An Evening in Louisville at Zucca and The Huck

A lot of people joke that Boulder is a bubble or call it: The People’s Republic of Boulder. I get it. I live and work downtown. Personally, I still love getting out. I go to Denver at least two times a month, in the Winter I’m up in the mountains many weekends and throughout the year I’m cruising around the surrounding towns around Boulder (check out Lacy Boggs’ post on the top restaurants surrounding Boulder). There’s so much Colorado has to offer. I would never put my nose up and stick to Boulder. How provincial.

A favorite town of mine outside of Boulder that’s filled with character is Lousiville, which sits 6 miles East of Boulder. With a town of 19,000 it’s no sleeper suburb. CNN recently ranked Louisville as the #1 place to live across their “America’s Best Small Towns List”.

I love grubbing at Empire Lounge, Lucky Pie, Taj Mahal3 and Lulu’s BBQ to name a few favorites in Louisville. And I admit, there’s still a lot more to explore but I try to make a conscious effort as I have a to-do list of restaurants I continually cross off my list.

Two recent visits in Louisville were invitations we had to Zucca and The Huckleberry (commonly referred to as The Huck). Both are owned by Lenny and Sara Martinelli who run Three Leaf Concepts and own a handful of other local favorite restaurants, a catering business and a farm that helps provide produce for their restaurants.

ZUCCA: We went to happy hour at Zucca, a rustic Italian-looking tavern that is comfortable, casual and inviting. Zucca has an extensive wine list (100% Italian) and I noted the map of Italy, showing which wines were represented on their list.

Our attentive waiter told us that the calamari was their most popular happy hour dish. Listening to his guiding advice, we ordered it. The calamari is fried and comes with peperonccino, cherry tomatoes and a delicious white balsamic sauce. This was my favorite dish of the evening.

We ordered the house red and white respectively and enjoyed a few other dishes like their Caesar Insalata and Bruschetta della Pesca with grilled ciabatta, fresh peaches, La Tur and toasted nuts.

Although the presentation was beautiful the Suppli al Telfono, crispy sausage and mozzarella stuffed risotto balls¬†were a bit dry and was the only dish I didn’t finish.

Zucca offers $25 3 course prixe-fixe Italian regional dinners every Wednesday for the month (changes monthly). For October, the region is Lombardy. They recommend reservations for these dinners.

The things that stood out over the evening was their diverse and lengthy happy hour menu, ensuring there are options for everyone. The dishes range from $3-5 making for a true happy hour deal. For dinner entree’s the dishes are reasonably priced from $11-21. The restaurant is cozy and comfortable and in the warmer months, their patio right on downtown Louisville is great for people watching and enjoying food.

The Huckleberry:

One block up from Zucca is The Huckleberry is a local favorite often winning awards for best brunch and best restaurant in Louisville. Filled with country, Southern charm the restaurant sits in a historic building that dates back to 1894. Holding strong by offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and even an afternoon tea they are open around the clock.

Although breakfast is a choice of many FourSquare diners (see tips here), we were there for dinner and it’s obvious it’s a family, neighborhood joint. Families were out on a Saturday night and in one of the front rooms there was a family party/event.

I love how there are nooks and crannies with distinctive character throughout the “house” restaurant and the front room with the coffee bar is a great place to grab an espresso or tea throughout the day.

The entree’s at dinner are also reasonably priced with no dish marked over $16, while most of their salads and burgers are right in the $10 range.

The pigs in a blanket with homemade mustard ($6) stood out as a fun and unique dish, so we went the fried route and started with those as an appetizer. The “blanket” pastry was fluffy and the mustard was stand out.

For entree’s it’s rare to see fish and chips in Colorado so we ordered that to see how it fared and the braised short ribs with Hatch chili sauce, roasted Three Leaf Farm summer squash, tomatillo salsa and cotija cheese. Both dishes met our expectations and we would definitely order them again.

For dessert we ordered espresso and fresh made blackberry pie. A perfect way to end the evening with comfort pie.

A newer addition to The Huckleberry is their home style Blue Plate Specials available throughout the week Monday through Wednesday evenings. Monday is grass-fed meatloaf, Tuesday is savory chicken and dumplings and Wednesday is fork tender pot roast.

As I mentioned the coffee bar and bakery when you enter, their bakery is a big piece of their business. They do holiday pies, cakes and specialty pastries that are also available for walk-in purchasing. Since Dushanbe is one Three Leaf’s restaurants, they also have many of those loose leaf teas at The Huckleberry. Like we noted a party in the front of the restaurant, they often host private parties and catering events, as well.

I was touched by The Huck’s ambiance, kind service and interesting food options that are reasonably priced. Their brunch is standout and it’s just one of those places that offers something for everyone in their welcoming environment.

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