“Best of” lists are great; we work for months on our 25 Best Restaurants list, for example, to make sure that you, Colorado diners, know exactly where to go for a delicious meal that’s worthy of your hard-earned dollars. (Note: The 2018 Best Restaurants issue hits newsstands on September 28!) But there’s another list that you need to pay attention to: the Good Food 100 Restaurants list.

Founded by Boulder-based Sara Brito and Larimer Associates’ Jeff Hermanson of the Good Food Media Network, this survey and resulting ranked list celebrates restaurants and food service companies across the country that walk the sustainable walk. By completing the Good Food 100 survey, these companies prove that they spend their money on good food, which is defined as meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, and grains that are sustainably—and preferably locally—produced. Ranked on a scale of two to six “links” (representing the links in the food chain), brands that earn a six-link ranking are doing their part to fix our broken food system and deliver stellar dining experiences, too.

Look for this logo at participating restaurants if you want to spend your dining dollars where it really counts. Courtesy of the Good Food 100

Early this morning, the 2018 Good Food 100 Restaurants rankings were released, and, as Brito puts it, “Colorado definitely dominated the list this year. In fact, Colorado had the highest number of restaurant groups participate: 44 out of 125 groups nation-wide.” Not only did Centennial State restaurateurs and food service companies come out in force this year, but they represent more than one-third of the overall participants. “Newcomers like Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe participated this year,” Brito says, “which I love because this list isn’t just for restaurants, it’s for all U.S.-based food service businesses.”

The economic impact of these brands’ good food purchases is significant: Colorado participants spent $25.3 million on good food purchases, contributing $50 million to the local economy in our state. In other words, these companies are doubling the impact of their spending by making sustainable choices. As Brito likes to say, “If you have a choice to have your dollars double their impact, which food system would you want to nudge forward? The commodity factory-farm system or the good food system that is helping to provide a livelihood for local family farmers, ranchers, and fishermen?” Clearly, Colorado chefs and operators believe in the latter.

Here are the 2018 rankings (and kudos to each and every business that participated):

(Disclosure: 5280 contributing editor Amanda M. Faison is the Good Food Media Network’s editorial director.)

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.