By Matt Minich
At first glance, Backbone Gourmet Grub & Brewhouse seems an unlikely choice for Loveland’s best new restaurant. Housed on the La Quinta Inn and Suites complex at the mouth of the Big Thompson Canyon, the restaurant is half the size of most family dining spots, and actually shares a building with one of the hotel’s event facilities.
Just past the hostess stand, however, is the product of almost a year of planning, debate, and hard work by owners Hamid and Janice Eslan, general manager Gary White and a cadre of chefs and restaurateurs hailing from all across the Front Range.
The décor – for which credit is given to Janice Eslan – is muted but authentic, and is designed around a spectacular metal sculpture of the restaurant’s namesake: Devil’s Backbone.
The sculpture, built by a local artist who chose to remain anonymous, is inspired by a commitment to local ambiance and flavor that is at the heart of Backbone. The restaurant has paired with Loveland’s Grimm Brothers brewery, which offers its beers on tap at Backbone and plan, in the near future, to brew some specialty batches at the restaurant itself.
“That was the thing that really put us over the top,” White said. “It was Grimm Brothers.” The partnership was the final piece of a culinary puzzle, he said. For six months before the restaurant’s opening day last November, White and the Eslans consulted with experts all across Colorado to plot the course for their new restaurant. After considering everything from Mexican to Italian, they settled on the obvious choice – a classic burger and beer joint.
“It’s just what we thought would work best for this area – what Loveland didn’t have,” White said.
The menu at Backbone is full of comfort food staples, from burgers and nachos to gourmet macaroni and cheese. Prices run low – a burger will run you $8.99 – and every item is of the kind that can be washed down with a Grimm Brothers brew. In the humble opinion of this reviewer (who, along with a hungry photographer, was thorough to a fault), the quality of everything from appetizers to dessert is well worth the price.