Home to fertile orchards, about two-dozen wineries, award-winning breweries and more, the area provides plenty of fresh flavors for local chefs. What chefs can’t find locally, they get from other nearby Colorado sources. And that means an ever-changing palate of seasonal flavors for diners to enjoy — and a real taste of why dining on the Western Slope is such a unique pleasure. Here are a few of the restaurants in Grand Junction where you’ll find great locally sourced food on the menu.
626 on Rood: More than a full-service restaurant, 626 on Rood offers a unique culinary discovery of American cuisine and fine wines. When ordering locally sourced food, try a local burger. The 626 Burger features beef from Roan Creek Ranch. Chef/Owner Theo Otte purchases meats from local ranchers, while vegetables and herbs not only come from neighboring growers, but from his home garden, the restaurant’s dining patio and the Palisade Community Garden. In keeping with the Colorado tradition of “putting up” the bounty for later, 626 on Rood also cans its produce (pickled cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes), allowing the restaurant to have more local ingredients available throughout the year.
BIN 707 Foodbar: BIN 707 Foodbar makes it a point to get ingredients locally first and foremost. Executive Chef Josh Niernberg buys all local produce (pumpkins, melons, peas, lettuce, beans, fennel, parsnips and more) from Blaine’s and Field to Fork, and grows microgreens in his office. The peppers for BIN 707’s Sriracha come from Okagawa Farms, and Palisade fruits are used for their fruit syrups. Some of it is pickled and preserved to make it available year-round. When he can’t get meats from Roan Creek, he will purchase it from Tender Belly (Denver), Boulder Natural Chickens and Rosen Lamb in Colorado. And if ingredients are not available locally or within the state, then he’ll find ways to get them domestically. It’s part of BIN 707’s philosophy: local first, Colorado second, domestic third. That also applies to the beverage as well — almost all the beer, cider and wines are Colorado-based, with local names like Kannah Creek, Colterris and Palisade Brewery on hand.
Café Sol: Chef/Owner Nicholas Santos incorporates local ingredients into his menu by either updating seasonally (every two to three months) or creating daily specials with local products. Café Sol’s paninis use bread from San Jose Bakery in Grand Junction, while fruits and vegetables (greens, kale, peaches, corn, plums, berries, pumpkins, etc.) come from Okagawa Farms, Field to Fork, Talbott Farms (Palisade) and Blaine’s Tomatoes. Like other chefs, Santos also cans produce (particularly peaches, corn and green chilies) to be able to use it year-round.
il Bistro Italiano: Chef/Owner Brunella Gualerzi uses lamb in il Bistro Italiano’s lamb pie (a twist on the traditional Shepherd’s pie) and pork from Roan Creek Ranch for sausages. All the eggs come from Fruita, while mixed greens, tomatoes, basil, spinach, cherries, peaches and other produce are supplied by Field to Fork CSA, Sprigs and Sprouts (in Palisade), Z’s Orchard (Palisade) and Okagawa Farms. Red Bird Farms in Denver supplies chicken. Goat, feta and other cheeses are from Jumping Good Goat Dairy in Buena Vista. Diners can wash down their meal with a Kannah Creek (Grand Junction) beer and wines from Plum Creek Winery (Palisade), Colterris, and Whitewater Hill Vineyards (Grand Junction).
The Winery Restaurant: Since 1973 The Winery Restaurant has charmed its guests with their award winning food, atmosphere and wine list. The seasonal menus use local ingredients from growers such as Blaine's Heirloom Tomatoes and Rooted Gypsy Farms. Our Downtown Farmers Market also allows owner Steve Thoms to hand select peaches, cherries and other fresh seasonal produce for the restaurant. Colorado beef, dry aged beef, Colorado lamb, Colorado chicken and wild seafood share the menus with wines of Colorado and the world. Nightly chefs prepare specials for their guests to enjoy in the relaxed atmosphere inside or outside on the quiet comfortable patio. Located in Downtown Grand Junction down a vine canopied breezeway across from the Historic Avalon Theater. The Winery Restaurant is Grand Junction's Steakhouse.
At Spoons Bistro & Bakery, the philosophy is simple - "fresh, local, from the heart". Items on the menu boast local flavors and handmade quality. Spoons purchases locally grown fruits and vegetables from Okagawa Farms as well as other Grand Valley producers, while Grand Junction based Quality Meats provides the choicest cuts for the restaurant. For dessert, try the ice cream made at locally owned Enstrom Candies, known for its world famous toffee which is incorporated into the frozen treat. What makes Spoons Bistro & Bakery expecially unique is that part of the profits generated by the restaurant support HopeWest Hospice Care Center.
Le Rouge Restaurant and Piano Bar: In addition to “fantastique” French cuisine using the freshest local ingredients, Le Rouge Restaurant and Piano Bar is known as the venue for the best jazz music in western Colorado. Its wine list includes vintages from around the world, featuring those from its own winery, Maison la Belle Vie, in nearby Palisade.
Pablo's Pizza: Pablo’s Pizza got its name from Picasso, and the menu is every bit as creative as the artist. Their Panini sandwiches, homemade soups, salads and one-of-a-kind pizzas use only the freshest ingredients.