All SPRUCEd Up at the Hotel Boulderado

The Hotel Boulderado is a Boulder institution, having hosted luminaries, tourists and others for over 100 years.
For many of those years – 21 to be exact – the main restaurant in the hotel was Q’s, owned by John Platt, who leased the space from Frank Day, the hotel’s owner.
John has moved on to own and operate Riff’s Urban Fare in Boulder – a more casual space, with the same high standards for food and service as could be found at Q’s.
The Boulderado team created Spruce in its place.
Named after the street on which the hotel sits, it’s a great name in and of itself.
They’ve carried this theme along in clever ways, starting with the exterior signage – a shield-shaped wooden sign that hangs to the left of the hotel’s forest green awnings [forest = coincidence!] – at the main entrance.
It continues with the menu.
Printed on paper, it’s attached by a thick rubber band to a wood board that’s been engraved at the bottom with the restaurant’s name in bold block letters, and below, in cursive, “farm & fish”.
I love a great menu presentation, and it really does set the tone of engagement with it.
As for the physical space, most of the floor is the original hexagon tile from 1909 and has a charm that captures you immediately.
They’ve added more booths [people LOVE booths], and upholstered them in fresh fabrics.
The light fixtures in the dining room are gorgeous globes – oversized to make a stunning impact – as well as shed good light.
It feels current, while still holding on to and respecting enough of the history of the space.
We were able to sample around the menu, and enjoy cornmeal crusted oysters, grilled Palisade peach on a bed of arugula with prosciutto chip and goat cheese, caprese arancini with basil aioli, crab cakes and roasted corn soup.
It’s a solid menu, and a great place to stop in for a quick bite at the bar, or a full meal.
Speaking of the bar, the bar area is fairly sized with a handful of tables for two, and the bar itself – where we sat all night, because we like to belly up to the action – is comfortable.
We had one of the signature cocktails to start – the Vespa – made with housemade lemonade, lavender simple syrup and muddled seasonal fruit.
On this night, the seasonal fruit was peach, and it was delightful.
It would be as good with any number of fruits, and I think this approach is smart, as committed as Boulder is to local and seasonal food / drinks.
We live in such a dominantly digital age, that the contrast of a landmark like the Boulderado, that has been diligently doing its thing for 105 years (!), is fun to experience, and in that contrast, brings its own kind of freshness.
I enjoy taking people there, and also recommending it to visitors, because I know they’ll get a good bite to eat, along with a taste of history.

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