My husband and I visited Durango to enjoy its scenic mountains, proximity to Mesa Verde National Park, and a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. You’ll find this charming town along the Animas River in southwestern Colorado.
Fresh foods and healthy alternatives are staples on Durango menus, and we enjoyed delicious but inexpensive meals during our time there. You will find good high-end restaurants in Durango, which we skipped on this visit, choosing to dine at more casual and affordable places. Here are my eight favorite restaurants to check out in Durango, Colorado, and suggestions for what to order.
1. Jean Pierre Bakery and Wine Bar
One of Durango’s most popular restaurants is Jean Pierre Bakery & Wine Bar. I had read about it online and several merchants had mentioned the tasty French pastries at this beloved shop. The selection of homemade breads, cookies, pastries and croissants is huge and mouth-watering.
What to order at Jean Pierre
Although Jean Pierre serves full service meals, my husband, Eddie, and I only came for take-home pastries and chocolate-filled croissants for breakfast. I wanted one of everything but opted for apricot tart, marzipan, chocolate biscuits and the croissants we came for. Do not leave without tasting at least one of these chocolate cookies, they are delicious!
2. College Drive Cafe
The best restaurant on my Durango list was College Drive Cafe, a favorite local restaurant with a long waiting list. Luckily you can call and get on the list to save time, which we did. Our table was waiting for us when we arrived at the restaurant, and our waitress was quick, friendly, and efficient.
What to order at College Drive Cafe
I tried the Murphy Scramble with spinach, seasonal tomatoes and sliced fresh avocado served with toast and really tasty potatoes. Eddie had the traditional Eggs Benedict, usually my favorite dish and my favorite breakfast dish. Since I had chosen otherwise, I ordered a side of delicious Hollandaise, which went well with my perfectly cooked egg dish.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: It was my favorite meal in town.
3. Reverse tacos
Eddie and I loved the street taco choices and side dishes at Back tacos in downtown Durango. The prices were affordable in terms of tacos, but I thought the rest of the menu was a bit pricey. Switchback is known for its handcrafted cocktails, margaritas and the fresh ingredients on its street taco menu.
What to order from Switchback
We shared an order of queso (a very good recipe), red salsa and corn chips. Each item is priced individually, but you can save a few bucks by ordering several. Then I had a carnitas pork taco with pineapple salsa and pickled onion. My taco was about $4 and full after sharing the appetizer. It was messy to eat, but 10 out of 10 in flavor. Eddie had a chicken tinga and taco d’adobada; both served with cilantro and onion and totally delicious.
Her favorite part of the meal was the Spicy Reyes margarita, with a Tajin rim, silver tequila and orange juice. Mine was the amazing OG Elote (Mexican street corn), topped with cream, chipotle mayonnaise, cilantro and sprinkled with cojita cheese. It was the best Elote I’ve had in my life – I could have easily eaten two or three more orders. It’s addicting!
Pro Tip: Switchback Tacos is within walking distance of Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway and has regular hours, especially compared to many other restaurants in town. Consider this for dinner after your train journey.
4. Animas Chocolate & Coffee
Expect handcrafted chocolates and exquisite drinks from Animas Chocolate & Coffee cafe on the main avenue. We walked into this cute little shop from around 1895 and found the friendliest guy in town making gourmet drinking chocolates. It was cold outside, so the premium Smelter hot chocolates were perfect to warm us up and energize us. Of course, you have to accompany your delicious drink with delicious handmade chocolates, right?
What to order at Animas Chocolate & Coffee
I chose the El Bandito, a Mexican-style hot chocolate drink infused with chilli and vanilla; and Eddie chose The Miner, made with peppermint. Fresh whipped cream topped our drinks, which were smooth and velvety in taste. Don’t miss the exotic truffles in the back of the chocolate cafe. They are as beautiful as they are delicious.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: These gourmet chocolates are made from the highest quality chocolate with no added preservatives, so they should be consumed within 2 weeks.
5. HomeSlice Pizza
We had been towing our RV all day and arrived late in Durango. We found three HomeSlice Pizza pitches – one near the RV park – to take home a gourmet pie. Or you can also have dinner and try the long list of beers. I love it when a pizzeria allows two different combinations on the same pizza. It’s great for saving money and you don’t have to compromise. Kudos to HomeSlice for being one of those establishments.
What to order at homeSlice Pizza
The pizza we shared was part Behemoth (pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, black olives, red onion, bell pepper) and part Genovese (chicken, pesto, seasoned ricotta, roasted red pepper). The Genoese advertised roasted garlic, which was substantial, roasted whole cloves – and they were excellent. Eddie also liked his choice and we had plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day.
6.Carver Brewing Co.
We met a local friend in Durango at Carver Brewery, a popular downtown brewpub known for its upscale bar fare, burgers, and craft beer. They have a pleasant and friendly atmosphere and attentive waiters. We had heard locals and people at our RV campground rave about Carver Brewing since we came to town, so we were excited to check it out.
What to order at Carver Brewing Co.
We started with the creamy (and tasty) artichoke dip with spinach and green chilies. It was served in a bread bowl (I mean, who doesn’t love a bread bowl?) and had tortilla chips for dipping. Carver Brewing Co. was the first microbrewery in all of Colorado, so it’s only fitting that you try one of the beers on tap.
We ordered chicken enchiladas, chili verde chicken (sliced chicken breast dipped in cheeses with a decadent sauce) and beef stroganoff with tender and plentiful broccoli and seared beef tips for our mains. The Beef Stroganoff’s gemelli pasta was strong enough to stand up to the full-bodied mushroom sour cream sauce – comfort food at its finest. However, I found the portion sizes of the chicken enchiladas a bit small for the price.
Two other popular items at Carver Brewing Co. are smash burgers and chocolate chip cookies.
7. Durango Bagels
Bagel Durango is a cute little shop tucked away on the corner of downtown, right next to the train depot. I saw the ads in a local publication and knew I had to try the flavored bagels and cream cheese. They also have espresso, coffee, tea, and several other bottled beverages.
What to order at Durango Bagel
Feast on a delicious breakfast bagel or bagel sandwich. You can also choose from 16 kinds of cream cheese (Spicy Mexican, Garlic & Herb, Honey & Almond, etc.) to spread on your bagels. Eddie and I picked up bagels to eat on our train ride the next day, and they were perfect even one day. We also bought some extras to freeze. I had a green chili bagel with cheese, while he chose the cinnamon sugar. I was surprised the bagels were only $1.25 or a dozen bakers for $12. With prices rising across the country, this is a bargain deal.
8. Lone Spur Cafe
Another popular breakfast in downtown Durango is the Lone Spur Cafe, dressed in a Wild West decor and a cowboy-western theme. Lone Spur serves breakfast and lunch, as well as Friday and Saturday night dinner specials, namely their famous Prime Rib. They are known for their meat and egg breakfast dishes, such as Corned Beef Hash and Eggs, Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs, or Rib Eye and Eggs. Hours of operation are 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for special dinners.
What to order at Lone Spur Cafe
We are “breakfast people” and wanted to have another tasty breakfast in Durango before heading out of town. Lone Spur Cafe was the place we chose. I had a traditional omelette with swiss cheese only, hash browns and a biscuit with gravy.
My meal was huge, way too much to eat, but I appreciate being able to choose if I wanted toast Where a biscuit with sauce. I usually have to buy a side of sauce so this option saved me some money. Eddie had the Belgian waffle breakfast, with two eggs cooked to order and the choice of bacon or sausage. We were both happy with our food, the prices and the friendly, attentive service.
For more things to do and see in the Centennial State, check out these Colorado experiences: