Late September and early October in Colorado means donning sweaters for cool-morning trips to the farmers’ market, savoring fresh-picked tomatoes before the first frost, and taking in the scent of Pueblo chiles roasting in the air. But perhaps best of all, it means celebrating the season’s harvest by dining at local restaurants, whose menus are full of mouthwatering dishes made with Centennial State fruits, veggies, and proteins. Here, 13 of our favorite spots to sample the summer’s bounty in and around Denver.

Apple Blossom

A spring rendition of Apple Blossom’s seasonal burrata. Photo by Patricia Kaowthumrong

The flavors of the seasons are always on display at Apple Blossom, thanks to co-owner and executive chef Paul Reilly’s commitment to supporting local producers. Situated inside the Hyatt Centric Downtown Denver, the eatery is open all day, meaning you can taste his and chef de cuisine Russ Fox’s delicious Colorado-centric creations for any meal.
Eat This: The four-citrus-vinaigrette-laced roasted beets with apples, pistachios, arugula, and goat cheese and the mint-scented seasonal burrata with sweet corn, maitake mushroom, and maple-buttermilk cornbread. 822 18th St. 

Bramble & Hare

The tempura mushrooms at Bramble and Hare. Photo by Patricia Kaowthumrong

The majority of ingredients used in the appetizers, salads, entrées and other offerings at chef Eric Skokan’s two Boulder eateries are sourced from his 425-acre farm in Longmont. While Black Cat Bistro is temporarily closed, patrons can still taste the farm’s heritage pork and lamb and produce at Bramble & Hare off the Pearl Street Mall. Also visit the farm store (4975 Jay Road in Boulder) to gather tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, squash, basil, and other fresh-picked goodies.
Eat this: The meaty tempura-fried mushrooms, set on a bed of paprika-zinged aïoli and crowned with tangy salsa verde and the skin-on, pan-seared salmon with summer squash, asparagus, and beurre blanc. 1970 13th St., Boulder

Root Down

Poblano gnocchi at Root Down. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison
Poblano gnocchi at Root Down. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Root Down, the quirky, nostalgia-driven eatery housed in an old gas station, is a LoHi neighborhood favorite for rotating pleasures featuring field-grown fare. The perfect-for-sharing  summer menu is still available for a few more weeks—so cozy up on the patio to take in both the cool evening air and the best bites of the shoulder months.
Eat this: A trio of veggie burger sliders with spicy jalapeño jam and Brussels sprout slaw, and the roasted poblano gnocchi tossed with stracchino cheese, guajillo-chiles crème fraîche, tangy tomatillo salsa, and candied hazelnuts. 1600 W. 33rd Ave.

Coperta

A photo of seasonal pasta dishes at Coperta. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison
Seasonal pasta dishes at Coperta. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Coperta is the Italian word for “blanket”—and everything on the menu at this small-but-mighty restaurant feels like a cozy embrace for your taste buds, especially with cool weather knocking on our door. While the dishes hail from southern Italy, they’re made in-house with the freshest veggies and proteins—many of which are sourced from Colorado farms and ranches.
Eat this: The late-summer salad with roasted cauliflower, pecorino sardo, and fennel-seed vinaigrette, or the Sicilian eggplant parmesan with mozzarella, capers, and spaghetti marinara. 400 E. 20th Ave.

Urban Farmer 

Urban Farmer
Steaks are dry-aged in house at Urban Farmer. Photo by Sarah Boyum

To ensure Urban Farmer’s roster of polished steakhouse fare reflects a connection between land and plate, executive chef Ryan Rau maintains relationships with farms and ranches such as Longmont’s Field to Front Door, Commerce City’s Rock River Ranch and Harvey Park’s Rebel Farms. The modern interior, with ample leather booths and a central, horseshoe-shaped bar, is a sleek setting to indulge in both bone-in and earth-grown vittles.
Eat This: The Rock River bone-in, dry-aged ribeye with a vessel of local mushrooms in sherry-tinged beef jus with caramelized onions and roasted garlic and the shaved greens salad with crispy quinoa and honey vinaigrette. 1659 Wazee St.

Potager Restaurant and Wine Bar

gargouillou Potager
The gargouillou, an ode to the seasons, at Potager. Photo by Patricia Kaowthumrong

Potager has been a beloved institution in Capitol Hill since 1997. In the bustling dining room and on the planter-bedecked patio, patrons still gather over spreads of crispy-skinned roast chicken and house-made pastas and glasses of expertly chosen wines. The bistro proudly buys its ingredients from a rotating list of more than 30 suppliers, most of which are in the Centennial State.
Eat This: The eye-catching gargouillou (pronounced “gar-guy-yu”), a rendition of the French speciality featuring a combination of vegetables and flowers. Potager’s plant-based spread has more than a dozen seasonal beauties, all prepared differently. 1109 N. Ogden St.

The Plimoth

The Plimoth is known for its laid-back, community-centric vibes, constantly evolving menu of contemporary American cuisine, and robust wine and cocktail list. The brick-lined, light-strung patio is the perfect spot to savor the final days of summer under the stars.
Eat This: the cornbread, sweet-savory comfort cooked in a cast-iron skillet and served with preserves and honey butter, and the red-eye pork chop with peas, shisito and muraski peppers, onions, and house steak sauce. 2335 E. 28th Ave.

Fruition

James Beard Award-winning chef Alex Seidel’s 25-year-old farm-to-table pioneer in the Country Club neighborhood continues to impress with beautifully presented plates and a polished, yet approachable ambiance anchored by friendly service. Whether you opt for the five-course menu or build your own à la carte feast, be sure to save room for dessert; the sea-salt sprinkled chocolate chip cookies satisfy any time of year.
Eat This: The prosciutto-wrapped Palisade peaches on a bed of ricotta cheese; Colorado cantaloupe and watermelon salad layered with sweet heirloom tomato gazpacho, pistachio, and feta; and the Berkshire pork chop with creamed corned and brown butter. 1313 E. 6th Ave.

Point Easy

A happy hour spread at Point Easy. Photo by Katie Knoch

Point Easy opened its doors in July, bringing a much-needed destination for comforting hand-made pastas and shareable plates composed of well-sourced proteins, grains, and produce to the Whittier neighborhood. The restaurant also recently debuted happy hour (5–6 p.m. daily), when you can get select bites (try the honeycomb bread) for $11 and under.
Eat This: The panzanella salad with tomato, cucumber, burrata, dandelion, croutons, and basil, and pan-roasted pork chop with herb stuffing, duck-fat-cooked apples, and grilled spigarello (an heirloom green in the broccoli family). 2000 E. 28th Ave.

Mercantile Dining and Provision 

Mushroom toast at Mercantile. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison
Mushroom toast at Mercantile. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

It’s worth bumping shoulders with tourists at Union Station to sample the season’s harvest at Mercantile, the natural-light-filled, all-day eatery from Alex Seidel. Grab a seat in the  airy, chic  bar and dining room decorated with natural wood and granite, a welcoming place to watch chefs prepare your meal in the open kitchen.
Eat this: The mushroom toast, a thick slice of Rebel Bread sourdough smeared with house-made ricotta, tangy marinated chanterelle mushrooms, thinly sliced strawberries, and a medley of tender greens. 1701 Wynkoop St., St. 155

The Fifth String

At the Fifth String, chef Amos Watts keeps the menu fresh with an in-house wagyu beef butcher program and a mean lineup of veggies sourced from local farms as well as his own expansive home garden. Prepared in experimental ways—such as the infamous melting tallow-candle bread service—each dish is an inventive delight.
Eat this: Start with the fried green tomatoes served with roasted-red-pepper romesco sauce for dipping before moving on to the garlic-scape-pesto-drizzled ravioli, which are stuffed with peppers, romanesco, zucchinis, and tomatoes. 3316 Tejon St., Ste. 102

Blackbelly

It’s impossible to talk about the Front Range’s farm-to-table scene without mentioning Blackbelly, the butcher shop and restaurant from chef-owner Hosea Rosenberg and head butcher Kelly Kawachi. Aside from carnivorous fare, look for seasonal sides like grilled broccoli with anchovy vinaigrette and sautéed mushrooms with kale and black garlic.
Eat this: Local lamb from Buckner Family Ranch served with grilled nectarines, charred leeks, cherry tomatoes, and smoked yogurt. Add a farm-raised chicken or duck egg for just $2–$3 more. 1606 Conestoga St., Boulder

Frasca Food and Wine 

A photo of a seasonal pork dish at Frasca. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison
A seasonal pork dish at Frasca. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Spoil yourself with a trip through northern Italy’s Friuli region via the culinary expertise of Frasca’s executive chef Rob Hurd, who orchestrates dazzling prix fixe meals with seasonal ingredients. For the most immersive experience, add a wine pairing from the fine-dining restaurant’s award-winning beverage program.
Eat this: The Quattro Piatti tasting menu ($125 per person) comes with an appetizer, antipasti, primi, and secondi dish of your choice—all equally tantalizing. But don’t miss the Maiale Iberico pork medallion, dressed with coffee and huckleberry jus and served with delicate chanterelle mushrooms and nasturtium petals. 1738 Pearl St., Boulder

Sullivan Scrap Kitchen

Dandelion-leaf-wrapped Colorado trout at Sullivan Scrap Kitchen. Photo by Patricia Kaowthumrong

Chef-owner Terence Rogers makes the most of every root, green, and animal part at his zero-waste eatery, Sullivan Scrap Kitchen, which was born out of a need to use leftover ingredients from his catering business. Here, lesser-used items like egg whites and potato skins become the stars of the show for brunch and dinner.
Eat this: Chile rellenos made from Pueblo and Anaheim chiles, stuffed with local pasture-raised lamb chorizo, lime-scented cotija cheese, crema, and red chili sauce.
1740 E. 17th. Ave.

Patricia Kaowthumrong
Patricia Kaowthumrong

Patricia joined the 5280 staff in July 2019 and is thrilled to be overseeing all of 5280 Magazine’s dining coverage. Follow her food reporting adventures on Instagram @whatispattyeating.

Riane Menardi Morrison
Riane Menardi Morrison

Riane is 5280's digital strategy editor and writes food and culture content. Follow her at @riane__eats.