Aurora’s Rancho Liborio: Ole’

In Colorado, Latin American food rules the restaurant scene. Cuisines of central and South America can be found in venues ranging from El Salvadorean papusa carts in the suburbs, to exquisite modern Mexican restaurants in Englewood, Lone Tree and downtown Denver, to an endless selection of taquerias and casual restaurants throughout Colorado.

Whether you pride yourself on knowing your way around a kitchen or not, sooner or later the urge to re-create the spicy, comforting Latin American foods at home arises. While you may be able to make some decent refritos or guacamole using the ingredients available at the corner grocery, if you want to make an authentic Latin American feast, take your shopping list to Rancho Liborio in Aurora, one of four such stores in metro Denver.

Tamarind pods and cinnamon sticks

Dingy, small Hispanic markets scattered across the Denver area pale in comparison to this fully stocked and artfully merchandised supermarket.

The produce section may be the most impressive part of Rancho Liborio in Aurora. The produce team works ceaselessly to ensure that impressive stacks of popular items such as tomatoes, potatoes, onions, tomatillos and jalapenos are piled wide and high on islands throughout the huge produce section.

The fun stuff is around the edges, though. The bordering refrigerators are stocked with fruits and vegetables you can’t find at any gourmet or organic market, and definitely not at any conventional grocery store around. Fresh garbanzo beans individually suspended in delicate fuzzy green pods pile next to several varieties of cacti, exotic pears, countless varieties of fresh and dried chiles, and bright green stacks of spring onions and fragrant herbs.

In another corner of the Aurora market, a tortilla machine churns out freshly baked corn and flour tortillas so fast two employees are needed to bag stacks of the hot breads.

Rancho Liborio displays pineapples, papayas and plantains.

The hot food counter at Rancho Liborio sells such homemade items as tacos, green chili, stews, grilled whole tilapia, carnitas and a selection of tamales.

The staff at Rancho Liborio bakes homemade breads, pies, cakes and other confections in a large open bakery. Samples of churros, coffee cakes or other sweets are always available at the cake counter. A massive six-door case of freshly made cookies and frosted pastries lines the edge of the bakery department.

If you venture into Aurora’s Rancho Liborio on a busy weekend, you’ll probably be rewarded with a sample of freshly grilled meat served with tortilla and crema or a taste of Oaxaca cheese and pickled peppers from the butcher and cheese shop at the back of the store. The butchers carve and slice meats just behind the meat case, which is filled with stack after stack of freshly cut thin and thick pieces of beef, piles of freshly cubed beef and pork for stews, and huge sides of meat ready to be sliced to order to fulfill your carne needs.

Rancho Liborio also sells a huge variety of seafood, whole and filleted fish of at least 10 varieties, fresh octopus and shrimps for delicious Mexican shrimp cocktails, live oysters and clams and beautiful whole crabs.

If you finally find that recipe for the perfect mole sauce, decide to try your hand at a traditional Latin American cuisine or love exploring ethnic food markets, you absolutely must check out Rancho Liborio in Aurora.


Spiced meats on display at Rancho Liborio

If You Go

Rancho Liborio

10400 E. Colfax Ave.
Aurora, Colorado 80010

850 E. 88th Ave.
Thornton, Colorado 80229

Commerce City
6040 E. 64th Ave.
Commerce City, Colorado 80022

Colorado Springs
1660 S. Circle Dr.
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80910