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La Plata, Montezuma county restaurants finish in Top 10 of USA Today green chile contest

Oscar’s Cafe wins third place, Absolute Bakery fourth
Owner of Absolute Bakery David Blaine pours green chile over a dish during an afternoon rush. Absolute Bakery’s house green chile won third place for USA Today’s Reader’s Choice Contest for the best chile verde in Colorado.

The votes are in for

Three area restaurants – Oscar’s Cafe in Durango, Absolute Bakery in Mancos and Beny’s Diner in Cortez – made the shortlist of 20 restaurants competing for the title of “best green chile in Colorado.” On Friday, the final rankings, chosen by readers, were announced on the USA Today website. Colorado Springs restaurant El Taco Rey won first place; Oscar’s won third place, Absolute won fourth and Beny’s won sixth.

Karen Blaine, co-owner of Absolute Bakery, said she and her husband, David, heard about the contest results a day before they were made public.

“We were very happy to hear we made fourth place because I think we’re one of the smaller restaurants on that list,” she said.

She said she believed the bakery’s use of vegetarian, organic ingredients for its chile helped, adding that the Absolute recipe relies on flavor, not heat.

Victor Nuñez Jr., part of the family that owns Beny’s Diner, said being considered for the Top 10 list has already helped the restaurant’s business.

“We’ve been selling so much green chile, even more than before,” he said. “A lot of people have told us we should be the winners because our chile is the best in town.”

But the restaurant’s owner, the senior Victor Nuñez, said he was just happy to be in the Top 10. He thanked everyone who voted for his restaurant, especially the Nuñez family’s friends and customers.

Staff at Oscar’s Cafe declined to comment Friday, saying they were too busy with customers.

The other restaurants in the Top 10 list are all on the Front Range. King’s Chef Diner in Colorado Springs, Blackbelly Market in Boulder and El Chingon, Sam’s No. 3, Blue Bonnet Cafe and Señor Burritos, all in Denver, were also recognized. USA Today’s top 20 restaurants were chosen by a panel of experts and were narrowed down to 10 through a voting process that lasted through April 16.

Jun 23, 2021
Three restaurants compete in search for best green chile