The art of a proper dinner date is much easier to master than most Colorado College students realize. Good food and good conversation are all you need for a successful date experience, yet our generation is all too reluctant to even take a crack at it. Whether it’s due to an aversion to spending real world dollars, the fear of getting too serious with a significant other or a straight-up dependency on Benji’s steak night, CC students are far more likely to opt for an on-campus date rather than a night on the town. It’s a damn shame, especially considering how many great restaurants are right here in Colorado Springs.
For those of us who are willing to swim against the tide of lame dates or anyone simply looking for a good meal, here’s a list of five unique restaurants with impressive menus and reasonable prices.
Disclaimer: The restaurants listed below are all located at least a mile from campus, so you’ll need access to a car in order to check them out. You can still find great places to eat in the downtown area, like Shuga’s, The Rabbit Hole, and The Skirted Heifer a.k.a. the closest thing to foreplay you’ll ever experience. These are usually swarming with Colorado College students, however, making your date about as private as The Preserve.
Located a few blocks from downtown Colorado Springs, this brand new restaurant and bar serves up unique spins on classics for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. 503w’s menu features locally-sourced ingredients like Colorado beef and craft beer. Spice up your love life with some garam masala street wings, or give into your more primal desires and order the bone-in pork shanks with hoisin sauce and mint.
If you’re afraid of commitment, tapas are the ideal choice for a meal. This Old Colorado City joint offers these Spanish-inspired small plates so you don’t have to worry about having to pick just one thing to order. Try something traditional like dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice) or go for something more adventuresome, like the bison carpaccio. TAPAteria has an excellent selection of vegetarian tapas as well.
Just around the block from TAPAteria is 2 South, a farm-to-table dinner spot with outdoor seating and an extensive wine list. The menu changes seasonally, so there’s always a risk that you’ll fall in love with an item and return later only to find it has moved on. Current offerings include ahi tuna with puffed quinoa and baby kale, as well as a flatbread topped with butternut squash, caramelized onions, gorgonzola and pine nuts.
There’s something for everyone at The Wobbly Olive, a restaurant that caters to vegans, gluten-free eaters, and carnivores alike. Trendy dishes like gourmet ramen with smoked jalapeño or chicken & waffles with lavender honey make this spot a must-try. “There is no love more sincere than the love of food and drink” is the motto of this restaurant, so even if you’re too scared to drop the L-bomb on your steady hookup, The Wobbly Olive will always be there for you.
Chef Brother Luck is the mastermind behind the elevated street food here, and crafts a new menu each season. The item descriptions are a mouthful, with dishes such as poached pear (with chevre vinaigrette, honey, endive and flaxseed granola), or beef (with bacon compote, cheddar, pickles, pork belly and fries). The menu itself is a conversation-starter to give you something to talk about with your blind date, making Brother Luck the ultimate wingman.
The stigma surrounding dinner dates probably isn’t going away anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t check out these spots anyways. Not all favors are of the adult variety, after all. Treat your friend to a birthday dinner. Take your favorite professor out to eat as a gesture of thanks. Reward yourself with a dank post-midterm feast. When you’ve got to cover three meals a day, the possibilities are endless.