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Last updated on December 1, 2022 by Wandering our World

Previously known as the ‘Elk Hunting Capital of the World’, Craig, CO has done a lot to grow from its humble, small-town beginnings.

That change is most noticeable in the dining and culinary experiences that has been added to over the years. This place now has some of the most extraordinary restaurants, bars, and cafes that will leave any visitor wanting more.

So, whether you’re here for a holiday or just passing through, we’ve put together some of the best restaurants in Craig, CO, so you have the best options to choose from at your fingertips! Bon Appetit.

Chef cooking in kitchen
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+

The Best Restaurants In Craig, CO: Food Worth Waiting For!

1. The Sizzling Pickle Eatery and Lounge

From Mexican treats to American favorites, this restaurant has an expansive menu, a colorful,  bright ambiance, and friendly staff. 

Sometimes a restaurant doesn’t need to have been around for decades to make it into the hearts of the community, sometimes all it takes is a few years of opening its doors and offering good food, great service, and amazing ambiance for a town to embrace a new place and call it home. Such is the case with The Sizzling Pickle Eatery and Lounge.

The décor is a cross between a restaurant, a bar, and a diner. The combination works because all the good parts of each have been taken and showcased in The Sizzling Pickle Eatery and Lounge.

Done up in green and orange, this colorful eatery shows the right way to use bold colors in your interior and make them work, creating a brand identity that everyone associates with what has become one of the best restaurants in Craig, CO in recent years.

Serving Mexican cuisine as well as American favorites, you’ll be spoilt for choice at this restaurant but do what the locals do and order their absolute hot sellers. These include their burgers, their wraps, and their sandwiches. Apart from this, if you’re in the mood for some sweet treats, their shakes, sundaes, and fried cheesecake all come highly recommended.

The Sizzling Pickle Eatery and Lounge is closed early on during the week on Sundays and Mondays, opening midweek on Tuesday to Saturday from 3 pm to 9 pm, so make sure you go during one of the days that it’s open!

Address: 465 Yampa Ave, Craig, CO.

Burgers on board display
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/karandaev

2. Vallarta’s Mexican Restaurant

Authentic Mexican cuisine served in a traditional-themed restaurant with a picturesque outdoor seating area.

Every town has a favorite Mexican food place that serves flavorful Mexican delights, has a festive ambiance, and brings a smile to everyone’s face with their service. That’s exactly what Vallarta’s Mexican Restaurant means to the locals in Craig, CO. Known to be a popular and busy spot, its local popularity shows how good the restaurant actually is.

Vallarta’s interior is a visual spectacle to behold, with rust, yellow and blue walls, and big bright windows. It does a fantastic job merging traditional ornaments and decorations into elements of interest, not only on the walls but on shelves all over the restaurant, making it a proud celebration of Mexican culture and community. It also has a lovely outdoor seating area that can be used if the weather permits.

Their burritos, enchiladas, and seafood are the town’s most popular menu items. Locals highly rate their vegetarian dishes as well, so if you are vegan or vegetarian and want to eat great food then this is a great spot.

Besides this, their flan, Sopapilla, and fried ice cream are the perfect finishers for any meal, so make sure you save plenty of space for dessert.

With large serving sizes and a great selection of desserts, it’s better to show up to the place super hungry to enjoy all that the establishment has to offer, skipping lunch might even be a good idea! They also have a large beverage menu and their margaritas are very popular so get some to enjoy with dinner.

Vallarta’s Mexican Restaurant is open every day of the week from Monday to Thursday 11 am to 9:30 pm and on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 10 pm. On Sunday it closes half an hour early and is open from 11 am to 8:30 pm, so make sure you check the schedule before planning a visit.

Address: 2705 W Victory Way, Craig, CO

3. Carelli’s Pizzeria

A classic, local Italian place with mouthwatering pizzas and pasta, great staff, and community spirit!

If you’ve been craving some old-fashioned authentic Italian food then a visit to Carelli’s Pizzeria will solve all your worries.

Not only do they make food that’s absolutely delicious but its unforgettable ambiance and professional staff turn every evening out into a night of celebration. So, make sure you add it to your travel itinerary because this restaurant is unmissable!

The interior is whimsical and magical from decorative elements hanging from the ceiling and mounted to the wall – the place has a lot of character. It also has big windows letting in a lot of light and plants in every corner, making the quaint little eatery feel warm and welcoming.

Their use of tiny twinkling fairy lights also adds a nice touch of sophistication to an otherwise traditional lighting setup. All in all, great attention to detail has been paid when setting the restaurant up and it shows!

With tasty pizzas, scrumptious pasta, and mesmerizing Strombolis, you’ll have a great time testing all the treats the place has to offer. There can be a wait time between ordering and getting your food as this is one of the most popular restaurants in Craig, CO, but it’ll definitely be worth it once your food shows up and you start eating.

The staff are also courteous and friendly too, and they’d love to tell you the day’s special if you ask them so make sure you do!

Carelli’s Pizzeria is closed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, re-opening on Wednesday to Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, so make sure you check their schedule before making any plans to visit!

Address: 465 Yampa Ave Craig, CO.

wood fired pizza on table
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/JulyProkopiv

4. The Op Bar and Grill

Popular local hangout serving classic American cuisine with a great outdoor seating area.  

Not many small-town restaurants can say that they’ve been in business nearly three decades but The Op Bar and Grill can because it has been a part of Craig’s culinary heritage for that long.

Their remarkable service, spectacular food, and warm ambiance are rare in the business and that’s what makes them stand apart from many other restaurants in Craig, CO.

The interior is amongst the most memorable ones we’ve ever seen from a bar! From life-size armor knights to storks, bears, and motorcycles hanging off the walls, the zany and interesting collection of memorabilia and relics the place has added to over the years adds to the allure and charm of the place. It’s an ideal place to take pictures and lots of them to cherish over the years, so make sure your phone is fully charged before going!

They also have a lovely outdoor area that you can make use of if the weather permits.

The food served is a great mix of traditional dishes you’d find at a bar like wings and burgers as well as things you’d devour at a restaurant like soups and sandwiches. Whatever you’re in the mood for, this little eatery probably will be able to whip it up! Plus, they have a bunch of daily specials that the regulars love to order so make sure you read about those on the menu too.

The Op Bar and Grill is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, it opens on Wednesday through Saturday from 8 am to 9 pm. On Sundays, it’s open from 11 am to 8 pm. So, don’t worry there’s plenty of time to make it to one of the oldest and best restaurants in Craig, CO. 

Address: 534 E Victory Way Craig, CO.

Beer and burger display
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/NatashaPhoto

5. Aroi Thai

Traditional Thai food, housed in a modern warehouse, with mindblowing flavors and efficient staff.

Adding some culinary diversity to its dining-out options is one of the best Thai restaurants in Craig, CO. Aroi Thai is a traditional Thai eatery serving some aromatic and flavorful treats that will definitely tantalize your tastebuds. So, if you want something exotic for dinner when you’re traveling, look no further than Aroi Thai.

The interior of the place is very modern and chic. The restaurant is housed in a warehouse that opens up into a trendy open seating area that has chairs in the restaurant’s color combination of black and red. It also has exposed ceilings showcasing warm, bright fairy lights that add warmth to the place.

The most fascinating detail is that their kitchen is inside an actual shipping container, which is absolutely wild but totally goes with the vibe that they have going on! Centerpieces on every table are also a great touch that the place should be commended for.

Their Massaman Curry, Tom Yum soup, spring rolls, and Thai tea are absolute winners in the eyes of the locals, so we’d order those if we were you. Also, they offer Thai ice cream that is very popular so make sure you order some to end the perfect meal on the best note. You’ll probably be back for seconds since there’s so much to try!

Aroi Thai is closed Sundays and Mondays and is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 11 am to 9 pm. So, make sure you visit later on during the week to enjoy your time there.

Address: 1589 West Victory Way, Craig, CO.

beef pad thai and chicken satay dinner viewed from above
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/rez-art

6. Cool Water Grille

Family-friendly restaurant serving breakfast and lunch delights in an awesome ambiance with a separate kids’ menu

If you’re looking for a place that the entire family can enjoy, then Cool Water Grille has what it takes to be a success. Whether you have picky eaters or health-conscious people in your party, this establishment will cater to everyone’s tastes making it a unique, hidden gem that everyone should try at least once.

The inside of the eatery is simple and clean. With seafood-related thematic elements hanging from the walls and plenty of light coming in from huge bay windows. With multiple rooms to sit in as well as bar-style seating, there will always be room for you at Cool Water Grille. This cozy restaurant will definitely furrow deep into your heart, making you remember it fondly when you reach back home.

Since it only opens for breakfast and lunch, its breakfast menu is something that all the locals speak very highly of. So, try their ‘house special’ menu items as well as their pancakes because those are the top sellers.

Apart from those, their burgers and sandwiches are also crowd-pullers. No matter what you end up eating, it’s made fresh, with locally sourced ingredients, and from scratch, so you’re in good hands.

Cool Water Grille is open every day from 5 am to 2 pm, making it one of the best breakfast and lunch restaurants in Craig, CO, especially on days when other places on this list are closed.

Address: 337 W Victory Way, Ste. 2, Craig, CO. 

Pancakes with banana, walnut and caramel.
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Lilechka75

7. 518 Wine Bar

An upscale wine bar done up in a 1920s theme with live music, drinks, and snacks, perfect for date night.

Ever been to a speakeasy-esque wine bar? If not then you’re in for a real treat because Craig is home to one of the most popular wine bars in the region. So, if you’re looking for a reason to celebrate or if you’ve been postponing date night for a while, then 518 Wine Bar is just the place you were looking for.

The interior is sophisticated and trendy, making it the perfect reason to get all dressed up. From its dark and moody décor to its velvet furniture and wooden bar, everything goes with the 1920s theme that the bar radiates. It’s a great place to take pictures and make memories, so make sure you bring your camera with you. They also have live music sometimes showcasing local talent – you don’t want to miss that! 

The wine and drink menu is very comprehensive, and they serve sweet wines, ales, beers, and other brews, so if you’re looking to have a good time while visiting Craig then you’ll have the best evening here at 518 Wine Bar.

They also serve snacks and daily specials from a menu that changes every day, so talk to your server and they’ll let you know what they have on hand. It really is a great idea and a splendid place, so make sure you chalk it in so you don’t miss out on experiencing the local nightlife.

518 Wine Bar is open only on selected days of the week. On Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 pm to 9 pm and on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 pm to 10 pm. So, make sure you call ahead and see if it’s open, or simply check its schedule before planning a visit.

Address: 518 Yampa Ave, Craig, CO (located in the back of The Find, Co.)

wine glasses
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/AV-Photo

8. JW Snack’s Gulf Coast Bar & Grill

Traditional Barbecue joint with superb food, great service, and a lively atmosphere, perfect for the entire family.

Locally owned and operated JW Snack’s Gulf Coast Bar & Grill is a great place to live life as a local, not only will you get to try some of the best barbecue around, but you’ll also be welcomed in with open arms and will make friends at this popular little eatery that’s big on hospitality.

With a dive-in-themed décor, the interior creates a mood for fun and frivolities. From the amazing wallpaper behind the bar to the hilarious decorations on the ceiling, the bar truly has a lot of personality and you’ll be taking pictures of every corner.

From bar-style or table-style seating to choose from, you can decide whether you want to be closer to the food and drinks or enjoy the vibe of the place from one of the tables.

Their signature dishes are their plate meals and burgers that make use of their specially-made BBQ, so make sure you order plenty of those. Apart from those, their pies serve as perfect desserts. T

hey also have a dedicated kids menu that you can make use of if you have picky eaters with you. Plus, the place serves Gumbo all day on Friday and Saturday, so if you enjoy that delicacy, head on over during the weekend and make the most of it.

JW Snack’s Gulf Coast Bar & Grill is open seven days a week! From 11 am to 1 am. So, there’s plenty of time to check it out, and believe us, you don’t want to miss it.

Address: 210 E Victory Way Craig, CO

Full rack of BBQ grilled pork spare ribs on a marble board
Photo for illustrative purposes only (iStock.com/Vladimir Mironov)

The Best Restaurants In Craig, CO: Final Thoughts

That’s everything we have to tell you about the best restaurants in Craig, CO. The town really has a great blend of unique and traditional eateries that adds a superb balance to its dining scene.

So, no matter what you’re craving, chances are there’s a restaurant in town that will probably be able to satiate your appetite!


  • Wandering our World

    Hi and welcome to Wandering our World! This article was written by one of the Wandering our World team - a team of travel enthusiasts who live around the globe.