For GUESTS

((EAT))

There’s a pretty good food scene in Estes Park, and it’s gotten better and better each year over the last decade. We’re now sporting one of the best restaurants in the Front Range with one of the top sommeliers in the state, plus great local coffee, authentic street tacos, and an amazing pizza joint. Here are our favorites.

COFFEE/BREAKFAST

Coffee on the Rocks – Wonderful coffee shop on the banks of the Big Thompson and on the edge of a duck pond. A really relaxing way to spend a morning fuelling up before hitting the trails. Good breakfast sandwiches and fair prices, and often less busy than Kind Coffee. 510 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 586-5181.

Inkwell & Brew – Wonderful coffee shop in downtown Estes Park that also sells papers, inks and small books. Lovely location off the main drag on the riverwalk, on the bank of the river. Quieter and less busy than Coffee on the Rocks and Kind Coffee. Check their web site above to for an occasional event schedule that includes intermittent things like open mic spoken word nights. 150 East Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 577-1297.

Kind Coffee – Kind is our iconic Estes Park coffee house — locally roasted, with a good selection of breakfast foods like burritos and pastries. Awesome during the summer because you can sit along the bank of the river, though it can get super busy. Consider bringing some mountain roasted coffee beans home with you. 470 East Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 586-5206.

The Egg of Estes – THE place for a hearty and healthy breakfast in Estes Park. The Egg used to be part of a franchise, but the owners broke off and went indie. Now it’s locally owned and operated, with fantastic omelettes, egg dishes and strawberry waffles, plus a healthy selection of fresh pressed juices. Expect to wait a little in the summer, so get there early, put your name on the list, and poke around downtown for 15-20 minutes. 393 East Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 586-1173.

Estes Park Pie Shop – We go here to buy pies, plain and simple, and we like pies for breakfast. Rhubarb, cherry, peach and apple pies are all excellent. Their pie selection depends on who bought what earlier in the day, so be sure to stop in first thing. 509 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 577-7437.

 MOUNTAIN FARE

Bird and Jim – This place transformed the food scene in town. Offers farm-to-table mountain fare, focusing on local ingredients. One owner is one of the best sommeliers in the country. Great cocktails, with a great inexpensive loss leader burger and a nice selection of happy hour munchies. I love going here even on sunny summer afternoons and sitting on the patio and watching the clouds roll over the Rockies. Make a reservation in the summer! 915 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 586-9832.

The Rock Inn – The Rock is an Estes icon, built in the 1930s as a big band dance hall — and it still honors its history as a lively local hotspot. Great food, a ton of good beer on tap, yummy cocktails, and a very busy music schedule. There’s often a party at the Rock. Click through to the web site to peep the schedule of bluegrass and live acoustic. 1675 CO-66, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 586-4116.

Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew – SSmokin’ Dave’s is a Colorado staple! Some of the best BBQ in the region. Highly lauded, world (?!) famous lunch and dinner fare. You can take it back to your place to eat, too. I always suggest going here to my guests! Waits can be long. 820 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 577-7427.

ITALIAN

Antonio’s Real New York Pizza – By far, the best pizza in Estes Park, or order to go. The exterior may seem offputting (it’s an old Mexican restaurant) but the pizzas may be the best you’ve had. I’ve heard the same from lots of guests. Closes early so check their hours. 1560 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 586-7275.

Dunraven Inn – Super cozy Italian restaurant with a wall covered in dollar bills. It’s a great place to spend time at during long, cold winter nights. Wonderful warm ambiance and good food. 2470 CO-66, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 586-6409.

MEXICAN

Ed’s Cantina – Ed’s Cantina is a local staple, with a fun collection of margaritas and tasty Mexican food all concocted by the owner herself. I like the spicy, skinny and avocado margs. Try the fish tacos and the carne asada plate. Also good chicken burritos with tomatillo salsa. 390 Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 586-2919.

La Cocina de Mama – Simply put, La Cocina de Mama has the best tacos in town. Get a plate of street tacos — I like to get two chicken and two asada tacos, but the choice is yours. In the summer you can sit outside and enjoy the view of Lumpy Ridge. Also often has local craft beer on tap. 361 South St. Vrain Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 586-9001.

ETHNIC FOOD

Himalayan Curry & Kebab – One of the best Indian places in Estes Park, with a great location in the heart of downtown. Absolutely recommended for lunches and dinners. Takeaway possible. 101 West Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 586-6226.

Nepal’s Cafe – Nepal’s Cafe has a great lunch buffet and it’s where a lot of locals go for lunch. Highly recommended if you’re in the downtown area around noon, with the added bonus of outdoor seating in the summer. Chili chicken, saag, garlic naan and more. Can’t go wrong at Nepal’s. 184 East Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 577-07035.

SANDWICH SHOPS

Scratch Deli & Bakery – Scratch Deli is one of two sandwich shops I recommend for people taking lunch with them into the park (the other is across the street inside the Country Market). Craft sandwiching at its finest with in house cheese, meats and bread. Go here for hot sandwiches and to Country Market for cold ones. 911 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 586-8383.

The Country Market – Kitty-corner from Scratch is our other favorite sandwich shop, hidden inside the local indie supermarket, Country Market. The roast beef on rye sandwich plus a bag of chips and a pickle is the perfect thing to stash in your bag on the way into the National Park. Go here for hot sandwiches and Scratch for fold ones. 900 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. (970) 586-2702.

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