Colorado Earns Its First Michelin Stars

Food & Drink

Colorado, a state known more for being a playground for outdoor lovers, has officially been anointed a culinary hotpot. That’s because, on September 12, 2023, the Rocky Mountain state received its first-ever stars in the venerable Michelin Guide at a gala event in Denver. By becoming the sixth region in the United States to receive its own guide, the state joined the ranks of dining powerhouses New York City, California, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Florida.

The bestowing of a Michelin star is a momentous occasion for any establishment. It has elevated many chefs to spectacular heights. Gordon Ramsey, Alain Ducasse, Thomas Keller, and Joël Robuchon are just a few luminaries the guide singled out that have become household names.

The inclusion of Colorado is part of a significant expansion of the guide that saw it recently enter Toronto (its first in Canada), Florida, as mentioned above, with Atlanta, GA, planned for 2024. As one of the fastest-growing states in population, Colorado is quickly becoming a dining hotspot that regularly takes home James Beard Awards and attracts fresh young chef talent.

First launched in 1900 by Michelin Tire, the guide’s rating system has remained virtually unchanged since 1931. Restaurants can receive one, two, or three stars. To put things into perspective, of the 16,600 restaurants in the guide worldwide, only 3,400 have any stars, and only 142 have three stars, 13 of which are in the United States.

The rest of the restaurants in the guide have been recognized in one of three categories. They are the Recommended designation, the level just below a star, a Bib Gourmand designation for establishments that offer diners a chance to eat well without breaking the bank, or a Green Star designation for environmental sustainability.

The first Colorado guide focused on Denver, Boulder, Aspen/Snowmass, Vail, and Beaver Creek restaurants. Noticeably absent were the second largest city in the state, Colorado Springs, plus the cities of Aurora, Ft. Collins, and the Western Slope region. That was due to the decision of those regions not to contribute funds like those listed to belay the costs of bringing in the anonymous inspectors that ultimately decide who goes into the guide.

Five restaurants were awarded one star (none were awarded two or three stars), nine received the Bib Gourmand, four received the Green Star, and thirty were listed as Recommended. Here are the restaurants that were singled out.

One Star Awards

  • Beckon, Denver (Duncan Holmes)
  • Bosq, Aspen (Barclay Dodge)
  • Brutø, Denver (Michael Diaz de Leon and Kelly Whitaker)
  • Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder (Ian Palazzola)
  • The Wolf’s Tailor, Denver (Taylor Stark and Kelly Whitaker)

Bib Gourmand

  • AJ’s Pit Bar-B-Q, Denver
  • Ash’Kara, Denver
  • Glo Noodle House, Denver
  • Hop Alley, Denver
  • La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal, Denver
  • Mister Oso, Denver
  • Tavernetta, Denver
  • The Ginger Pig, Denver
  • Basta, Boulder

Green Star

  • Blackbelly Market, Boulder
  • Bramble & Hare, Boulder
  • Brutø, Denver
  • The Wolf’s Tailor, Denver

Recommended

A5 Steakhouse, Denver

Barolo Grill, Denver

Blackbelly Market, Boulder

Dio Mio, Denver

Bramble & Hare, Boulder

Dushanbe Tea House, Boulder

Element 47, Aspen

Fruition, Denver

Guard and Grace, Denver

Hey Kiddo, Denver

Marco’s Coal Fired, Denver

Mawa’s Kitchen, Aspen

Mercantile Dining and Provision, Denver

Mirabelle, Avon

Noisette, Denver

Oak at Fourteenth, Boulder

Olivia, Denver

Osaki’s, Vail

Potager, Denver

Prospect, Aspen

Q House, Denver

Safta, Denver

Santo, Denver

Smok, Denver

Splendido at The Chateau, Avon

Stella’s Cucina, Boulder

Sweet Basil, Vail

Temaki Den, Denver

Wyld, Avon

Zoe Ma Ma, Denver

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