I’ve never had much reason to make the drive to Louisville, often passing the exit sign without a second thought as I headed for the brighter lights of Boulder. Then I had dinner at LuLu’s BBQ.

Situated on the town’s quaint but cozy main drag—Louisville has twice been named the best small town to live in by Money magazine—the eight-month-old restaurant has a laid-back diner-meets-barbecue vibe. It’s a mash-up of retro silver high-tops, a wall-mounted deer skull, open-air garage door windows, and cornhole in the back.

The Texas-style slow-smoked meats are dry-rubbed but otherwise left unadorned. The Kobe beef ribs (a weekly special) are rubbed with a mix of spices and coffee grinds from Flatirons Coffee Roasters down the street, infusing the fall-off-the-bone meat with a balanced, earthy flavor. Similarly, the beer can chicken (pictured) is tender and juicy, benefitting from a layer of house-made barbecue sauce made with brown sugar, molasses, and honey—a recipe from co-owner Kevin Herrington’s father.

The sides are similarly treated—left unembellished so the true flavors shine. The sweet potato tater tots are crispy and fresh; the coleslaw is crunchy (though it could use a couple less shakes of vinegar); the cornbread is crumbly with just a hint of sweetness. In short, this is barbecue at its finest.

701-B Main St., Louisville, 720-583-1789

Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at daliahsinger.com.