Travelers near and far have long flocked to Boulder, Colorado. Not only for its epic scenery, but for its awesome food scene, as well, thanks in large part to Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey. Stuckey has had his hand in many culinary projects around our vibrant city, and has played a significant role in keeping Boulder’s restaurant scene alive through the COVID-19 pandemic. Stuckey has also focused his efforts on creating a national restaurant coalition that advocates for locally owned dining establishments, particularly during pandemic-related shut downs. Here’s all that he’s accomplished.
A Boulder staple, this fine-dining restaurant was originally inspired by Friulian “Frascas”, or neighborhood gathering places. In the North, agriculture and vinting are inherited industries that showcase Italy’s rich biodiversity. The small towns throughout Friuli are equally steeped in tradition, focusing on community, hospitality, and good food. Frascas are local gathering spots where farmers, ranchers, and other locals stop by at the end of a long day to share a meal and a bottle of wine.
In this same sentiment, Frasca was formed. Bobby Stuckey and his partners blended their extensive culinary background with a deep knowledge (and love) of wine to create a local gathering place where the focus is on food and friends. During COVID shut downs, Frasca’s owners got creative by setting up Yurts and Alpenglobes outside to accommodate diners and entice Boulderites out of their homes for safe, fun nights around town. Frasca continues to lead the charge of innovation and foster stability throughout our city’s restaurant scene.
Stuckey and his team have a knack for capturing the authentic Italian spirit. Step inside Pizzeria Locale and you’ll certainly feel as if you’ve entered a charming Napoletana eatery. Quality, authentic ingredients decorate hand-tossed pizza crust and the wood burning oven adds a certain doughy scent that permeates the air. The open dining space inspires a buzzing energy while its bar is often full of locals grabbing a pint after a run.
Take out from Pizzeria Locale continued throughout COVID-19 shut downs and now the restaurant is back open to 25% seating capacity. The restaurant has been able to keep its employees and remain open. Diners are sure to spot Stuckey bussing tables and chatting with regulars.
The James Beard-award winning team behind Frasca curated this Denver-based restaurant to represent all the best elements of Italian-style dining. Tavernetta has gained a cult-like following, and despite COVID shut downs, remains a bustling, successful dining establishment in the heart of the Mile High City. Now open at 25% capacity, diners eager for handmade pasta clamor to this charming ristorante.
Although this kitchen and wine bar is temporarily closed, Sunday Vinyl hopes to reopen its doors soon and welcome patrons back to its Denver location. This restaurant and bar is set apart by something other than its incredible food and extensive wine selection – vinyl records take center stage each evening. Curated selections are paired with each evening’s seasonal plates for a total sensory experience. Stay tuned to check out this special restaurant when it opens back up.
While not a dining establishment, Stuckey has played an instrumental role in securing jobs and pay for restaurant industry employees through the Independent Restaurant Coalition. Stuckey founded this coalition in part to reduce the impact that COVID has had on local establishments, but also as a way of shining the spotlight on what many call the lifeblood of our country – the small business.
Local restaurants perform a vital role in Boulder. They employee thousands, connect us with our neighbors, support area agriculture, and provide a vibrancy to the downtown area that would be severely lacking if not for cafes, eateries, restaurants, and bars. Stuckey has gained national attention and praise for his efforts to pass the RESTAURANTS Act, which would provide aid to over 11 million restaurants and save even more jobs.
Bobby Stuckey is emblematic of what makes our city and our state so wonderful. His entrepreneurial, curious spirit led to the invention of some of Boulder’s greatest restaurants that have long inspired diners, hospitality industry employees, wine lovers, and travel enthusiasts to share life through good food, great conversation, and delicious wine.
As the world continues to careen toward eighty-hour work weeks, virtual realities, and fast-paced experiences, we need to remember that life is meant to be savored, not scarfed. Memories are made in the slow spaces between jobs, chores, and errands. They are made when we slip into a familiar restaurant on a cold evening and are greeted by a friendly face. They are made when we share real food, sip wine slowly, and watch the sun dip below the horizon. Stuckey, his restaurants, and his mission remind us where to place value – in each other. Learn more about Stuckey’s work, his restaurants, and his work for our community, here.