Longmont isn’t just Boulder’s northeastern neighbor, it’s also a city bursting with history, art, culture, and flavor. Founded by a small group of brave Chicagoans in 1871, today Longmont is home to a wealth of restaurants and artisans crafting everything from tacos to creative spirits. Here are some of the best spots for eating and drinking in Longmont right now.
Rosalee’s makes old-world, East Coast-style pizza, must-order garlic knots, homemade sausage, and other classic Italian-American fare. The restaurant definitely has a neighborhood feel, complete with two pinball machines, arcade games, live music, and lots of local regulars. The inside seating is cozy, but the back patio is where the magic happens—complete with blankets and outdoor heaters for chilly winter evenings.
Jefes Tacos & Tequila
This friendly restaurant, created by the owners of Longmont staple the Roost and newcomer Smokin’ Bowls (and, soon, a new tiki bar), has an eclectic vibe and a vibrant lime green and magenta color scheme. Tacos are the main event, ranging from classics like al pastor and carne asada to more creative iterations like chipotle crab cake; its vegetarian tacos are also worth trying, even if you’re a meat-eater. You’ll find plenty of queso and green chile on the menu, as well as an impressive selection of tequilas. And you really can’t go wrong with a house margarita with a special Jefes rim made from dark chile powder, sugar, and salt.
Dry Land Distillers
Dry Land recently renovated and moved into a historic brick building on Main Street, complete with mid-century modern decor, a relaxing patio space in the breezeway between buildings, and a glass garage door to open up the distillery and tasting room on warm days. This light-filled space is where you’ll get to taste Dry Land’s unique spirits, including a gin made with only native Colorado botanicals and a cactus spirit made with smoked prickly pear. The mixology team has created an impressive (and colorful!) cocktail menu, too, with rotating, seasonal drinks like the Pom Pom Sour, made with their Antero wheat whiskey, pomegranate, lemon, ginger simple syrup, and egg white.
This small restaurant is located in Longmont’s historic Westside neighborhood, a residential area just west of downtown. Because of that, it feels like you’re sitting on a good friend’s patio, catching up over a glass of wine. There are also tasty cocktails (like the More Cowbell, made with gin, cucumber, muddled blueberries, elderflower tonic, and lavender bitters), yummy snacks (like sweet potato fries with smoked blue cheese and aïoli) and classic entrées with a twist (think: blackened pork chops with red beans, rice, andouille sausage, and holy trinity relish). The food and drinks are expertly prepared, and the cozy, home-like ambiance makes it really special.
No visit to Longmont is complete without a stop at Cheese Importers, a European-style marketplace and restaurant that specializes in cheese. Though the beloved Longmont spot continues to keep its French-inspired bistro closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, you can still stroll through the rest of the building, where you’ll find more than 350 cheeses, specialty foods from around the world, and home decor items. The store’s owners say they have the largest walk-in cheese and cured meat refrigerator in Colorado—and we agree that it’s truly one of a kind.
Tortugas has been a delicious Longmont staple since 1994, when friends Tripp Lindley and Pete McLaughlin and their wives opened the Caribbean/Cajun seafood eatery inside a cozy, repurposed home just west of downtown. Especially during the summer months, it’s one of the hottest tables in town, especially for a spot on the tree-shaded patio.
Lindley and McLaughlin are still working in the kitchen to ensure that every single plate is perfect before it heads to a table. “We were told that we wouldn’t make it selling seafood in Longmont in 1994—they said we needed steaks on the menu,” Lindley says. “Twenty-seven years later, we proved them wrong, thanks to our loyal following of regulars who have kept us going. We love being one of many Longmont independent restaurants that help give our steadily growing city some unique character.”
Marcos Hot Dogs & Tacos
Hot dogs … and tacos? At first, this combination may seem a bit odd, but it works flawlessly at Marcos, a popular family-owned hub that’s been open since 1997. This permanent food stand in north Longmont has two separate cash registers: one for bacon-wrapped hot dogs (served with pinto beans, onion, tomato, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and cheese, plus additional toppings) and another for tacos. Can’t decide? The burro dog comes wrapped in a tortilla, so it’s basically a hot dog burrito. Or, go ahead and order something from both sides—you really won’t regret it.
Aunt Alice’s Kitchen
Aunt Alice’s Kitchen is an iconic Longmont diner that’s been serving up classic breakfast staples and hearty comfort food since 1981 (think: chicken fried steak, prime rib, and open-faced meatloaf sandwiches with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy). The servers here call patrons “hon” and wear shirts that say: “You don’t have to be crazy to work here—we’ll train you.” Though Longmont has grown by leaps and bounds, Aunt Alice’s has managed to hold onto its nostalgic brand of downhome cooking and friendly service—that’s likely why it has remained incredibly popular over the years.
Left Hand Brewing Beer Garden
All of Longmont’s breweries are perfect for wiling away an afternoon, but Left Hand is one of the city’s (and Colorado’s) oldest craft beer founding fathers. The 28-year-old brewery recently opened a massive beer garden next to its central Longmont production facility and tasting room, complete with lawn games, picnic tables, a stage for live music, food trucks, and synthetic turf for lounging. It’s only open during the warmer months, however, so bookmark for a visit later this year.
As the name suggests, this bar and restaurant is the place to go in Longmont if you’re craving a martini. This upscale eatery, tucked inside an 1890s home on a residential street just west of downtown Longmont, also offers other classic cocktails, beer, and wine, plus soul-nourishing American fare—the team here expertly prepares entrees like center-cut ribeye, crab cake and scallops, and a roasted half chicken. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, come for happy hour and snack on mussels, salmon fritters, burrata, and pork belly popcorn while you catch up with friends on the shaded patio.
Flavor of India
Flavor of India has been serving up authentic Indian cuisine in Longmont since 2006. The restaurant recently moved to a new location on Main Street that includes a large rooftop patio and a smaller streetside patio, both perfect for enjoying al fresco samosas, lamb keema, and saag paneer. There’s a full bar, plus a selection of Indian beers and traditional drinks like mango lassi and chai.
Edward Perea and Alejandro Rodriguez launched Summit Tacos as a food truck in 2016. (Perea converted a vintage camper himself and named it Adelita after the brave women who fought alongside men during the Mexican Revolution.) The duo’s Mexican comfort food—dishes like cochinita street tacos and costra, or griddled cheese filled with chorizo—proved to be so popular that they added a second food truck to their fleet. In 2019, they opened a brick-and-mortar eatery inside a small house in downtown Longmont—and Adelita sits parked outside, serving as a bar for receptions or parties.
Today, Perea is Summit Tacos’ sole owner (though Rodriguez is still involved) and he prides himself on fostering an inclusive space where people from all walks of life can gather. The restaurant hosts queer game nights, pub crawls, artisan markets, and other community events.