Colterra offers guilt-free, fine dining

If you’re looking for great food without the intimidating atmosphere, Colterra is the place to dine, says Executive Chef Michael Drazsnzak.

“It’s very approachable food,” Drazsnzak says. “It’s very simple in its approach. It’s very simple flavors. We let the food be the food.”

Allowing the food to stand on its own is part of the farm-to-table movement that inspired Chef Owner Bradford Heap to open Colterra in 2006. Drazsnzak explains that farm-to-table is the basic and age-old idea that local is not only better for you, but also better for the planet.

“This is what people have been doing for quite some time before anybody put the marketing spin of farm-to-table on it,” he says. “We can live better by living locally. We can have less impact globally by living locally, by sourcing things that are down the street or even just within the state.”

This concept is at the heart of Colterra’s menu. The goal of the restaurant is to better the lives of their customers in more ways than one.

“We’re directly feeding the local community,” Drazsnzak says. “Not just through food but through economic stimulus.”

Drazsnzak is sure to be clear that while local is always utilized when possible, it is not always possible.

“Clearly, it’s not entirely farm-to-table but absolutely as much as we can,” he says. “But we also source from abroad for some products.”

Dining at Colterra is meant to be a holistic experience in simplicity and relaxation. Drazsnzak says that the location in Old Town Niwot, which used to be the restaurant Le Chantecler, was carefully chosen by Chef Owner Heap because of its European atmosphere.

“When this property came up for sale and he saw this, it totally reminded him of the restaurants he saw in the countryside in the south of France and in northern Italy,” he says. “He saw the opportunity for a big garden that surrounded the patio that he could feed people out of. It creates that wonderful countryside atmosphere that mirrors our food.”

Colterra takes the farm-to-table movement one step further with the garden surrounding the restaurant. As Drazsnzak says, it’s not just a “dog and pony show”.

“You can come to Colterra and you can be sitting next to the garden where food is grown that’s coming out on your plate while you eat,” he says.

The long, mahogany bar and real linen table cloths make dining at Colterra an experience that is not only luxurious but also comfortable. Beyond the luxury and comfort, though, is a concept that any consumer can feel good about.

“It’s better food for you,” Drazsnzak says. “The less antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and chemicals that you are ingesting, the healthier you’re going to be. I don’t think there’s anybody out there that will argue with that. So why not make the healthy choice in the direction that you want to dine in? Not only at home, but also out.”

This piece was published in Longmont Magazine on 2/18/2012.

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