Colorado Food News: ‘Palisade is to peaches what Chicago is to pizza’

Alert! Western U.S. only region to see a decline in pie sales

Budweiser is introducing Budweiser Small Batch 80524, named for a Fort Collins ZIP code near the Anheuser-Busch brewery. Brewmaster Katie Rippel, above, describes it as “€œa deep-gold, filtered wheat beer … using lemon peel, orange peel and coriander.” (Courtesy photo)

Reporter Steve Dolinsky at WLS in Chicago recently wrote about his Colorado food travels after the Aspen Food & Wine Classic:

“The drive to (Palisade) takes about an hour-and-a-half, unless you choose to drive over Grand Mesa, an enormous, flat plateau that rises over the Valley like the monolith in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” … Once you descend into the valley again, you can’t help but see dozens of tiny farm stands, some in people’s garages, selling apricots, cherries and peaches. Palisade is to peaches what Chicago is to pizza. Everyone sells them and everyone has an opinion on which variety is better.”

Noodles & Co. hits 300; Smashburger goes east

Broomfield-based Noodles & Co. announced recently that it had opened its 300th fast-casual restaurant location. Another 25 stores are planned to be opened by the end of the year. Noodles has restaurants in 23 states. According to, Colorado-based Smashburger is airing its first national ads this month under the slogan “Smashed fresh. Served delicious.” Smashburger has announced the signing of franchise deals to open a combined 44 restaurants in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and other markets.

Europe developing taste for our craft brews

Sales of American craft beer are rapidly increasing in Europe, up more than 50 percent last year according to the Boulder-based Brewers Association. The biggest demand is coming from Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Denver finally becoming a ‘food city’

“I think Denver’s really becoming a food city, which I wouldn’t have said five years ago.”

– Chef Charlie Palmer (Aureole in New York City) and District Tavern in Denver

Eateries honored for wine-oriented focus

The Flagstaff House Restaurant in Boulder has once again won the Wine Spectator’s Grand Award as it has every year since 1983. It is one of only 75 restaurants in the nation to win the award in 2012. To qualify, the wine cellar needs to have at least 1,500 bottles. Flagstaff House has 2,300 bottles, probably more. Jill’s Restaurant in Boulder has received Wine Spectator’s 2012 Award of Excellence which recognizes restaurants that offer guests a wine list of 100 or more quality wines that also match the eatery’s cuisine. The restaurant is located inside the St Julien Hotel.

Alert: Pie consumption dwindling in West

According to, the West is the only region in the United States to see a decline in average weekly sales this year including a a 9.5 percent decrease in specialty/gourmet pies sales at supermarket bakeries. Pie sales in supermarkets increased during the 52 weeks ending April 28. Pies accounted for 6.2 percent of in-store bakery sales, a 0.1 percent decrease from the previous year. The pie category includes specialty/gourmet, fruit, open faced, mini/sliced/half, cream/custard, tarts, meringue, lattice and other pies.

– Staff and wire reports