The Kitchen: on Pearl Street, in Boulder, Colorado, you’ll find “the greenest restaurant in the West.”

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jan 9, 2009
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Ran into Hugo Matheson, a longtime friend and the man and vision behind much of the greatness that has been The Kitchen over the last five years. We had a great talk about the below “editor’s note,” he was understandably a little disappointed, and sought to remind me that The Kitchen really strives to walk its talk in a way few restaurants care to do—that if they cut prices they can’t support the amazing, and in many cases “slow food” or local farmers and fishermen, etc. I was chastened, and asked Hugo to try and do a little more to remind The Kitchen’s many fans of why we love it, even in these tough economic times. He reminded me that it’s not like The Kitchen is getting rich, what it does costs more and in fact times have been tight for The Kitchen, along with everyone else.

So I’ll be honored and happy to return to my spot at the bar downstairs and reschedule lunch meetings and dinners and drinks Upstairs—at such time as elepahnI gets a few more advertisers on board. Until then, it’ll be Chipotle, Burnt Toast, Mountain Sun, Sunflower, Hapa—all of whom either support elephant and/or are eminently affordable, and to some degree or other mindful in their food sourcing and business practices. In any case, I of course encourage all turistas, as written in my original review below, and better-off citizens of Boulder to support what is, in my opinion, one of the best green-minded restaurants anywhere.

Editor’s Note: while The Kitchen is theoretically still my favorite restaurant in town…it’s become a little too expensive for me. Lunch has gone from an affordable luxury that I indulged in alone (at the golden salvaged wooden bar) two times a week, and in a meeting at a table once a week…to something I never, ever do. I miss it. Breakfast, one of the best in town (or anywhere) is gone for now, replaced by a tapas-like menu in the afternoon that neither I nor anyone else with a job find it convenient to attend (though the idea of a relaxed, community-focused time is wonderful, and in keeping with The Kitchen’s genesis). Upstairs at The Kitchen, long Boulder’s only civilized yet-still-fun open lounge or loft-like bar, has become prohibitively expensive—recently I paid $12 or $13 including tip and tax for a beer. One. Beer.

When I’m making more dough, I’ll go back—the place still combines elegance and local, organic, free range foodie values in a way that makes it deserve its top Gourmet magazine ranking. Just wish they had a few more affordable choices for lunch and drinks.

PS: I wrote this addendum to my original, enthusiastic review of this, my favorite restaurant only after hearing, unprompted, from a few friends (who are better off than I) that The Kitchen had become too pricey. Perhaps The Kitchen is going through tough times with the economy being down and all—thus the sudden super-priciness.

~~~ original review below ~~~

I’ve probably gone to The Kitchen about 2,000 times over the past five years since they opened (don’t do the math). Why? Because if I were a restaurant I’d want to be The Kitchen:

…Eco-responsible, slow food, locally-sourced—but not hippie.

…Fine dining—but not overly pretentious.

…Elegant—but fun.

Of course, I used to go a lot more…when you could get lunch (in my case, veggie sandwich with greens and dry capp with hand-rolled cwoissant [as I pronounce it, most carefully] for maybe $14 including tip). It’s gone up a few bucks over the years, not bad, but enough to make it more of a seldom treat than a two or three times a week kinda thing.

If you want to enjoy Boulder at its sunniest, go for Brunch on a weekend with a love and read the Times.

As for dinner, like my other Boulder fave Frasca it’s well out of my independent-journalist price-range but well worth it if it’s in your price range.

Post-dinner, when I wanna go or stay out, I oft go Upstairs…at the Kitchen. Upstairs is pretty much Boulder’s only elegant, modern lounge (St. Julien has a good, big lounge area, too). Everyone knows your name—which makes it a difficult place for a first date. For years I got a light dinner Upstairs, where things seemed a bit more affordable, with a single or double Talisker or MacAllan plus a beer or two if I was feeling happy…until I realized how much it was…now I stick to a couple sides: the world’s best garlic fries with home-made mayo or dijon, greens, flat bread…and a solitary, quality local brew (I’m an old man, these days. More than a few drinks and I want to go to bed).

So, if you want your dining-out-dollars to help build a more mindful, modern world—and you happen to be in Boulder—pay a visit to The Kitchen, and/or Upstairs at the Kitchen. And if you see me there, say hey—unless I look awkward and distracted and am sitting with someone far too good for me. In which case, if you please, just let me be.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


13 Responses to “The Kitchen: on Pearl Street, in Boulder, Colorado, you’ll find “the greenest restaurant in the West.””

  1. Joana Smith says:

    This is the place for feasting…best Sticky Toffee Pudding this side of the Atlantic!

  2. Sarah Miller says:

    excellent brunches, delicious curry chicken salad and cute waiters- heaven!

  3. Max says:

    This is my first stop on my next trip to Boulder! Frasca will be second…

    Still kinda miss Fred’s though.

  4. Heather says:

    The Kitchen’s happy hour (which lasts for exactly one hour: 5:30-6:30) is surprisingly affordable, and un-surprisingly yummy. Beer of the day is $2, house wine I think is $4/glass and a large portion of delicious garlic fries also comes in under $5.

  5. Jayson says:

    Best restaurant in town, by a longshot

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  7. […] one that supports local, independent farmers. Boulder’s darling eco Slow Food hotspots The Kitchen and Organic Orbit are likely booked for reservations, so Plan B is to support an independent or […]

  8. […] West,’ just got tagged as one of the coolest restaurants in the Denver area by Westword…despite being green, and saying […]

  9. […] the word ‘diversity‘ sallied forth this morning, I’d have enough for lunch at The Kitchen. I look forward to seeing Naropa walk its diversity talk by providing more and more scholarships […]

  10. Is the Kitchen getting too pricey? Comments:

    J at 12:00pm July 15
    at least they should have a $10 cheese plate for one….$17! yawza….

    AB at 12:12pm July 15
    i wondered that too as well as sloppy and a bit lazy.. had a horrible lunch recently waiter was spaced out forgot my garlic fries forgot that i wanted a drink of soda … bill was over $50 for lunch… broke my heart and told the manager I WANT MY OLD KITCHEN BACK

    AB at 12:18pm July 15
    ps i think they have gotten a little too big for their britches… 🙂

  11. […] The Kitchen will donate 20% of all proceeds from its Community Night dinner every week to support the efforts of the Growe Foundation and the School Food Project. Both groups work to educate Boulder kids on better eating and the environment. The Kitchen has worked with both organizations over the years and is proud to make its popular Community Night a part of their amazing work. […]

  12. […] intro: I was honored (okay, psyched) to have lunch, at the Kitchen in Boulder, with Slow Money founder Woody Tasch, yesterday. He’s a sweet, sincere, pioneering bundle of […]

  13. […] review, Andrew Knowlton describes dishes from favorite local restaurants and watering holes like The Kitchen, Mateo, Frasca, and The Bitter Bar. He attempts the full Boulder experience by going car-free for […]