City Cast

Restaurants Worth a Road Trip in Colorado (and Beyond!)

Peyton Garcia
Peyton Garcia
Posted on September 28   |   Updated on September 27
Rino’s Italian Restaurant brings fresh life to a former church in Trinidad

Rino’s Italian Restaurant brings fresh life to a former church in Trinidad. (Patricia Henschen / Flickr)

We’re wrapping up our week of fall getaway recommendations with a list for all you foodies. From Fort Collins to Alamosa, these dining destinations offer incredible ambiance, fascinating backstories, and of course, a dining experience worth driving for. Here are our tasty, travel-worthy recs:

Rino’s Italian Restaurant

This classic Italian spot in Trinidad serves up penne smothered in spicy marinara, linguine with clams, and classic menu staples like steak and lobster. But the true star of this decades-old red sauce joint housed in an 1880s church? Musician, crooner, and owner Frank Cordova and his band of singing waiters.

Fargo’s Pizza

According to local lore, a gambling man named Fargo wandered Colorado’s mountain towns looking for a wife and a good time. When he met the love of his life, Sophia, he settled down and started Fargo’s Pizza in Colorado Springs. The result is an Old West-meets-Guilded-Age themed, two-story parlor that offers piping hot pizza, massive house-made carrot cakes, and a generous salad bar. Dine amongst chandeliers, taxidermied animals, and a balcony table featuring Fargo and Sofia immortalized in wax!

Cafe Vino

Located just an hour’s drive from Denver, this elevated European tapas and wine bar is the ultimate reason to plan a day trip to Fort Collins. The menu rotates regularly to spotlight local ingredients in season, but menu standbys you can’t miss include the Bacon Wrapped Dates sprinkled with bleu cheese crumbles and a drizzle of balsamic reduction and a perfectly executed Maple Creme Brulee.

Antonio’s Real NY Pizza

This Estes Park pizzeria — a 6,000-square-foot hidden gem located about a mile and a half from the main strip — has the locals’ stamp of approval. The Long Island-born team at Antonio’s specializes in thick-crust, crispy, cheesy Sicilian-style ‘za that is well worth the drive from the city. But if you’re looking to really test your pizza grit, consider ordering the 26-inch Mega Don or the 12-pound Hell’s Kitchen.

The Friar’s Fork & Sanctuary

When husband and wife Nealson Vialpando and Denise Vigil decided to revive the crumbling, decommissioned, 1926 adobe church at the heart of sleepy Alamosa, a Colorado culinary masterpiece was born. Don’t believe us? This whimsical restaurant offering simple and cozy Italian eats was even named as a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant 2023.

Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm

Way out in the teeny tiny town of Boulder, Utah, the dusty red desert is hiding a diamond in the rough. Dishing up steaming plates of Colorado bison tenderloin and buttery lemony steelhead trout, each dish stars locally sourced and environmentally responsible ingredients from its own 6-acre farm. But this James Beard-worthy, farm-to-table menu is one reason to love this restaurant — the remarkable backstory of the owners’ activism to protect the natural lands around them is equally enthralling.

Psst! Want more? You can get the full deets on each of these picks in this episode of City Cast Denver 🎧

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