Let’s face it, many people who grew up on Colorado’s Front Range tend to think of Grand Junction as that far away cowtown town that’s practically in Utah. Of course, that reputation has slowly been changing thanks in part to the growing popularity of and interest in local food.
Colorado’s western slope is a place where local food has been a way of life long before it became trendy. It doesn’t hurt that food grows relatively easily here when compared to other parts of Colorado, so sourcing locally is a little less complicated for chefs.
On our trip earlier this summer, we had the delicious pleasure of dining at two of Grand Junction’s most foodie restaurants. These two eateries, 626 on Rood and Bin 707 Foodbar, have set the bar high for farm-to-table cuisine (and for cuisine in general).
Our first dinner stop was Bin 707 Foodbar. On a 2013 trip to Grand Junction Bin 707 Foodbar was my first encounter with a restaurant that worked so hard to serve local foods and that experience blew my mind. My second local food experience was at The Living Farm in Paonia, another amazing spot for anyone seeking a local food experience.
Bin 707 Foodbar may have foodie cuisine, but it is far from pretentious. Here, it’s truly about the food and asking your waiter to suggest a wine pairing is super smart as they serve a nice selection of local wines. Of course, Ryan ordered a beer (the beer list is high end and it took him an age to decide on one).
I paired a Colterris rosé with several appetizers including an outstanding tomato salad with Blaine’s heirloom tomatoes, cucumber vin, eggplant miso flan and strawberry/barley furikake. For my entree, I chose the Maple Leaf duck breast and Ryan went with the fish.
While the duck and fish aren’t sourced locally, all the accouterments are and it’s these hyperlocal ingredients that made both dishes what I like to call “write-home-about-good.” (I call a dish “write-home-about-good” when I know I will write about it more than once).
The next evening we got to experience 626 on Rood, a modern American restaurant and wine bar that just so happens to be the favorite of our friends, Matt and Lisa, who live in Palisade. They are regulars at this downtown Grand Junction restaurant.
626 on Rood definitely has a fine dining ambiance and serves up local cuisine alongside some of the best offerings from around the world such as the dish I had for dinner — Marlin flown in from Hawaii paired with tender mushrooms from Alpenglow Mushrooms in Ridgway, Colorado — an unforgettable meal.
Wine is a big deal here. Guests can enjoy regional Colorado wines, French varieties or California gems. The selection is always changing so start by consulting your server. The wait staff at 626 on Rood are incredibly knowledgeable and love helping guests pick the perfect glass, bottle or flight. I started with a Bordeaux flight while Ryan excitedly ordered a Mezcal flight (he’s more of a beer and tequila guy).
While they won’t always have marlin, the Sticky Peach Habanero Calamari is a staple on this menu and not-to-be-missed. I’m craving it right now.
A foodie update from Grand Junction: The owners of Bin 707 Foodbar recently opened Taco Party, a 50-seat restaurant serving a menu of six kinds of tacos with local fillings. Dessert options include soft-serve ice cream in uniquely Bin 707 Foodbar flavors of roasted beet and sweet corn. Next up, they plan to open Dinner Party, a private dining space that will be used for the Western Slope Supper Club which serves pop-up dinners highlighting local foods.
Thank you to the Grand Junction VCB for hosting us on this trip. While we did receive comped meals during our travels the opinions here are 100% honest. The food at these GJ restaurants is exceptional.