TOP NOTCH AURORA: The 2012 Grade ‘A’ awards

A guide to some of the best places to eat, drink, visit and enjoy what Aurora has to offer

We don’t have to tell you that this is an election year in our hotly contested purple swing state.

Negative TV and radio ads and obnoxious robo-calls from diverse special interest groups have been bombarding us.

That’s why we decided the time was right to introduce the Grade A Awards. First, we asked our readers to name a few of their favorite things about living in Aurora.

The printed ballot appeared twice earlier this summer in the weekly print editions of the Aurora Sentinel, Life Science and the Buckley Guardian newspapers as well as online. The nominees were limited for the most part to the geographic confines of the City of Aurora. Anyone who’s driven north to south or east to west knows just how gigantic Colorado’s third most-populous city can seem. Part of the purpose of the Grade A Awards is to make this sprawling metropolis feel a little more intimate.

We started with food because the city is blessed with an extraordinary array of cool restaurants, bakeries and markets. We asked you to nominate your favorite hamburger as well as your go-to place for Korean barbecue, your choice of all-you-can-eat buffets and restaurant wine lists.

Next, the survey asked for readers’ favorite businesses, recreational activities and cool locations. Hundreds of readers responded and filled out the ballot. We are incredibly grateful to you for taking the time.

We also asked our intrepid and talented staff to look back at their work and travels in the past year to name the individuals, businesses, places and issues that define Aurora. In reading their contributions we hope you discover a few surprises about life here.

Finally, we also asked you to tell us if there were categories in the Grade A Awards that we can add for the 2013 Grade A Awards. Among the recommendations were Grade A categories for martial arts, car servicing, exercise places, coffee shops, happy hours, Eastern European fare, seafood restaurants, Italian cuisine, haunted houses, advocacy groups, new businesses, flower shops, hair salons, French cuisine, and much more.

We also welcome your Grade A comments and suggestions at

In a challenging year in Aurora’s history, Grade A is a reminder of all the people, places, shops and tastes that make this such a compelling place to live, play and work.

Food and Drink

Arts & Nightlife

People and Places

Shopping  and Services

This and That