Openings and Closings

Turley's Kitchen Will Close This Sunday After Forty Years of Serving Boulder

Turley's Kitchen closes on Sunday, May 21, after forty years under the same family.
Turley's Kitchen closes on Sunday, May 21, after forty years under the same family. Facebook/Turley's Kitchen
Colin Argys began working at Turley’s Kitchen — the long-lived and much-loved Boulder eatery that’s scheduled to close for good at 3 p.m. this Sunday — in 2010, when he was still in college. “They were kind of the original health food restaurant in Boulder,” he says, “with a varied set of gluten-free options, always willing to customize meals and work with dietary restrictions. They did a good job of sourcing locally when possible, using organics when possible. The meats were clean, with no antibiotics or hormones.”

Argys has filled several jobs at the restaurant over the past seven years, from server to bartender to management, and although he now works for the Dreamcatcher’s Legacy of Learning, his relationship with the restaurant continues. “The thing I’ll remember and miss the most is the people,” he says. “They did a good job of hiring good people, and a lot of them have become lifelong friends.”

Argys married in September: “My best man and his wife I met through Turley’s,” he says, and the wedding took place on a farm owned by one of the restaurant’s regular customers. “It was beautiful.”

“When I started, I’d just turned twenty-one," he continues. "I grew into the person I am today as part of the Turley’s crew. It’s been a great place for me during last seven years.”

A phone call to the restaurant on May 19 found the place jammed with faithful customers coming to say goodbye. The Turley family opened a Good Earth Franchise on the corner of 18th and Pearl streets in 1977, but soon decided they preferred a non-franchise model and changed the name to the Harvest Restaurant and Bakery. The name change to Turley's and the move to the current location on Pearl and 28th Street came roughly twenty years ago, but the place has remained essentially the same.

Gayle Myers-Harbison also has wedding-associated memories. She and her husband, Bruce, married in 1980. After a morning church wedding, they took the wedding party, which comprised the best man, the maid of honor and Myers-Harbison’s two young children, to the Harvest for lunch. “It was our favorite place,” she says, “and we wanted to celebrate there. It’s always been so comfortable and welcoming.

“My favorite dish back then was stir-fried veggies served with brown rice. And I have always loved their spiced iced tea,” she adds.

The memories of earlier employees are as vivid as those of Argys. Gye Corrow worked for the restaurant when it was still the Harvest. “Something I really loved about the Harvest, other than the menu and the gorgeous wooden interior, was the steady stream of celebrities who made us a regular stop when they were in town,” she says. “My most memorable encounter was with Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil, who strode in alone one day, doffed his hat and asked for a table where he could get a bit of work done. It turned out to be the first of many visits for the whole band over the years. That time he invited us all to the show and we danced our brains out all night long — got a fabulous shout-out about how good it was to be on tour and finally get at decent meal at the Harvest. Best. Show. Ever. And you can quote me on that.”

She adds, “The gazpacho was legendary. Easy to pare down to family-sized batches, too.” In addition, she cites scrambled tofu, broccoli walnut casserole and bean tostada as favorites. The menu changed over the years, but the focus on healthy and moderately priced eating remained. Other favorites mentioned to Westword by faithful customers included cashew chicken salad, buffalo meatloaf and — noted by absolutely everyone — the spiced iced tea.

Turley’s will be missed. Jeanne Kipke says, “It became the go-to place for me and a colleague when we wanted to meet for a meal and conversation after a long day of teaching at a local school. It was our destination whenever she and I met. I always ordered the house tea (yum) and a medium-rare, grass-fed beef burger with fries. Actually, the only hamburgers I ever ate were either homemade or at Turley's. We'll have to find a new eatery. It will be challenging to replace Turley's for quality and pricing. Any ideas?”

Farmer John Ellis, a fixture of the Boulder County Farmers' Market, says he’s been having dinner at Turley’s with an old friend several times a year for years. “We both almost always have the same meal: her, salad with salmon; me, buffalo meatloaf with a salad. I’m really going to miss it.”

Turley's will be missed in Boulder, but the memories will live on. Here's a recipe for the restaurant's gazpacho (originally shared by Laura Bloom on Serving Boulder) to help relive those memories in your own kitchen.

Harvest Restaurant's Gazpacho

3 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 tablespoon minced or chopped garlic
1 tablespoon of oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup (or less) sugar
1/8 cup lime juice
6 ounces tomato or V-8 juice
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 tablespoon black pepper
1/4 tablespoon Tabasco and/or cayenne pepper (more or less as you prefer)

Mix all of the above together in a large bowl.

Add the following, chopped to preferred size:

1/2 cucumber (seedless/English cukes are best; unpeeled adds color)
1 whole bell pepper (orange for color)
1/2 red onion
1/2 jicama

You can also add chopped avocado just before serving, or fresh jalapeños. Garnish with parsley or cilantro and sour cream, if desired.

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Juliet Wittman is an investigative reporter and critic with a passion for theater, literature, social justice and food. She has reviewed theater for Westword for over a decade; for many years, she also reviewed memoirs for the Washington Post. She has won several journalism awards and published essays and short stories in literary magazines. Her novel, Stocker's Kitchen, can be obtained at select local bookstores and on Amazon.
Contact: Juliet Wittman