“Boulder County has incredible restaurants and chefs doing innovative things,” says Jessica Benjamin, the new producer of First Bite, adding that she made it clear to all participating chefs to be as creative and authentic as they can be. “You could see their eyes light up and the wheels turning on how they could make [this] restaurant week something new and unique."
Avery Brewing, Element Bistro, Oak at Fourteenth, Osaka's Restaurant and Jax Fish House are just a handful of eateries on the eclectic list. The price point is new this year: three (or more) courses for either $29 or $49 per person. “I wanted to bring in a broader spectrum of restaurants as well as give diners a choice of value,” Benjamin explains.
New this year are Teocalli Cocina in Lafayette, Pepper the Noshery on the Pearl Street Mall, and Louisville's Empire Restaurant & Lounge, which is under new ownership. Also new this year is "Two on Tuesday," which allows participants to donate $2 or more to a featured nonprofit organization on Tuesday, November 12.
Multiple restaurants will offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Sugarbeet, at 101 Pratt Street in Longmont, will serve a vegan menu with roasted cauliflower with tahini purée and calabrese (the vegetable, not the sausage), butternut squash soup with chili oil and pepitas, king trumpet mushrooms alongside bamboo rice-stuffed peppers, and coconut lime panna cotta. Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant has multiple options on its three-course menu, including oyster mushroom ceviche, huitlacoche-portabello enchiladas, and three different desserts. Shine Restaurant & Potion Bar and Zucca Italian Restaurant will have vegetarian options, while the North End at 4580 and River and Woods will have a gluten-free menu.
For those not interested in three courses, Bin 46 (600 Longs Peak Ave, Longmont) will host an event with unlimited bites of 22 passed sample items. Acreage (1380 Horizon Ave, Lafayette) will host an interactive dining experience that includes a cellar tour and dinner, and caps off with desserts around the bonfire.
For more information and a full list of participating restaurants, visit firstbiteboulder.com. Reservations are recommended at participating restaurants.