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7 Most Unique Dining & Drinking Experiences Durango Has to Offer

A local guide to the most unique dining and drinking experiences in Durango, Colorado.

7 Most Unique Dining & Drinking Experiences Durango Has to Offer

Durango has a bustling food and drink scene that has exploded with talent and flavor over the past decade. An influx of artisans, chefs, and tastemakers, along with an active and supportive food community, has made the mountain city into an emerging culinary destination.

Though Durango is known for its breweries and farm-to-table homegrown dishes, it’s also home to a number of creative hotspots for unique food and drink. We spoke with notable locals like Dave Thibodeau of Ska Brewing and Kris Oyler of Steamworks Brewing about their favorite spots for offbeat eats in Durango.

Ernie's in the 11th Street Station

Recommended by: Dave Thibodeau, Sage Anderson

Former service-station-cum-culinary-collective 11th Street Station puts the term “micro eatery” squarely in Durango’s wheelhouse. And Dave Thibodeau of Ska Brewing gives Ernie’s Bar, a former service station housed in the collective, a thumbs up for creativity and choice: “There’s a pretty extensive craft beer list at Ernie's. It's in an old gas station from the 1950s, and now you can get any crazy beer you want there. They have local beers, and they also have a lot of beer from not only around the country, but around the world.”

The Bookcase and Barber

Recommended by: Kami Swingle, Jenna Black, Cody Tinnin

Cody Tinnin of the Durango-based bluegrass band StillHouse Junkies knows what’s up when it comes to local drinks. And the city’s resident speakeasy, The Bookcase and Barber (yes, it’s nestled squarely behind a working barber shop), is one of his favorites: “The Bookcase and Barber is a great spot for a good, high-end handcrafted cocktail,” he says. Just make sure you know the password!

Zia Taqueria

Recommended by: Dave Thibodeau, Luke Mehall, Ani Casabonne, Sage Anderson

Zia Taqueria wins big points with Durango locals for authentic Mexican eats and affordability. Luke Mehall of The Climbing Zine praises the taco hotspot’s prices and generous portions: “Zia Taqueria is the only place in town where you can spend $5 and actually get an affordable meal and get full. Plus, it's really good. I worked there for five years and I still eat there all the time.”

Cream Bean Berry

Recommended by: Sage Anderson, Dave Thibodeau, Katie Burford

Organic, creative, and fresh takes on the classics are the name of the game in the Durango food scene, and the ice cream at Cream Bean Berry is no exception. Dave Thibodeau says the seasonal flavors at the local creamery make an everyday trip for ice cream into something special: “Cream Bean Berry is our locally owned ice cream shop on Main Avenue,” he says. “They have nice, craft, exotic ice cream flavors.”

Honeyville

Recommended by: Dave Thibodeau

Wildflower honey, flavored whipped honey, jams, jellies, and even honey-infused booze are on offer at local beekeeping and honey bottling favorite Honeyville. Says Dave Thibodeau, “Honeyville is a really cool family-owned honey company. They make everything. They put in a distill, and they make honey whiskey. It’s always fun to check out what new things they’ve got going on.”

Durango Craft Spirits

Recommended by: Dave Thibodeau, Kris Oyler

Durango Craft Spirits is the first grain-to-glass distillery in Durango since the end of prohibition--or at least the first legal one! Kris Oyler of Steamworks Brewing says the talented whiskey-makers at Durango Craft Spirits are going strong: “Durango Craft Spirits is just off of Main Avenue. They’re making wonderful aged whiskey,” he explains, adding, “That's a pretty unique place.”

Four Leaves Winery

Recommended by: Kris Oyler

Durango is famous for its breweries, but the boutique Four Leaves Winery, just across from the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad station, is putting local wines on the map, too, says Kris Oyler: “Four Leaves Winery is right here in town. They've got a little winery right down on Main as well, and they’re always putting out interesting wines.”

James Ranch

Recommended by: Dave Thibodeau, Katie Burford, Sean Clark, Joy Martin

Katie Burford of Cream Bean Berry says that James Ranch, a working ranch that sells everything from grass-fed beef to artisan cheese ten miles north of Durango, is the epitome of everything Durango is known for: local, organic, fresh, and sustainable. “James Ranch is an absolute paragon of a local,” she raves. “At their Harvest Grill out there at the ranch, they use local growers as much as they can. And as far as the quality, you can't get any better.”

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