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Old 02-02-2012, 12:49 AM
 
Location: Grand Junction
4 posts, read 49,502 times
Reputation: 85

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I have read as many posts as I am willing to sort through about people asking about the Grand Junction area and what it is like to live there. I'll give my take. This is just my opinion.

I am 30. I have lived in Grand Junction 3 years now. I also lived in Denver, grew up in the Midwest and have a bachelor's degree from a Big 10 school. I have a rather strange job and will just call myself a business professional.

Food:
Grand Junction has some diamonds in the rough. It's nothing like the amazing offerings of the Denver/Boulder area. I love great food and consider myself a foodie. The biggest flaw GJ restaurants face are stagnant menus. In a town with only a few good choices, a restaurant can be a lot of things if it simply changes its menu from time to time.

Il'Bistro Italiano - Hand down the best Food in town. The owner is a native born Italian and most of her dishes are old family recipes or her own creations. They have high end wine by the glass and the place is all about the food. Another kudos for Il'Bistro is their strong showing of a seasonal menu.

Bin 707 Food Bar closed and reopened in a new location. It reminds me of a hip restaurant in Denver. The food and drinks are awesome and is typically quite busy.

626 Rood. This place gets very mixed reviews and here is why. The prices are high for GJ. The thing is, high for GJ is normal for any city. They make a strong attempt for local/ethical food. They have a nice patio in the summer on the east side of their building so you can go have drinks after work and not get cooked by the sun. Their flaw aside from pricing is they haven't figured out their restaurant table layout. They have no way to separate the tables (some restaurants use booths, some use where the room is darker and your table is lit. Bin 707 uses lighting and background noise. Their tables are equally as close together but you don't hear the neighboring tables conversation). When I am at a nice restaurant, especially for business, I like my conversations to be private. 626 does have a menu that varies seasonally.

Le Rouge. Originally named Moulin Rouge. The owner is a sterotypical French guy. The bar staff is typically interesting and good at their job. The menu hasn't changed since I have been here. The specials are always some slight variation of the same thing. This place would be out of business in a competitive town like Denver. If someone lit a fire under the owner, it has great atmosphere and could be exceptional.

Ale House. Everyone can eat at the Ale House. Vegetarian, no problem. Steak, seafood, sushi appetizers, burgers, burritos and monster pizzas. The menu is huge. They have quite table areas, an awesome patio with a covered and uncovered section and a bar with huge TVs. The menu rarely changes though I'm not sure what else they could put on it.

Kannah Creek. Named after a creek just south of town that drains off the Grand Mesa, Kannah Creek makes great beer, their own Ginger Beer and their food specialty is Pizza. Smokers seem to love their big fire pit on the patio.

There are 2 sushi places in town. No Coast and Suehiro. I've been to No Coast twice, never been to Suehiro, though it is on my list. I think it is kind of a father/son thing where the father owns Suehiro and the son owns No Coast. No Coast has a hip atmosphere. The one thing I can't stand about a sushi place is when I walk in and it has a really strong smell of fish. It does. Its not Matsuhisha in Aspen, Sushi Den in Denver or Sushi Sasa...but we are in Grand Junction. The fish ends up being pretty good. I've only heard great things about Suehiro.

Pizza: The after biking Pizza place in Fruita is called the Hot Tomato. I've been there once 2 years ago and remember liking it a lot. Pablo's is also good.

Breakfast. Dream Cafe. It reminds me of Snooze in Denver without the hour wait. The business breakfasts in town happen there.

Coffee: There is a lot of really bad coffee in GJ. I can handle drinking any kind of coffee really. When I pay $4 for an espresso drink, I would like to think someone would put as much though into how good that drink is going to be as I would if I had a coffee shop. Roasted downtown is pretty good, and as close to a hipster coffee shop as you get. I'm on a mission to find my favorite place.

If you can handle a 1.5 hour drive to Carbondale, they have fantastic restaurants. 689 is my favorite.

Culture: A 4 hour drive to Denver. I guess I shouldn't be critical of the theater downtown. I have never been. Probably because no one I hang out with here goes. I think there is country dancing somewhere here and I have heard you can take ballroom classes with 15 other people. Art. If I was rich, I would own lots of amazing art. I would also bring Cirque De Soleil in town for myself and if other people want to come that would be great. In Grand Junction, you get to settle for a small art museum on 7th Street. There are people in town who produce good art, it just seems like it rarely makes it into public places. I see the worst art around town. If you want it though, Aspen/Carbondale and other surrounding nooks and crannies have it. I am a huge fan of our library system. All the Libraries in Colorado are linked and they will ship the book from any library to your local library. Its fantastic.

Wine/Spirits. Plum Creek is my favorite winery. I have been to most of them. Some of them are absolute swill. None of them are Far Niente, but I've never had a bad bottle from Plum Creek. There is a vodka distillery called Goat Vodka made in Palisade. It is worth drinking.

Peaches: I can't believe I am putting this on the internet, but my favorite peach is the Sun Drop. I'm not going to tell you where you can get them because there are only a few trees in town that have it. If you find the place and buy them all up before I get some, you will have bad karma until the next season. Don't ask me where my fishing spot is. I will never tell and even if I did, you probably can't get there.

Outdoors: This is the key component you must have in your life to move here and be happy. I noticed I do many more outdoor activities now. There is downhill skiing 50 minutes away at Powder horn. No lines, new owners and its cheap. Not in Colorado terms, but for $400 you get unlimited skiing and 1/2 price at Crested Butte and 3 free days and Monarch. I think a CB pass is $1100. Aspen and Vail are only 2 hours away and no traffic to deal with like the Front Range **** show. Utah is 4 hours away. They get 2x as much snow as we do. Telluride, Purgatory, Silverton, Copper, Cooper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Crested Butte and Monarch are all 3 hours or less. 10 Minutes further up the road from Powder Horn is the Nordic Center. It is a 50+km groomed ski area for Classic and Skate skiing and they get a lot of snow so trail conditions are always above average.
There is rafting near by in Glenwood Springs on the Colorado river, Aspen on the Roaring Fork (that is such an amazing name for a river)and the well-known Westwater overnight trips. There is Whitewater kayaking, fly fishing, endless amounts of hiking and Biking. GJ area is known for its mountain biking. Lunch loop is 15 minutes from downtown and offers HARD trails for those who want it. Fruita has a trail system north of town. A bit further west is Loma with great set of loops from easy to can-you-ride-off-a-5-foot-cliff-make-a-turn-through-a crack-all-on-the-side-of-a-cliff style riding. These trails connect on the Kokopelli trail to MOAB! Glenwood Springs also has hot springs which a lot of people seem to like. There is a parasailing club in Vail 2 hours away. I don't rock climb, but I hear there are tons of options near by. There an ice climbing park in Ouray about 2 hours away that is world class. There is also camping for different season close by. Pick the places in the valley at the shoulder seasons, and go on the Mesa where it is almost always 70 in the summer and plenty of lakes. I personally do not participate in motorized sports, but there are tons of snowmobiling trails on the Mesa and places to ride ATVs within 15 minutes of downtown. Lake Powell can be reached in 3 hours but I believe Page, AZ is 6-8 hours. People in GJ love lake Powell.

Vegas. This is kind of a strange add on but it is 500 miles (8 hours not speeding) by car away, and the Thursday to Sunday neon express is $130 round trip on Allegiant Air. I've heard of people getting tickets for $80 round trip when they have specials.

Housing: I still don't have this quite figured out. Want a cheap <2000 sqft house under $150,000. Check. Want a 2.4 Million dollar estate (in GJ, you can get an Estate Starting at $1mil). Check. Want 15 acres 5 minutes outside of downtown. Check. The problem is finding what you want. The downtown area has some cute houses. It also has some ugly ones. 7th Street has the old large houses, but the street is busy and some of the surrounding houses are blah. Redlands has a lot of nice subdivisions. Most of the nice subdivisions have HOAs (which makes me visually see an old lady with nothing better to do getting in your business and giving you a fine for putting the recycling bin out before 7am). It is really patchy. I really like using Zillow to find houses. It has a how-close-do-you-want-your-neighbors filter, you can exclude the horrible designs of the 1950s-80s etc. Rent is ridiculous. $1000 gets you nothing. $1200 gets you a newer 2 bedroom without a garage. $1500 might start getting you an ok house in a ok neighborhood that doesn't have something really off about it. Need cheap rent, look in Clifton. North of the freeway has a lot of redneck stuff going on and the airport. There is an F-18 squad there. They are 3 times louder than commercial planes. What I am still looking for is the artsy/liberal part of town with smaller well kept homes. In my mind I picture it being Palisade with the orchards and wineries, but there are some poorly cared for homes in Palisade.

Schools. I don't have kids, so I am about the worst person to ask, but I hear people talk. Caprock Acadamy is a charter school I know a few people I consider highly intelligent send their kids to. There is a dual immersion school as well that sounds intriguing, but I think it has a waiting list. I hear a lot of bad things about some of the schools. If I was moving here with kids, I would go do a lot of interviews before committing to a school. If your kid is G&T, that might take some work.

Politics. I love politics. I love debate and discussion. I consider myself Liberal. I think Obama should kick Biden to the curb and get Warren Buffet in there on the 2012 ticket. He only owns 76 companies. He should have time at 81 to fix the Country's fiscal problems. Fiscal responsibility is important to me. I have no problem paying my taxes as I get a lot for them and know compromise is an important part of living in a society. We live in an amazing country where opportunities do exist for the vast majority of us and it is quite safe. Education is my most prized asset and I think nothing is more important for the youth of this country than education. I'm personally not religious, but never mind if others are as long as they don't push it on me. I am pro gun. The two thing I have noticed about politics in GJ are this. 1. Liberals tend to be closet Liberals (me included). 2. I know more pro gun liberals in GJ than anywhere else. Telling people you are Liberal in GJ won't necessarily get others to admit that as well. You typically have to know people well to dive into that conversation. Unfortunately, the Drudge Report seems to be the main source of news for people in GJ. Colorado Public Radio is mine.

Business. I love everything there is about business. I love strategy. I love figuring things out. I really love crushing my competition and that is what I work to do everyday. GJ doesn't have a lot of glaring business opportunities, but it has some. If you are an entrepreneur and really take a pulse of the town accurately, you could make a go at it. For example a martini bar with finger food is a horrible idea. I would come and maybe 30 other people in town. A whisky distillery with a bar, tasting room and restaurant with good burgers could make it. The problem is mainly whether the opportunities you see match what you want to be doing.

Dating scene. I brought my girlfriend with me so thankfully I haven't had the opportunity to date here. I go out once a week at least and notice the pickings are slim. I think the college students get out of Dodge when they graduate, and the Divorced/red neck/letting things slide flock in. Most of my friends are married or divorced.

Shopping. For guys at least, it sucks. Options are Internet, Denver or do it when you vacation somewhere. When the best store in town is The Buckle (don't get me wrong I like their jeans). There is a women's shoe store downtown my female friends seem to like, but in general it seems like guys shop at Cabella's for clothes. The good news is if you have any fashion sense in this town you are dressed better than everyone else. As far as a hair cut I have no idea. Thankfully work gets me to Denver enough I get it cut there. I tried three places and they all did a horrible job.

Groceries: Thankfully there is an option other than the normal chains called Vitamin Cottage. It is technically a chain, but they have a good organic selection and the store is twice as big as it was a year ago. There are lot of local fruit stands in the summer and an over priced farmer's market downtown on Thursdays. Sometimes I want to just stand at the exit door and ask where people live to solve my housing location questions as they are more likely to be my people than those shopping at King Soopers. Paonia seems to be the source of most locally grown vegetables. Cedaredge is where the apples come from and Palisade is a big source of fruits and vegetables.

That's all I got. GJ isn't Denver. If you move here, I would plan on being open to new things. If you have season tickets to the symphony or ballet somewhere, don't move here. If you want 300 days of sun, awesome skiing and outdoor activities and can come with a job in hand, head on over. Email me or post if you can think of something I missed.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:27 AM
 
Location: Canon City, Colorado
1,331 posts, read 4,413,601 times
Reputation: 675
I really love your post!!! The part about the peaches and karma cracked me up!!!...You took great care in covering all bases!!!
Just wondering,...why do you believe that restaurants need to change up their menu?? I get favorite things at certain places and would be upset if it were being changed!! Just asking!! Thanks for the great post!!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:56 AM
Status: "Rocktober...well that was fast. :-(" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
10,285 posts, read 10,442,913 times
Reputation: 13239
Quote:
Originally Posted by SheridanL View Post
I really love your post!!! The part about the peaches and karma cracked me up!!!...You took great care in covering all bases!!!
Just wondering,...why do you believe that restaurants need to change up their menu?? I get favorite things at certain places and would be upset if it were being changed!! Just asking!! Thanks for the great post!!!!!!!!!
In bigger cities where there is fierce competition amongst restaurants, they change their menus on a regular basis to stay competitive and "ahead." I have eaten in restaurants in San Francisco that the menus literally have the date printed on it, suggesting a new menu is issued every day. In a smaller town where there is less competition in kind, I would imagine this would not be necessary.
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:38 AM
 
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
2,970 posts, read 6,605,182 times
Reputation: 5679
Great post. Since you like Six89 try his other restaurant in Glenwood called The Pullman, it's more casual but still has creative dishes.
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:12 AM
 
Location: New Market, MD
2,003 posts, read 2,449,358 times
Reputation: 2503
There used to be a Nepalese restaurant there as well? Is it there anymore?
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:20 AM
 
Location: Grand Junction
4 posts, read 49,502 times
Reputation: 85
Wow. I can't believe how many people read this in the last 6 hours. Let me answer all the above posts.

Why do I think restaurants need to change their menus...well, because of how little restaurant variety there is, it is the best way to offer customers variety. If I eat at a restaurants every month, it feels different if the menu changes. A good chef in my mind could have a truck show up and drop off food and they could make an amazing meal of it. Its good for customers so good for them. I do also think keeping the favorites is a good idea. Well thought out nightly specials help too. My favorite restaurant in Boulder offers a 5 course meal with only 3 options each night per course. Sometimes great focus on a limited number of items allows a chef to make superior food.

I'm on a first name basis at the Pullman. Its good and will relieve homesickness of anyone from Pennsylvania as the head chef is from there and the menu items reflect it.

I've been to the Nepalese restaurant once. It is actually really good. Sorry I forgot to include it.

My favorite Mexican restaurant is Dos Hombres. Kind of standard fare Mexican food but they have the best Margarita. I think they call it the Perfect Margarita (as they have about 7 different margaritas) and it is the one made with fresh squeezed lime and orange juice. Fiesta Guadalajara has one called the Cadillac which is very strong, though Tequila's in Glenwood Springs also has a Cadillac Margarita that is so strong I get tipsy of half of one.
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:54 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,091,437 times
Reputation: 9065
Quote:
Originally Posted by local_h View Post
My favorite Mexican restaurant is Dos Hombres. Kind of standard fare Mexican food but they have the best Margarita. I think they call it the Perfect Margarita (as they have about 7 different margaritas) and it is the one made with fresh squeezed lime and orange juice. Fiesta Guadalajara has one called the Cadillac which is very strong, though Tequila's in Glenwood Springs also has a Cadillac Margarita that is so strong I get tipsy of half of one.
Most of the OP's first post is pretty accurate about Grand Junction. I disagree with this post, though. Both Dos Hombres and Tequila's basically serve California/Tex Mex slop for food. Of course, I'm a lover of authentic southern Colorado/New Mexican food and you can't find that anywhere in Grand Junction. The slop Tequila's and Dos Hombres serves satisfies the tourists and Midwest transplants, I guess, but I can't stand it. I make and eat my own.
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,196,177 times
Reputation: 3316
You did a great job of summarizing Grand Junction and I can't believe I'm going to say this.....but....it makes me miss it (a little). I'm actually glad I can look back now and have some fond memories of GJ, because at the time I was living there, I really didn't like it (with the exception of the outdoors). I don't miss the restaurant scene though, it's way better here in Bend, Oregon!

Enjoy those peaches! That's something that we don't find in the PNW (well, at least any that are good).
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,754 posts, read 16,447,829 times
Reputation: 9287
jazzlover wrote:
The slop Tequila's and Dos Hombres serves satisfies the tourists and Midwest transplants, I guess, but I can't stand it. I make and eat my own.
DITTO! I live within easy walking distance of Dos Hombres, yet I've only eaten there 2 or 3 times in almost 6 years. Each meal ( a big stretch of the word! ) was disappointing. My wife grew up in Arizona so she knows how to make Mexican food that it closer to authentic Mexican food, and it is nothing at all like the bland food served at the local Mexican restaurants. For slightly better tasting food there's a small restaurant in Mesa ( Mesa Grande Restaurant ) that serves palatable Mexican food. Not sure how I'd like the food there if I wasn't half starved from hiking or snowshoeing every time I've eaten there, but under those conditions...it's palatable.

Last edited by CosmicWizard; 02-02-2012 at 09:54 AM..
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:02 PM
 
20,304 posts, read 37,784,136 times
Reputation: 18081
Great post by Local-H, +5 for him.
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