Taste of Colorado has grown into a major eating orgy

Categories: Things To Do

Brandon Marshall
Grab your turkey legs: The Taste of Colorado will return to Civic Center Park on Labor Day weekend. This is the thirtieth incarnation of the festival, but the tradition stretches back much, much further. After the Silver Crash of the 1890s, the city introduced the Festival of Mountain and Plain as a major morale-booster. And after the oil bust, the Downtown Denver Partnership resurrected the Festival of Mountain and Plain in 1984, adding a Taste of Colorado component. That inaugural festival lasted three days and featured just thirty or so restaurants, according to marketing director Patty Johnson; this year, there will be more than fifty eateries and food establishments, as well as chef demonstrations.

See also: Taste of Colorado 2012 slide show! Corn! Turkey legs!

And that's just the start of the free entertainment at this event, which features six stages (including the Colorado Heritage Stage, presented by Westword). But for many festival fans, the food is the real draw.

In 1988, a fine-dining area was added to the fair; in 1993, a restaurant row was created along Bannock Street. Mustard's Last Stand has been there since the beginning; Rosa Linda's Mexican Cafe, Falafel King and Rocky Mountain Corn signed up a few years in and have returned every year.

"The families have grown up there," says Oscar Aguirre, the oldest child of Virgil and Rosa Linda Aguirre, who in 1985 opened their storefront restaurant at 2005 West 33rd Avenue, long before northwest Denver was a hot, hot dining neighborhood.

Rosa Linda's almost skipped the 2013 Taste of Colorado - but for a very good reason. "My dad is going to be spending his seventieth birthday at the Taste of Colorado," says Oscar, who wanted to pass on the festival this year so that his father could have a proper celebration. "He's the one who overruled me."

So when you stop by the Rosa Linda's booth to grab your shredded-beef burrito, or cactus burrito, or cheese enchilada, make sure you wish Virgil Aguirre a very, very happy birthday. And many happy returns to the Taste of Colorado.

Here's the lineup of the other restaurants you'll find at Taste of Colorado this weekend:

Amore Gelato, Barbed Wire Reef, Bayou Bob's, Capone's, Cherry Creek Concessions, CiCi's Pizza, Cody Coyote Kettle Corn, Cold Front Ice Cream, Colorado Buffalo Grill, Colorado Corn Company, Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, Falafel King, Famous Dave's, GiGi's Cupcakes, Graham's Texapino Favorites, Grammy's Goodies, Grillin' Wings & Things, Hard Rock Cafe, Himalayas II, Hot Wok Cafe, Island Noodles, Island Oasis Smoothies, Jamba Juice, Little Brothers Mini Doughnuts, Monster Grill, Moontower Tacos, Mustard's Last Stand, Nut Sensations, Original Berrie Kabobs, Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, Pete's Greek Town Cafe, Philadelphia Filly, Pop's Rocky Mountain Kettle Corn, Que Bueno! Mexican Grille, Randolph's Restaurant, Repicci's Italian Ice, Rocks Modern Grill, Rocky Mountain Nut Roasters, Rodizio Grill, Roro's Concessions, Saltgrass Steak House, Snow Business, Snowie Colorado, Southern Hospitality, Southwest Kettle Corn, Spice Island Grill, Sweet Lorraine's Catering, The Broker Restaurant, The Goods, The Orange Crunch, Tocabe and Tre Sorella's.

Location Info

Amore Gelato

535 16th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Bayou Bob's Restaurant & Bar

1635 Glenarm Place, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Falafel King

303 16th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

La Nortena

3920 Federal Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Grillin' Wings & Things

723 S. University Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Hard Rock Cafe

500 16th St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Moontower Tacos

609 Grant St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Mustard's Last Stand

1719 Broadway St., Boulder, CO

Category: Restaurant

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery

1995 S. Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Pete's Greek Town Cafe

2910 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Que Bueno

10633 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, CO

Category: Restaurant

Randolph's Restaurant and Bar

1776 Grant St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Rodizio Grill

1801 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Southern Hospitality

1433 17th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

The Broker Restaurant

821 17th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Orange Crunch

metro area, Denver / Boulder, CO

Category: Restaurant

Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery

3536 W. 44th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Rocks Modern Grill at Beaver Creek Lodge

26 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek, CO

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help
Kym Bloom
Kym Bloom

The turkey legs are one of the main reasons I avoid the festival. Seeing people walking around with huge turkey legs hanging out of their mouths makes me feel like I stepped into a Flintstones episode.

Steven Tillinghast
Steven Tillinghast

Wow terribly... Midwestern. Come on now , Denver. Small plate nouveau fusion cuisine! You're never going to be mistaken for your idol California with a fucking turkey leg.

Rose Rodriguez
Rose Rodriguez

Might have to go just to eat Tocabe, An American Indian Eatery

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