Boulder’s Salt Bistro Preserves the Earth

Salt, a restaurant opened by visionary chef/owner Bradford Heap in 2009, is a culinary delight with a conscience for preserving natural resources.

Save room for Salt Bistro's Chocolate Caramel Tart, sprinkled with (what else?) salt.

Located on Boulder, Colorado ’s Pearl Street, Salt Bistro was created in the historic space that was formerly the home of Tom’s Tavern, a downtown landmark for more than 40 years. While renovating the restaurant for his new bistro, Heap and his wife, Carol Vilate, a designer, reused as many elements from the original building as possible—an effort that imbues Salt Bistro with a sense of the past—and that reduced the need for new materials. The tin ceiling was original from the 19th century.

In addition, the couple used recycled materials whenever possible. Look closely at the wooden tables: They’re made from old doors taken from Boulder’s Casey Junior High during its remodel. The chairs came from an auction. Wood flooring and many other finishes came from Resource Reclaimed Building Materials, a local business.

Salt, a bistro in Boulder, Colo., is located in the Pearl Street building that once housed Tom's Tavern.

Earth-Friendly Flavors

The handiwork of local artisans resulted in a restaurant that feels both modern and old-fashioned, European and American Western. And that’s borne out in the food: the bar “chefs” offer a selection of pre-Prohibition cocktails, and the entrees present old-world flavors suited for contemporary palates.

Sustainability isn’t just for the interior design of Salt Bistro—it’s a huge part of the restaurant’s food philosophy. The menus are built around seasonally available local food—much of it organic—in order to capture the freshest flavors.

Heap aims to raise awareness of where food comes from, and the menu lists the farm source of each menu item. In addition, the restaurant features sustainable seafood and humanely-raised meat.

As an added touch, Salt Bistro’s used cooking oil is used for biodiesel fuel.

Well-Seasoned Menu

But how does all this taste? Executive Chef Kevin Kidd pulls out the stops with fare that displays Italian and French influences with an American flair. An artisanal cheese plate spotlights local Haystack Mountain goat cheeses. The Wood-Roasted Autumn Vegetable Cassoulet features bounty from Munson Farm, while the Seven-Hour Braised Colorado Lamb with fennel risotto comes from Rosen Farm.

I personally wouldn’t miss getting a side order of Salt’s Crispy Polenta—by far the most divine I’ve ever tasted.

Salt’s menu rotates seasonally, but some things should never change. That’s why you can still get a Tom’s Tavern Burger, which Salt has gussied up with grass-fed beef, Grafton cheddar and house-made fries.

Laurel Kallenbach, freelance writer and editor

The wood-burning oven at Salt produces innovative pizzas.

Obama Speaks in Boulder—and My Husband Plays at the Event

President Obama visited the University of Colorado campus in Boulder on April 24, 2012, to talk about reducing student loan rates.

Obama waves to a crowd of 10,000 people at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus. Photo © Ken Aikin

Ken Aikin, my husband, was one of the brass quintet members who performed before the president’s speech—and they got front-row seats during the speech. Afterwards, as the president made the rounds through the crowd, Ken got to shake Obama’s hand!

Ken (in the dark suit with the toothy grin) is just reaching his hand around to shake with the president. The woman in the yellow dress sang the national anthem at the beginning. Photo © Glenn Asakawa. You can see this photo and others from the event on the CU website:

Here are some other photos that Ken took on this exciting day.

Members of the Boulder Brass Quintet: Ken, Dawn, Bill, and Mike. Photo © Ken Aikin


Ken and the quintet were sitting just 20 feet from the podium where Obama spoke. He told the story of ordering pizza at The Sink restaurant on the Hill—and the very excited student who accidentally spilled yogurt on him. Photo © Ken Aikin


The Secret Service men in attendance were all business. Photo © Ken Aikin

After the speech, Obama shook a lot of hands—including Ken's. Photo © Ken Aikin


Students were very excited to shake the president's hand. Photo © Ken Aikin

Obama (in shirt sleeves) shakes more hands beneath the flag—and then left the Coors Events Center. Photo © Ken Aikin