Food & Drink

Home Food & Drink

How Do You Like MidiCi? You Tell Me!

MidiCi Neopolitan Pizza

The welcoming scent of the wood burning pizza oven greets you as soon as you enter MidiCi, but pizza is only one of the treasures that await you in this charming casual Italian eatery. The made-up word “MidiCi” is intended to mean “you tell me,” because of the restaurant’s easygoing attitude and commitment to pleasing each and every patron. You couldn’t ask for better hospitality than the kind that’s served up by owners Kelly and Ron Bumann.

But first, let’s talk about the food:

MidiCi Pizza

It’s no wonder MidiCi smells amazing—the wood fired oven burns all day long and can reach temperatures close 800 degrees by evening time. The oven cools overnight and reaches temperatures of about 250-300 degrees every morning, which is when MidiCi bakes its fresh Italian bread in those same wood-burning ovens.

MidiCi House Meat & Cheese

Our favorite starter is the House Meat & Cheese plate, a delightful assortment of cured meats such as spicy Calabrese, prosciutto, and rosemary shaved ham, with imported cheeses, dried fruits, and nuts, served alongside MidiCi’s signature homemade toasted bread.

MidiCi Soup

If you like to start with a soup, we recommend a cup of the absolutely divine cream-based tomato basil, served with toasted bread and topped with grated imported Parmigiano-Reggiano.  I could eat that soup three times a week and be outrageously happy! If you enjoy garlic, we highly recommend the tomato bruschetta appetizer, it’s loaded with diced ripe tomatoes, fresh garlic, and balsamic reduction drizzle—a real flavor bomb and the perfect way to kick off your meal. The house meatballs are also excellent, and they have such a delicate and delightful texture, you’ll never believe they’re made of 100% beef (traditional Italian meatballs combine a trio of ground beef, pork, and veal).

MidiCi Margherita

What will you choose for your main course? If you’re in the mood for wood-fired pizza, you could build your own or choose a classic like the Margherita. Your pizza choices include Neapolitan-style with strategically placed fresh mozzarella cheese, or New York-style covered in shredded mozzarella.

MidiCi Diablo Pizza

I’m partial to a pizza called “The Devil,” a spicy combination that packs a powerful punch of flavors. Amazingly, MidiCi’s pizza crust contains only four ingredients: non-GMO double zero flour imported from Naples, sea salt, pure water, and live yeast.

MidiCi Walnut and Gorgonzola Salad

Perhaps you’d prefer a thin-crusted calzone packed with spicy Italian sausage and cheese (gorgeously plated), or one of MidiCi’s meal-sized salads. My husband is rather smitten with their Walnut & Gorgonzola salad, in fact he’s ordered that more than once and it’s quickly becoming his favorite. Their salad options include big portions, are modestly dressed, and beautifully plated (though they do offer side salad options as well, plus lunch combos).

MidiCi Pasta

I’m sad to say I didn’t get to taste the pasta Bolognese, as the middle child positively devoured this dish without coming up for air, and believe me—this kid is the pickiest about her pasta! The vodka pasta is an excellent option, creamy and loaded with flavor. All MidiCi’s red sauces use imported San Marzano tomatoes as their base, alongside high quality fresh ingredients and a true passion for great food. It’s hard to believe this restaurant is a chain, though there are currently only about 40 locations nationwide. Kelly and Ron have definitely put their own unique spin on this spot, and there’s nothing franchise-y-feeling about it. It’s the perfect spot for a casual business lunch, happy hour with friends, dinner with the fam, or date night with your sweetie.

MidiCi now offers lunchtime paninis and new combo lunch specials priced right at $9.95, plus Happy Hour pricing on apps, cocktails, beer, and wine from 3-6PM, Monday through Friday.

MidiCi  Dessert

But can we please talk about dessert? The pistachio gelato had an amazing texture and an almost smoky flavor that definitely delivered on this Italian classic. I also recommend the lemon sorbetta—it’s dairy-free, light, and wonderfully refreshing. Hubby loved the tiramisu, which featured good strong espresso and well-proportioned layers.  Enjoy a super smooth and velvety café’ mocha with your dessert, you’ll thank me later.

MidiCi Gelato

There’s a robust wine list available (the hubby enjoys a rich Oregon pinot-noir), house-made limoncello (try it in the new Lemon Drop cocktail!), as well as a variety of quality non-alcoholic options for me and the kiddos. My favorite is the coconut Italian cream soda, but beware: it goes down so smooth, you’re gonna want a second one…and maybe a third! The kiddos enjoy all the fruit flavored cream sodas and lemonades, too.

MidiCi Sodas

Speaking of kids, the Bambino menu allows children 12 and under to choose from five different Italian options, with soft drink included. Gluten-free pizza crust and pasta options are also available for kids and adults. 

MidiCi Fichus

If you’re anything like me, you’ll appreciate MidiCi’s sweet details like the live full-size Fichus tree that grows in the center of the restaurant (grow lights stay on all night while business is closed), and the built-in purse hooks on the underside of the tables. It’s clear that Kelly and Ron (as well as their staff) take the MidiCi motto to heart: “People are the best thing that can happen to anyone.”

Tonight, why not grab some of your favorite people and head on over to MidiCi? Be sure to tell Ron and Kelly we sent ya’.

How You Know You Enjoyed Yourself at Yesterday’s Crawfish Boil

Crawfish Success

In honor of yesterday’s first “annual” Castle Rock Crawfish Boil at BURLY Brewing Company, here’s a few post-boil experiences you may be able to relate to:

#1. Your lips still kinda burn, just a little. 

#2. You’re hung over from all the beer you drank to try and cool off your mouth when it was burning from all the spices. Which you now realize, didn’t actually work. 

#3. While in the shower this morning, you notice a couple of weird yellow spots on your hands and arms. You consider licking them, just in case it’s crawfish fat you missed out on. 

#4. After your shower, your hands still smell like crawfish, so you rub some fresh cut lemon on ‘em.  

#5. After rubbing your hands with lemon to remove the smell, you’re now keenly aware of tiny cuts all over your hands, probably from peeling crawfish.

#6. Your fingers are so swollen from the salt and spice that you can’t put on your wedding ring. Yet somehow, you’re also weirdly dehydrated. 

#7. You find texts in your phone from people who appear to be your new best friends, though you can’t quite remember any of their faces right now. 

#8. You’re online checking flight prices to New Orleans, hoping to squeeze in another crawfish boil or two while the kids are on Spring Break. 

Good news – you don’t have to fly to New Orleans just yet… according to the organizers of yesterday’s event, we could be enjoying mudbugs more frequently. Stay tuned for more details on that!

6 Tips for Your First Crawfish Boil

Crawfish Boil

~ some Spice Advice from a New Orleans lady ~ 

Tip #1 – Dress Down and No Rings

Peeling and eating crawfish is messy business, if you’re doing it right. You’ll be sucking heads and pinching tails and crawfish juice will drip down your arms, so save that super cute outfit or the Tommy Bahama for another day and wear something you don’t mind getting messy. Don’t wear any rings because they’re just gonna get gross and be difficult to clean. 

True story: A good friend of mine is STILL mad at her husband after all these years for using a crawfish boil as the “cover story” for her surprise baby shower. Can you imagine? She showed up wearing an old t-shirt and cutoff shorts, hair swept up in a ponytail, thinking she was about to get messy at a crawfish boil and then walks in the door to see all her friends and family dressed up for a baby shower. After the initial shock, she turns to her husband and says, “a CRAWFISH boil?!?! Why didn’t you tell me I was going to someone else’s shower so I’d at least be dressed properly?” 

Tip #2 – Do NOT Wear Contact Lenses

Classic rookie mistake. You’ll understand why when you take ‘em out tonight. 

Tip #3 – Peel Like a Pro

Like any skill, peeling crawfish takes a little practice to master. I’ve been peeling my own crawfish since I was three years old (what can I say? My parents valued “independence”), so here’s some simple guidance if you’re new to this: 

Step 1: Twist and pull off the head. It may seem barbaric at first, but trust me, you’ll quickly get used to it and tap into your more primal self. If the claws look pretty big – you can eat those just like you would crab claws. The meet inside is very tender and sweet, but be advised, the claws do take on a lot of water, so they will be extra spicy.

Step 2 (optional): Suck the head. If you love spice, you’ll love this step. 

Step 3 (optional): Stick your index finger into the head and scoop upward and out. This removes the delicious mustard-like “fat” from the crawfish, which you can then suck off of your finger. It doesn’t taste like mustard, but it has a similar color and consistency. I recommend you try this at least once, to see if you like the fat or not. It’s nothing like any animal fat you’ve eaten—the flavor is unique, so you just have to try it, okay? Be adventurous! You’re eating mudbugs, for cryin’ out loud!!  Go all the way with it, man! 

Step 4: Hold the tail in your non-dominant hand and with your dominant hand, grasp the underside between the small legs. In one motion, squeeze, twist, and pull off to remove. Ideally, you’re getting the first two or three segments of the crawfish’s shell off in this step. 

Step 5: Pinch the tail as you gently pull out the crawfish meat in one full piece.  

Step 6 (optional): Deveining crawfish is a lot easier than deveining shrimp because you don’t need a knife to do it. The meat layer (eat this!) over the vein usually separates from the crawfish once you remove it from the shell, so you can just peel that flap back and remove the vein with your fingers. If that flap is stuck in the shell, pull it out and eat it, that’s a good part so don’t waste it! 

It might sound like a lot of steps, but really you get the hang of it quickly. Not to brag, but I can peel a few crawfish in under a minute. And it’s not a competition! At a crawfish boil, everyone who eats is winning! 

Tip #4 – Mind Your Hands

Usually, it’s a good idea to wash your hands after every couple of pounds of crawfish you’ve picked. There’s quite a lot of cayenne pepper and other types of pepper, salt, and seasonings in “seafood boil” (that’s what we New Orleanians call the spices used in a crawfish, crab, or shrimp boil). In fact, a LOT of pepper and spice goes into each batch – it’s not because anyone wants your taste buds burned off, it’s because these yummy crawdads are encased in their own armor, and the water they’re boiled in must be very well-seasoned in order for those spices to get into the parts we actually eat! But it also means all those spices and peppers are on the outside of the shells, which is what your hands will be all over. 

There’s no need to be scared, just be aware of this. While eating crawfish, do not rub your eyes, your nose, or touch your newborn baby’s face. Cayenne burns, even if you’ve wiped off with paper towels! Now you know the reasoning behind tip #2… just because you’ve washed your hands, doesn’t mean there’s not still residual pepper on there. Don’t be paranoid, just be mindful. 

Tip #5 – Enjoy the Burn

New Orleanians know there’s a true sweet-spot when it comes to spice levels. I’m no chef, but I can tell you that properly seasoned crawfish make my lips start burning about halfway through the first pound, but I still want to keep eating ‘em. If my lips are on fire and no amount of beer or root beer will soothe them after the first crawfish, that’s too spicy. If I’m not feeling any burn after the first pound or two, that’s not spicy enough. 

Now, I know I have a higher tolerance for spice than most Coloradans, and that’s why this isn’t quite an exact science. If you’re from Thailand, you’d probably feed your infant some spicy crawfish and not think twice. If you’re from the Midwest, even the tamest boils are gonna set your hair on fire. It’s just in New Orleans, there’s sort of a “baseline” level of spice, so we’re all pretty used to it.  

My advice to you is to embrace the spice and enjoy the burn. It’s nothing another beer from Burly’s or Barq’s can’t calm. The corn, sausage, and potatoes are going to be spicy too, because they were cooked in the same seasoned water as the crawfish. And the later in the day it gets, the spicier the batches become. I can’t say whether this is because we’ve already consumed a fair amount of spice at that point, or if it’s because the ones cooking have had many more beers that much later in the day, so they’re more heavy-handed with the cayenne, but I know the last batch of crawfish is always quite a bit spicier than the first. 

So if you’re a lightweight when it comes to pepper, arrive early to the crawfish boil to partake of one of the first batches. And maybe pick up some Tums and a gallon of milk on the way home. 

Tip #6 – Don’t Be Shy

When you’re invited to a crawfish boil in New Orleans, it’s at a friend’s or family member’s house, not a restaurant, so it’s picnic-style. Long tables are put together end-to-end and covered with newspaper. Each person is given a huge tray and you take a seat. The host gets a strong friend or two to help pour out each steaming hot spicy batch – right down the center of the table. You pick your crawfish from the center and leave your shells on your tray. When your tray is full, you dump it in the designated trash can (there’s always a designated can for this… remember, it’s HOT and humid this time of year in New Orleans, so you’d NEVER throw away crawfish shells in an indoor trash can), wash your hands, get another beer and offer to grab another drink from the cooler for anyone who wants (because they’re all still eating, and your hands are now clean). Then you take your seat or stand or pick a new seat, and start all over. It’s an all-day event as you eat, drink, relax, talk, laugh, and as we say in New Orleans, “pass a good time.” At the end of the day, your shirt has some new splotches, you’ve eaten and drunk your fill, and you’ve likely made a few new friends. But of course you’re not SHY at a New Orleans crawfish boil – if you were invited, odds are you know most if not everyone who’s attending. So it’s a relaxed, easygoing time all-around.

Outside of New Orleans, crawfish boils are a real treat, but they often don’t work quite the same way. Usually a restaurant hosts the event, and things are a bit more civilized. Hot crawfish are portioned out per person, city folk laugh as they timidly try to get at the sweet, tender meat that awaits them inside those mysterious spicy and salty red shells, and beers a-plenty are enjoyed. For many people, this may be their first time trying this Cajun delicacy, it’s a paid event they’re attending, and it’s possible that they don’t know anyone else in attendance. 

But that’s no reason to be shy! So just for today, why not imagine you’ve been invited to this crawfish bowl by a good friend and you’re here to meet all their friends and talk it up and “pass a good time.” Start a conversation with someone you haven’t met yet, ask about their mama-n-dem, whether or not they’re dressing up for Mardi Gras this year, and where they went to school. Believe it or not, this common conversation starter in New Orleans, ALWAYS means high school. I have a master’s degree, but whenever I’m in New Orleans and someone asks me where I went to school, I always tell them my high school, because that is ALWAYS what they want to know. Then they start listing all the people they know who went to that school, and then I reciprocate, and usually within just a couple of minutes, there’s a connection with a no-longer-stranger, with just a couple of degrees of separation. And that’s why people feel like family when they’re in New Orleans.

See you at the Crawfish Boil!!! 

Join us @ Burly’s today for the First Annual Castle Rock Crawfish Boil!

Watch Out Craft Brewers, Castle Rock Has a New Meadery

Throw a rock in the Denver-metro area and it’s difficult not to hit a craft brewery, but what about a craft meadery? Denver neighborhoods like LoDo and RiNo brag about their mom-and-pop breweries but if you want beer’s more medieval cousin you need to head down to Honnibrook Craft Meadery in Castle Rock which had its grand opening on February 16th.

“It’ll be a lot of education, because mead’s not really mainstream,” said co-owner Michael Fagan. “People hear meadery and they think charcuterie, and then they start asking about sausages.”

Mead is an ancient beverage brewed like wine but with honey instead of grapes. The honey-fermenting process gives mead a full-bodied sweet flavor that’s difficult to find in other beverages.

Fagan and co-owner DJ Kurtz have been brewing beer for several years but started brewing mead along with their beer for different contests. Their beer wasn’t much of a hit, but the judges and fans raved about their mead. Though Kurtz and Fagan had planned on opening a brewery, the feedback told them mead, not beer, was in their future.

Traditional mead is simply too sweet for most customers, so Fagan and Kurtz brew ‘draft mead’ which is less sweet and has a lower alcohol content than traditional mead. Honnibrook specializes in a style of mead known as melomel, or mead mixed with different fruits. Honnibrook sources most of its honey from Clark’s Honey Farm in Fort Lupton and Lockhart Honey Farms in Colorado Springs.

Like craft beer breweries, Honnibrook gives names to its different brews like ‘Surrender’ for their blood orange mead and ‘Blushing Yeti’ for its mango-infused concoction. Don’t fret if you want the real thing, though Honnibrook specializes in draft mead, they produce authentic full-strength mead too.

Honnibrook’s location features a tasting room and a mezzanine that can be rented out for private events like team building and parities. A 4-oz taster of mead runs for $2, a 12-oz glass for $6, and a 750-mil growler for $10.

“There’s actually a really vibrant mead community here in Colorado,” Fagan said. “Two of the top five mead makers in the world live in this state. There are national and international mead contests held here every year. It’s kind of been here, but we want to make it mainstream.”

Castle Rock residents can visit Honnibrook Craft Meadery at 2276 Manatt Court or visit in the meantime to learn more about the peculiar beverage.

Local Catering Company Changing the Way You Share Meals

Celebrate time with others by catering for them

Who doesn’t love a home-cooked meal? Who doesn’t love spending some time away from work with your colleagues? When was the last time you did both? When choosing a company to work for, there are many things to keep in mind – salary, benefits, commuting time, hours, vacation time, etc. But do you consider the extra perks, like team building, off-site get-togethers, catered meals? There are a lot of ways your job can say “thank you” for all your hard work, and a local catering company is trying to change the way they do it.

How a Local Catering Company is Changing the Way You Share Meals

Catering Denver comes in all shapes and sizes. Even small companies can take advantage of catering meals for their employees. When people think of catering, they typically think of big events like weddings and corporate retreats. Catering a meal for your employees is one way to thank them, show your appreciation, and get everyone together away from phone calls and computer screens for a while. This small act goes a long way to improve morale and productivity in the workplace.

Encore Catering, a full-service local catering company, offers catered meals big and small across the Metro area and surrounding cities like Castle Rock. With each event they host, Encore brings a bit of their magic to every meal they touch. They believe a home-cooked meal makes everyone’s day brighter. Life often gets busy, and we don’t get to spend time with the people that matter. By catering a meal at your job, you can spend some time beyond working with people you spend most of your day with.

Encore’s driving passion is that catering is about so much more than good food. It’s about getting together with people. It’s about having conversations. It’s about taking time to appreciate what the person across or next to you has to offer. That force drives everything for Encore from the way they create menus to how they make their food and what goes into the customer service that backs the entire experience you get when catering a meal from them.

As a boss, taking time out of the day to show your appreciation to your employees goes a long way to earn their loyalty and gratitude right back your way. When was the last time you treated your team to something? If it’s taking you too long to answer that question, consider catering breakfast or lunch for your employees and give them a day to remember.

If You’ve Been Thinking About Trying Z’Abbracci, Read This First…

Z'abbraci's Pizza Pasta Tap House
If you’ve been thinking about trying Z’Abbracci, read this first…

Is it crazy that we went to Z’Abbracci and did NOT order pizza? I mean, I wanted to, I really did… but their menu had way too many other enticing options, so we went in a different direction, and now I can’t wait to go back and try their pizza… and parmesan puffs… and maybe also Brunch on a Saturday or Sunday. OK, I admit, I’m smitten!

The short version is: Z’Abbracci offers a lively atmosphere for families, friends, groups, and date; attentive, knowledgeable service in timely fashion; excellent tasting food — well-seasoned, perfectly cooked, amazingly flavorful; and about average value for this style of dining experience here in Castle Rock. 

Now here’s the full monty for those who crave the details: 

Z’Abbracci’s decor is simple and welcoming – reclaimed wood, farmhouse casual, with moderate noise level for a packed Saturday night. We were seated promptly in a booth near the kitchen. Personally, I love to sit near an open kitchen because it really gives you a sense of a restaurant’s true vibe when you get to see the staff in action during a busy service. This was one of the most zen kitchen staffs I’ve seen – everyone stayed focused on their work, moving at a fast clip but without appearing stressed, and were cordial to each other – no yelling, no egos, and the only drama were the occasional flames leaping from the grill. Our server was also super chill, very knowledgeable about the menu, and struck that sweet spot balance between being attentive but not annoying.

Z’Abbracci's Appetizers

A restaurant’s atmosphere and service are all fine and good, but let’s face it – it’s really about the FOOD and the FLAVORS and this is where Z’Abbracci’s really shines. We started with a couple apps: risotto bites (arancini) and fried artichoke quarters with a yummy lemon aioli for dipping. Those were some of the best arancini I’ve had… and I’m half Italian and grew up in New Orleans, so the bar is set pretty dang high. The arancini were fried perfectly with crispy outside and creamy amazing inside, and this app is the perfect portion size to share.

Z’Abbracci's Antipasto

Next up I ordered the Antipasto salad and added blackened shrimp – I know, it’s kinda weird to add shrimp to a chopped Italian salad, but I’m so glad I went for it – those shrimp were bursting with flavor and expertly cooked. Be advised, the full sized salad is huge – I took half of it home (after I ate all the shrimp, of course!)

Z’Abbracci's Parmesan

The hubby ordered the chicken parmesan with linguine and marinara – the chicken was super moist, the sauce was amazing and the pasta was perfectly al dente. They have a nice wine menu, and he ordered a pinot noir that made him quite happy.

Z’Abbracci's Canoli

I don’t often order dessert in a restaurant, but since I am Italian, I couldn’t pass up cannoli. If you’ve ever had authentic cannoli, you know they are NEVER meant to be stuffed ahead of time, as the ricotta filling makes the shell soft, flaccid, and (frankly) disgusting. I checked with our server before I ordered and she assured me their cannoli were always stuffed to order, so I figured I’d give it a shot, and those cannoli did not disappoint! The shells are dipped in chocolate, so they stay extra crispy and perfect, and yes, they were filled to order with a creamy espresso ricotta and served alongside two scoops of gelato. The only thing that would have made this dish better was pistachio gelato (they only have vanilla and chocolate) but when I mentioned that to our server, she explained that they avoid nuts as much as possible since so many individuals are allergic.

Z’Abbracci's Tiramasu

Be forewarned – the desserts are huge! You could easily order 2 desserts to share amongst a table of 4-5 people and everyone would have plenty. My husband was torn between NY cheesecake and tiramisu but ultimately went with the tiramisu. I personally prefer a higher ratio of ladyfingers to mascarpone whip, but it’s fair to say I’m nitpicking here because the espresso flavor was strong and satisfying and I may or may not have had as many bites as my darling husband was willing to spare. The whole thing arrives drizzled in gorgeous chocolate and it’s about the size of a paving brick so either plan on sharing or taking some home for later.

Z’Abbracci's Pizza Pasta Tap House

The entire meal was Instagram-worthy and I know we will be back to enjoy this local gem again and again. 

Z’abbracci’s Website:

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Cafe ~ A New Innovation

Co-Contributor: Jourdan Ryan

In Outlets at Castle Rock is something new and innovative. On a chilly, Tuesday morning I had the privilege to meet the new owners, as well as witness the new café style décor, something new to the Castle Rock mall. Following is a review of my experience along with statements and descriptions from the owners themselves. The “Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Café” has announced its grand opening for Tuesday, January 29, 2019. Currently open, you can still visit and quench your taste buds with their well-known delectable chocolates and sip on a decadent Latte! With Valentine’s Day approaching, you will find a generous selection of chocolates and gifts just for that special someone!

The former store, which closed its doors in April of 2018, recently underwent a major face-lift, and is under new ownership. Jacob and Brianna Blaylock, recent Castle Rock, Colorado residents, couldn’t be more excited for this endeavor and they have been hard at work learning the ins and outs of running a chocolate store that doubles as a coffee shop. They are proudly serving DazBog Coffee, whose Russian heritage is as strong as its Arabica beans. Besides the creamy truffles, Tiger Butter caramel apples, and richer than rich fudge, they have an interesting café menu item that is sure to delight guests, called “Drinking Cacao”; melted chocolate and steamed milk, blended together to create the creamiest, richest hot cocoa you will experience!

Being the first Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Café in the United States comes with a lot of pressure for the new owners, but it’s a challenge they’re definitely up to. “When we were given this opportunity, we absolutely had to take it. It was an easy decision, We’re so passionate about what Rocky does and what they stand for and we can’t wait for people to come hang out in the café and see that for themselves.” Mr. Blaylock’s experience in restaurant management coupled with his first year as a business owner provided him the on-the-job learning required to take the Castle Rock store on and to do it effectively. Along with Mrs. Blaylock’s help during the renovation process, they have an inviting store/café to show for it. “I am just so excited for our customers to see the store. Getting to know them and providing them with the best experience possible is paramount to me,” owner Jacob Blaylock said. “We fell in love with the Castle Rock area and having the privilege of running the first Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Café in America has already been such a blessing. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.

The store reopened on December 21, 2018 but its official grand opening is right around the corner, on January 29, 2019 . This event will be larger than life, and the Blaylocks are taking that literally, as a 150-lb fudge mountain will be on display. They are also offering a free 12oz coffee with any purchase the entire day of the grand opening!

To learn more, you con follow Rocky Mountain Café on Instagram and Facebook.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Cafe – Instagram
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Cafe – Facebook

Why Castle Rock’s Microbrew Scene is Exploding

It’s no secret that Castle Rock’s microbrew scene is exploding. Some of the best beer in not only Colorado but the United States is being brewed up right here in Castle Rock, Colorado.

CRJ created a central brewing guide at Our hopes is to create a central place residents and non-residents can get a snap shop and virtual experience of each brewery in Castle Rock. Participation in the guide is optional and will be hosted on the highly popular, and highly-trafficked

“We live in Colorado. We’ve heard about the microbrew buzz in Castle Rock but didn’t know where to start. We got some feedback from local residents on the Castle Rock Food & Drink Facebook group but are really excited for a website to hopefully browse the local breweries from one destination,” said Mark Robinson of Denver.

Why are people from all around Colorado rushing down to Castle Rock? The fact is, not only do we have a hot, up & coming microbrew scene, all of the breweries in Castle Rock are pumping out some impressive craft beer that captures the taste buds of really everyone.

“The residents of Castle Rock recognize we’ve got the best beer around. They also see how the owners of the breweries are working together in unity to ensure the scene continues to be the best experience among patrons,” said Sean Hakes, Founder of the Castle Rock Food & Drink Facebook Group and

In show of brewery unity, the owners of Burly, 105 W, Rockyard, Iron Mule Brewing, and Wild Blue Yonder created a Facebook group called Castle Rock CO Breweries where fans can get updates on local specials, events and more. Currently, the group has nearly 1,200 members.

VistaVino Modern Grill Sold to Chef, Paul Epstein

Former Owners, Michael and Janine Glennon of VistaVino Modern Grill
Former Owners, & Founders, Michael and Janine Glennon of VistaVino Modern Grill

It’s official, Janine and Michael Glennon, Founder’s of one of Castle Rock’s finest restaurants, VistaVino Modern Grill have sold to now Owner, and Chef, Paul Epstein.

In a recent post from the Castle Rock Food & Drink Facebook Group, Janine Glennon wrote:

“It comes with great sadness to tell a community like Castle Rock who has embraced us so warmly that we sold VistaVino Modern Grill.

The good news is that the new chef owner, Paul Epstein, brings a long resume of experience. This ends a chapter for Michael and me but not for VistaVino.

Paul wants VistaVino to stay successful and similar to what Michael and I created. He is excited about this venture and loves Michael’s food. He plans on keeping many of your favorites on the menu and loves the quaint, family feel of VistaVino.

Michael and I hope that you all embrace Paul the same way we were welcomed into your community. Please don’t hesitate to contact us via FB, email, or phone. Much love to all!

– Janine Glennon”

VistaVino was without a doubt (and will continue to be) one of Castle Rock’s favorite restaurants. Loyal patrons have already bombarded the announcement with thanks and praise…

“Oh no! This was our favorite nicer restaurant here in CR. So bummed to hear this. Glad to hear the new owner wants it to stay similar and hope the menu continues to include our favorites. Hope the recipes were included in the sale- Your bolognese is the best I’ve had and we love so many other of the VistaVino classics as well. All the best to you!” wrote Mikaela Marie.

You can expect not much to change at VistaVino including many favorites dishes to remain.

CRJ first interviewed Janine and Michael in 2015 when they acquired the space from Uniscali.

Congratulations on the sale Michael and Janine. You’ve been a staple in the community since you opened VistaVino. While we’re sad to lose you, we’re thrilled that VistaVino will remain open and are excited to meet Chef Paul Epstine.

Castle Rock Food & Drink to Launch Live Web TV Series Featuring Local Restaurants, Bars & Pubs

The popular social media group, Castle Rock Food & Drink will kick off its live web TV series featuring local restaurants, bars, and pubs in Castle Rock on Jan 14, 2019. 

The series will be hosted by Brandon Cant from Coast2Coast Cooking in an interview/review style format. During the show, he will be tasting the food, sipping drinks, cheering on patrons, and uncovering the secrets of Castle Rock’s food & drink scene. 

“This is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” said CRJ, CEO – Sean Hakes.

“We’ve upgraded all of our technology and capabilities to ensure viewers have an incredible experience,” he added. 

Shows will air on social media on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month from Jan – May. 

Food & Drink businesses who are interested in hosting a live remote can fill out our interest form here: