Eat Well in Leadville

Breakfast and burgers and pizza, oh my!

Visiting a place that’s 10,151 feet above sea level comes with bragging rights, especially if you get out into nature while you’re there. Our 3 Things to Do in Leadville This Winter, gives you some idea of how amazing this place can be in the snow.

While Leadville may be known for the vast recreational activities in the area, there are good eats here too. I won't mention every restaurant in Leadville, but I am giving props to the places I know, from personal experience, are good.

Photo by Diana Lange

I am not exactly how sure how long they’ve been open, but we’ve been stopping in at Tennessee Pass Cafe for many years. We’ve been here for both lunch and dinner and it never disappoints. It’s the perfect lunch stop for soup and salad.

If you’re like me, you get the occasional craving for Mexican food that must be sated immediately. If this happens to you in Leadville, I recommend Casa Blanca Restaurant. It is cash-only, so come prepared and have the desire to eat great Mexican food at a good price.

Photo by Diana Lange

Leadville doesn’t have a lot of breakfast places, but City on a Hill Coffee & Espresso is the best place for cheesy breakfast burritos and excellent drip coffee. I’ve never been to Leadville without visiting City on a Hill at least once, usually twice. It’s everything a coffee shop should be, and since I hail from the Pacific Northwest, I know coffee shops.

Cookies with Altitude is also a wonderful option for breakfast. This is a real bakery and therefore they open super early. Their early opening time means that before you head out on a long trail hike or hit the slopes at nearby Ski Cooper, stop here to grab some grub.

Cookies with Altitude. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

On my most recent visit to Cookies with Altitude, I ordered the breakfast special which was biscuits and turkey gravy. I’m usually not a fan of turkey gravy but at less than $6, I had to try it. They make some of the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever eaten and I liked the turkey gravy, but I won’t lie, it’s the home-baked biscuits that make this breakfast memorable.

When you stop in, be sure to order something from the bakery case. Whether it’s a donut or other pastry, it’s all made here daily and will be scrumptious.

Burger at Pastime. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

If you're looking for a beer and burger, Pastime Bar & Cafe serves half-pound burgers that will satisfy your hamburger hankering. This place is far from fancy; there’s a pool table in the back and they often feature a band in the evening, but the Pastime has been part of the fabric of Leadville since 1938, and going here lets you become part of the town’s legendary story.

High Mountain Pie. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

High Mountain Pies is often cited as the best pizza in Colorado by fans. Pizza lovers drive great distances to indulge in one of these famous pies. I’ve been many times and I agree, High Mountain pizza is fantastic. The restaurant is tiny with three-ish tables inside, but it’s worth the wait. Order a pie-to-go and become a devotee, too. During the summer, the big backyard at High Mountain Pies becomes a gathering place for locals and tourists.

It won’t win any gourmet food awards, but eating at Quincy’s in Leadville is a must. During the week they serve filet mignon (my personal favorite) and on the weekends it’s sirloin or prime rib. This isn’t a high-end steakhouse, but it’s the most affordable steak around and the last time we dropped in, the service was wonderful.

One of my favorite aspects of Leadville is that the Wild West still lives here, and a new restaurant is proving that even the Wild West can whip up a classy dinner for diners.

Fried chicken at Treeline Kitchen. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

Treeline Kitchen is relatively new to the restaurant scene in Leadville and we’ve stopped in the last two times we’ve been in town. I love the mountain-modern feel and the incredible selection of local beer and liquor, but I especially love the food. The menu changes frequently and a local told me that she and her husband dine here at least once a month in order to try something new.

An item that’s always on the menu is the fried chicken. You can order it as a side and it’s one of the best pieces of fried chicken I’ve eaten. Also, I had the salmon special that proved Treeline Kitchen’s chef can produce succulent salmon despite being a long ways from the sea.

I would encourage you to try Treeline Kitchen on your next visit to Leadville. The staff is well-educated on the menu, so ask their opinion when you order, but the reality is, everything will be delicious.

There you have it; you may visit to run a race, hike a mountain or ski, but you can also eat well while in Leadville.

Categories: The Heidi Guide