Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place

Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place is really the type of restaurant Boulder has been waiting for.

Shine BoulderVia Shine Boulder

Owned and operated by three sisters – triplets Jessica, Jennifer and Jill Emich they all provide a wonderful balance of care and thoughtfulness in their food, events and front of the house. My heart always skips a beat for family-run restaurants because you feel the palpable soul that goes into every aspect of their business.

tumblr_static_sisters5Via Shine Boulder

Open since late 2011, Shine has held their own in this notoriously transient space on 13th and Spruce in downtown Boulder. Almost cavernous, the space has a large open dining area, a private event room, a large kitchen and a brewery in back. Shine has managed to create a light, evocative space with ethereal murals and art on the walls hanging throughout the restaurant. Their open event space hosts the likes of guest speakers, private gatherings or yoga classes and it’s in the heart of downtown. Boulder much?

Interior Shine Boulder

Shine is an entirely gluten-free kitchen and restaurant serving “conscious comfort food”. Most of their food is locally sourced from organic farmers, all their gluten-free breads are made onsite and community is a big piece of what they do there from giving back, to hosting fundraisers and supporting local.

Since what they’re doing is pretty different and groundbreaking they’ve racked up quite the accolades – some of which I never knew. They’re the only female owned and operated brewery in the state, the only restaurant with gluten-free beer on tap in the state, the only restaurant where potions are brewed and bottled on site from their own recipes and Colorado’s only place for herbal beer.

The Food:

Their food is entirely gluten-free, with options for vegetarians and vegans too.

I recently came to notice their brunch menu, which is often overlooked when considering who does great brunch downtown. Opening at 10 AM on weekends for brunch, you might want to try their gluten-free pancakes or avocado hollandaise egg benedict on gluten-free house made biscuits (both shown below).

Shine Brunchgluten free pancakces at shine

I love their beet hummus with house sprouted quinoa, tabouli, housemade flatbread and flax crackers. Another unique dish are their jackfruit soft tacos with house cultered local tomato salsa, lime infused quinoa, sour cream and black beans. With paleo being a big focus on their food, you can also find the likes of 100% grass-fed beef or Colorado lamb on the menu.

A huge benefit is that they’re the only entirely gluten-free restaurant in downtown Boulder and one of the few in the area. I bring friends that aren’t gluten-free and they would never know. The food may be a little different than your run of the mill, but it’s clean, healthy and delicious.

Portions and Elixirs:

One of Shine’s more interesting components are their elixir and potions which can be found at the back of their folder-like menu. Made in house by Andy Bottagaro in his “lab” in the restaurant, they have been popular as they sell 100 a day! These are things you can’t quite find anywhere else in Boulder. Some customers venture in and are curious by the title and their beneficial qualities, while others come specifically for their potion to help their specific mood that day.

andy and the sistersAndy and the sisters – via Shine Boulder

Along the top of the bar you can see all the potion bottles when you walk in.


I love the Fairy Bubbles potion ($6.75) which is a merry mix of hibiscus, lemon, pomegranate juice and honey with a “magical tincture.” The potion is for joy, mirth and fanciful states of being. The drinks are sometimes pricy but the hand crafted quality and herbalist background makes for a worthwhile venture.

A great new addition is that they’re soon making these available for purchase, so you can take them home with you and enjoy in the comfort of your home. They’ll be bottling up some other Shine favorites for guests to enjoy, which you can find at the front of the restaurant.


Upon a recent visit to Shine, I learned during slower hours in the afternoon, the space is open to have meetings or even enjoy a drink, while working (they offer complimentary wireless). They also provide business lunches in their event space, for no extra charge. I’ve been to many events (and even dance parties) at Shine and I think it’s a great space to host. If you’re interested in learning more about their events they always have an updated calendar of live music, classes and more.


If you’re looking for healthy gluten-free food, a warm environment and perhaps trying something a little off the beaten path whether it’s their potions, live music or unique events, you should head to Boulder’s own Shine.

Learn More: | @ShineBoulder | | 2027 13th Street


Note: Photos either by Grace(full) Plate or via Shine Boulder’s website as noted.