By Anica Padilla

(CBS4) – Esquire Magazine has named three Colorado restaurants on its list of “100 Restaurants America Can’t Afford to Lose” during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article featured Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, the Silver Grill Café in Fort Collins, and Alpino Vino in Telluride.

Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder (file photo credit: CBS)

“What if those places were to vanish?” author Jeff Gordinier asked. “Such a prospect has been a real threat all year, with the relentless tragedy of COVID-19 leaving many American restaurants, even established classics, on the brink of bankruptcy.”

“We’re raising a toast to these spots around the country—old and new, scruffy and spiffy—because if we lose them, we lose who we are.”

Frasca Food and Wine is an Italian restaurant on Pearl Street in Boulder.

Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder

In the Frasca kitchen, pre-pandemic. (file photo credit: CBS)

“Don’t let the white truffles and caviar scare you off. Frasca may look exclusive if you’re peeking in the window, but inside it’s a house party. Wine guru and manager Bobby Stuckey is a captain of hospitality in the truest, most soulful sense: He makes everyone feel welcome and loved,” Gordinier wrote.

Silver Grill Café is a buzzing diner in Old Town Fort Collins that’s known for its hearty breakfast and lunch fare — and legendary cinnamon rolls.

“I have been around the world, people, and I am here to tell you that I firmly believe that the Silver Grill, founded in 1933, cooks up the best breakfast in America,” Gordinier stated.

“Everyone talks about the cinnamon rolls but I would board a plane right now for the potatoes, which are crisp and fluffy at the same time, as if hash browns and home fries had finally gotten over their bickering and made a baby.”

Alpino Vino is the highest elevation fine-dining restaurant in North America — at 11,966 feet — just below Lift 14 at the Telluride Ski Resort.

“Some restaurants are worth the hike, literally. Alpino Vino is a 30-ish seat Italian restaurant burrowed into a cliff way above Telluride (a magical place in and of itself),” the article states. “Alpino Vino serves truly perfect food, both cozy and refined, and has one of the most amazing wine lists I’ll ever experience.”

Gordinier suggested readers consider making donations to Southern Smoke and the Lee Initiative and other organizations that are helping restaurant workers survive the COVID-19 crisis.

“We also hope you’ll raise a toast to these spots around the country—old and new, scruffy and spiffy—that we consider restaurants that America can’t afford to lose. Because if we lose them, we lose who we are.”

Anica Padilla