charred chunks served with four house sauce options.

Front Range Barbeque ~ Barbecue ~ $

2330 W. Colorado Ave., 632-2596,

Local-award-winning Front Range uses Alabama-born recipes. Enjoy a heaping plate of ribs, brisket or a pulled pork sandwich, or an elk, buffalo or veggie burger next to a local microbrew.

Jake & Telly's Greek Taverna ~ Greek ~ $$

2616 W. Colorado Ave., 633-0406,

From the lengthy Mediterranean options, one starter can speak to J&T's gourmet excellence: the Saganaki of sheep's milk Kasseri cheese, grilled and then flambéed with lemon and served with grilled pita.

La Perla Tapatía Mexican Taqueria ~ Mexican/Southwestern ~ $

511 N. 30th St., 228-6006

Run by a Guadalajara native, La Perla Tapatía serves fantastic tacos al pastor and the Springs' only torta ahogada, or drowned sandwich — a baguette filled with pulled pork and tomato sauce.

Mountain Shadows Restaurant ~ Café ~ $

2223 W. Colorado Ave, 633-2122,

At this charming café with a great front patio, you'll get deals such as an $8.99, 10-ounce, sustainably sourced steak in addition to specialty burgers and delicious hot sandwiches like Reubens, French dips and BLTs.

Paravicini's Italian Bistro ~ Italian ~ $$

2802 W. Colorado Ave., 471-8200,

A regular winner for Best Italian in the city, you'll find classics here like veal piccata or marsala, gnocchi bolognese, fettuccine alfredo and tortellini carbonara.

Pizzeria Rustica ~ Pizza/Italian ~ $$

2527 W. Colorado Ave., 632-8121,

With an eye toward sustainability, Pizzeria Rustica serves fantastic wood-oven pizzas. Appetizers like the caprese salad and desserts like the pistachio gelato or limoncello sorbetto are equally memorable.

TAPAteria ~ Gourmet ~ $$

2607 W. Colorado Ave., 471-8272,

Here you'll find great drinks and Barcelona-inspired tapas in a hip setting. Consider the charcuterie plate or wild salmon tartare, the latter of which was one of our 10 favorite dishes of 2010.

Terrazza Grill ~ Café ~ $$

1005 W. Colorado Ave., 487-1933,

This catering-outfit offshoot serves an expansive menu of soups, salads, pastas, pizzas, seafood and more.

Uchenna ~ Ethiopian ~ $$

2501 W. Colorado Ave., #108, 634-5070,

This gem of an Ethiopian eatery uses sustainable ingredients and intoxicating spices. Eat with your hands and scoop delicious items like doro wat, a mole-esque chicken dish with a mind-blowing sauce.

Vietnamese Garden ~ Vietnamese ~ $

3043 W. Pikes Peak Ave., 520-9299,

Sole cook/owner Dung My Tram runs this excellent noodle and rice spot, making her mother's traditional dishes. Get the potato fritters and a bun dish, then end with the superb mung bean cake.

Manitou Springs

While not on the race route, Manitou Springs is not far from the race's start in Garden of the Gods. And it's a visitor's paradise. Here are extra short takes on some worthy destinations there.

Adam's Mountain Café ~ Café/Vegetarian ~ $$

934 Manitou Ave., 685-1430,

Fantastic slow food with an eye toward local and organic ingredients.

Briarhurst Manor Estate ~ Gourmet ~ $$$

404 Manitou Ave., 685-1864,

A creative and gourmet menu featuring game meats and rich desserts.

The Cliff House at Pikes Peak ~ Gourmet ~ $$$

306 Cañon Ave., 685-3000,

Outstanding fine dining at reasonable prices; eat on the veranda.

Coquette's Bistro and Bakery ~ Creperie ~ $$

915 Manitou Ave., 685-2420,

Gluten-free savory and sweet crêpes, plus GF beers and coffee drinks.

Craftwood Inn ~ Gourmet ~ $$$

404 El Paso Blvd., 685-9000,

Gamey goodness like lamb, antelope and ostrich in a gorgeous setting.

Crystal Park Cantina ~ Mexican/Southwestern ~ $$

178 Crystal Park Road, 685-5999,

Creative and vibrant gourmet Mexican food; superior margaritas.

Keg Lounge ~ Pub Food ~ $

730 Manitou Ave., 685-9531

Better-than-bar eats, like a locally lauded buffalo cheeseburger.

The Loop ~ Mexican/Southwestern ~ $$

965 Manitou Ave., 685-9344,

Top-shelf margaritas and staple Tex-Mex items in a lively setting.

The Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant ~ Fondue ~ $$$

733 Manitou Ave., 685-0277,

Pricey but delicious fondue — a cheese and chocolate paradise.

PJ's Bistro ~ Café ~ $

819 Manitou Ave., 685-1195

Fine European plates with an interesting sandwich list; great patio.

Ruffrano's Hell's Kitchen Pizza ~ Pizza - $$

9 Ruxton Ave., 685-4355,

Home of the Hellfire Pie, just one great pizza worth trying.

Wild Ginger Thai Restaurant ~ Thai ~ $

27 Manitou Ave., 634-5025,

Locals' favorite spot for Pad Thai, curries and coconut ice cream.

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