Fans of bourbon chicken know there's only one place to get the goods in Denver: Bourbon Grill, which has been slinging big, cheap and delicious orders of tangy-sweet bird with just the right amount of char since 2002. But East Colfax Avenue is a long way from Boulder County, so one chef decided to make his own version of bourbon chicken for the people of Lafayette.
Chris Rubeck launched Ruby Ru's Street Eatery as a food truck four years ago, serving bourbon chicken atop white rice and in tacos with grilled pineapple and slaw. The combos proved so popular that Rubeck just opened a brick-and-mortar version of Ruby Ru's at 1280 Centaur Village Drive in Lafayette.
Rubeck isn't quite a native, but he's lived in Lafayette since he was three years old and attended Centaurus High School there. His new restaurant is within walking distance of the high school, so he keeps students in mind with his menu and pricing; there's even a $6.99 lunch special.
There's no bar at the 1,250-square-foot eatery (which was formerly a Silver Mine Subs), making it even more family-friendly — not that you're likely to find drunks hanging out at the Oak Tree Plaza shopping strip. What you will find is marinated and grilled chicken thighs drizzled with the house bourbon glaze, and sides of mac and cheese or Cajun potatoes that go great with the saucy chicken.
Beyond the original rice bowl, there's also a banh mi bowl and a jerk chicken bowl, both with their own sauces. The tacos are on the roster, too, and several sandwiches round out the menu, including a Buffalo chicken-finger sub that Rubeck says is a top seller.
Because Ruby Ru's was built during the pandemic, Rubeck notes that he was able to easily incorporate health and safety features from the beginning, including an intuitive online ordering system. "One good thing about opening now is that you don't have to teach people how to order online anymore," he explains. "They already know."
And the concept is already optimized for takeout, since Ruby Ru's began life as a food truck. While there's room for a few groups to sit inside or on a small patio outside, Rubeck expects many of his customers to take food to go.
That's the way they do bourbon chicken on Colfax — and the way it's done in Lafayette.
Ruby Ru's Street Eatery is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Call 303997-8238 or visit the restaurant's website for menus and ordering.
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