Despite all of the coronavirus-induced setbacks the hospitality industry has endured in 2020, many of the Centennial State’s culinary businesses remain committed to doing what’s best for the planet. Case in point: the inclusion of 38 Colorado restaurants and food service companies on the 2020 Good Food 100 Restaurants list, which celebrates those dedicated to positively impacting every link in the food chain.

The Boulder-based Good Food Media Network releases a new list annually, and the fourth installment features 131 participants from 29 states. In comparison, 137 restaurants from 29 states participated in 2019, with 40 Colorado businesses making up 29 percent of the list. “Once again, 29 percent of the restaurants and food service businesses are based in Colorado. I think that reinforces the local restaurant community’s commitment to challenging the status quo in the food system and working to change it for good,” says Sara Brito, co-founder/president of the Good Food Media Network. “In this current environment, I think these restaurants deserve to be commended for their commitment and dedication to supporting good food more than ever.”

To participate in the program, businesses share information via the Good Food 100 survey about their sourcing patterns (Where are meats, seafood, grains, produce, and craft beverages purchased?) and environmentally-friendly and fair labor practices (Are there recycling and/or composting programs in place? Do employees have access to health insurance?). In years past, participants were ranked on the list on a scale of two to six “links,” representative of the six links in the food chain: environment, plants and animals, producers, purveyors, restaurants, and eaters. But this year, the businesses are listed without their specific link rankings to simplify things for consumers.

“In this post-COVID-19 world, in this economic reality, it’s more important than ever for readers to vote with their forks and their dollars. And we hope that our simplified list helps them navigate the choices that they have to make an impact with their dollars,” Brito says.

To put that impact into perspective, the organization reported that Colorado businesses on this year’s Good Food 100 Restaurant list spent $11.5 million on good food purchases like sustainably and/or locally sourced ingredients, and contributed $22.8 million to the state economy as a result. That means that these companies are doubling the effects of their spending by making sustainable choices—and consumers can do the same by supporting businesses on the list.

“That’s not just an economic impact. That’s an impact on real people who live in our communities and real businesses who thrive or die in our communities,” Brito says. 

Here are all of the Colorado businesses on the 2020 list:

In lieu of hosting celebratory events at Good Food 100 Restaurants across the country, the Good Food Media Network launched a free virtual “Eat. Drink. Think.” Zoom discussion series, which explores the power of eaters, farmers, and purveyors. Grab takeout from a restaurant on 2020’s list and tune in for the following programs:

  • October 14, 12 p.m.: “Navigating the New Normal: Good Food Movement Challenges and Opportunities Post COVID-19 and Ways to Address Mental Health Issues in the Restaurant Industry” RSVP
  • November 18, 12 p.m., “Inclusion in the Good Food Movement: Why the Good Food Movement Cannot Exist Without Diversity” RSVP
  • December 9, 12 p.m., “Looking Ahead: 2021 Good Food Trends and Where Does the Movement Go From Here” RSVP

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.