There are certain places any self-respecting food lover fears facing at lunchtime. Airports score the top rank, for me, followed closely by malls and theme parks. And zoos - no restaurant in a zoo has ever made my list of must-trys.
But apparently I've been going to the wrong zoos. The other day, when I took Grandma to Woodland Park Zoo to visit the baby tiger (she sure is cute), I steeled myself for gastrointestinal disappointment when she announced we'd be staying for lunch.
Somehow a frisky grillmaster's invitation ("COooomenGETIT! Best barbecue in Woodland Park Zoo! Only barbecue in Woodland Park Zoo!") lured me over to the outdoor grill at Smokey Joe's Cafe, right in the main eating pavilion there near the west entrance. Grandma got a massive bun slathered with tender, flavorful beef BBQ, which she happily chowed with her recyclable fork while I wolfed down a respectable fresh-grilled cheeseburger slathered with the same spicy, earthy (but gosh - could it really be homemade?) BBQ sauce. Both were about $5, far lower than the rapage I anticipate when eating in locales that have you penned in, so to speak.
Now, I don't know that I'd pay the entrance fee just to gain access to Smokey Joe's, but if you should find yourself IN the zoo . . .