Can’t imagine the surprises in store for Denver and Front Range restaurants in 2021? To be honest, neither can we. But at least for these 18 spots, which are slated to open all year round, the future is still hopeful.
Most are in the Denver area, but we also found a few making their way to Fort Collins, Boulder, and Colorado Springs. And we’ve already discovered some trends.
Pizza seems like a strong bet for the future. The pandemic has shown Denver restaurants what people really want in times of need. The answer: cheese and bread, of course. (See also ice cream in the same category. Throw in tacos and tequila too.)
We will notice further secondary locations with proven local concepts. (More on that below.) Two trends we’re watching: the attempted comeback of the member club model – a complicated idea during a pandemic, to say the least – and the rush of alcohol-free rooms. The latter will likely have required 2020, but time will tell.
Read on for a dozen newcomers to the Colorado dining scene.
This sourdough pizza comes from the partners behind Dio Mio, a super cool pasta counter with small plates and fine wines, also with divided plates, plus Hoagies and a complete bar program. The owners Spencer White and Alex Figura call their style “New York 2.0” because the dough is made from naturally soured, long-fermented wheat sourdough. This combination, it is said, makes for an “easily digestible pizza”. You can try the cakes in a handful of preview pop-ups on January 16 and 30, and February 13 and 27.
einlöserpizza.com, RiNo’s Larimer Street (address shortly), spring 2021
The Clayton is a new member club and hotel (think SoHo House in London, New York and beyond) that is striving to make Cherry Creek hip again. On the glamorous property you’ll find a trio of new restaurants and drinks, including a wood-burning dinner spot Of A Kind, the all-day OAK market, and the Five Nines night bar and lounge. Former LA Chef Brandon Duley, who recently worked for Ardor at the West Hollywood Edition Hotel and Gjelina in Venice, runs the kitchens.
Claytondenver.com, 233 Clayton St., March 2021
Iced Coffee, a new coffee and ice cream parlor owned by the owners of High Point Creamery, arrives at the renovated 11th Avenue Hostel in Denver this spring. (Provided by iced coffee)
The owners of High Point Creamery, Erika Thomas and Chad Stutz, know all about ice cream. Their Denver salons are packed with ever-changing flavors like Brown Sugar Cinnamon and Mint Chocolate Bark. Now the couple connects one passion with the other and opens iced coffee, named after the German coffee and ice cream van of the same name. Aside from its signature bevvie, this candy store in the renovated 11th Avenue Hostel will be selling more coffee drinks, more ice cream, and some grocery in the form of pastries and sandwiches to take away.
11thavenuehostel.com, 1112 Broadway, Spring 2021
Jimador’s Blade cocktail from Forget Me Not, a new bar opening in Cherry Creek this spring. (Provided by Forget Me Not)
Don’t forget me
Another Cherry Creek nightlife destination, this flower-inspired lounge was built for her talent behind the bar, Nicole Lebedevitch, who moved from Boston for the endeavor. “She’s a jazz musician who trained at Berklee College of Music, and Forget Me Not is the beautiful, fun, and fancy stage we built for her to shine,” says co-owner Juan Padro. Cocktail menus will be themed, and the space will be ample enough to match the drinks.
Forget menotdenver.com, 227 Clayton St., Spring 2021
Golden’s second food hall in the old feed and supply building is almost complete, with a handful of food stalls, a back yard and a roof terrace with a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. “It will feel like you’re outside even when you’re inside,” said co-founder Susan Ganter. Expect sushi from longtime Denver chef Jesusio Silva, Happy Cones ice cream, and Rolling Smoke BBQ.
thegoldenmill.com, 1012 Ford St., Golden, March 2021
The original will be in the Ballpark neighborhood of Denver, located in the Rally Hotel on the McGregor Square project. Cronut sliders will be one of the more original menu items. (Provided by the original)
Once baseball is back, head to the baseball stadium to explore McGregor Square, along with the Rally Hotel and its reimagined American diner, The Original. On the menu: Bloody Marys, drunken milkshakes, cronut sliders (pictured), bison pastrami Reubens and freshly baked pies.
therallyhotel.com, McGregor Square (across 20th Street from Coors Field) March 2021
This bar in Jefferson Park serves coffee beverages in the morning – plus Rishi teas and Yerba Mates – and has a selection of non-alcoholic beers, wines, and spirits for sale (see brands like Grüvi Sour Weiss, Fre Sparkling Rosé, and Ghia Aperitif). Awake’s alcohol-free bar will also open in spring, supplying the neighborhood and Denver with “soul-inducing drinks” and “conscious conversation”.
wakedenver.com, 2240 N. Clay St., Spring 2021
Tacos Del Mar, fried or grilled, with Alaskan cod, coleslaw, truffle-tomatillo salsa and pineapple-coriander rice. (Lucy Beaugard, provided by Del Mar of Rooted)
From the ocean
Just in time for your January resolutions, Nicholas Kayser and Scott Ericson are bringing seasonal pescatarian and vegan dishes to Avanti Food Hall in Lower Highland. Del Mar by Rooted opens on January 23rd and sells salads, grains and all kinds of fish preparations – raw poke, fried calamari, fried salmon, grilled trout … you get the drift. The fresh meals cost between $ 8 and $ 18, but you can also try caviar, fries, and crème fraîche ($ 95).
avantifandb.com, 3200 Pecos St., January 2021
The people behind Denver’s Homegrown Tap & Dough, Park Burger and Birdcall are opening this new Mexican coastal restaurant in Wash Park with a party atmosphere (see a converted Volkswagen bus for dining on the terrace in small groups). To eat: aguachile, yucca fries, chicken tinga tacos and more besides tequila and mezcal cocktails and chupitos.
perdidakitchen.com, 1066 S. Gaylord St., spring 2021
Park Hill Commons
Park Hill will see three new dining options this year in the form of a restaurant, cafe, and wine bar. The first to come is a second location from Denver-based Crock Spot, already in Sunnyside, opening January 15th at 2878 Fairfax St. The restaurant and food truck specializes in slow-cooked dishes to order. Therizo Café and Tap serves specialty coffee, breakfast, wine and beer on 2890 Fairfax Street. It is scheduled to open in February. And Trellis, a wine bar, will be the last of the three, opening sometime this spring.
parkhillcommons.com, Fairfax Street 28-29, Winter / Spring 2021
Foodhalla’s mobile food court will be parked outside Ratio on Larimer Street in the RiNo district on December 18, 2020. The truck goes to various locations to safely serve guests outdoors. (Rachel Ellis, The Denver Post)
Friends and restaurant professionals Jesus Olaya, Nicole Zajac and Alan Berger hope to transform their “mobile food court” Foodhalla into a small, stationary restaurant with eight to nine different kitchens, starting with Cuban bodega sandwiches and Korean barbecue in Seoul Brothas. As in a compact dining hall, all menus come from a kitchen and are served via drive-up windows and delivery. The idea sounds like a mixture of ghost kitchen, drive-thru and food court – all in a relatively compact space. You might not even bother to include seating to eat.
foodhalla.co, still open, summer 2021
CONNECTED: What will Denver food look like in 2021?
Dragon (Fort Collins)
Denver chef Bill Espiricueta is expanding his popular RiNo barbecue shop into the Foothills Mall in Fort Collins. Expect smoked meats, from pork belly to spare ribs and salmon, per pound; Burnt end sandwiches; smoked hot wings; Chili cheese fries; Brisket tacos and more. A full bar offers kettle makers and frozen cocktails like the 18th and Vine, with Kansas City whiskey and peach.
denversmok.com, The Foothills Mall, Fort Collins, Spring / Summer 2021
Wood-fired pita and hummus made with organic chickpeas, tahini, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, smoked allspice and parsley at Ash’Kara Denver on December 14, 2018. (Hyoung Chang, Denver Post file)
Boulder’s former Pepper Noshery on Pearl Street becomes the second location of Denver-based, Israeli-inspired Ash’Kara, owned by chef Daniel Asher. The new menu will feature some Denver favorites – homemade dips like hummus, muhammara, and baba ghanoush; and freshly baked pita made from old grains such as spelled and teff. But there will also be some boulder-only dishes and an additional addition: Dahab Downstairs, a “beach bar and speakeasy lounge”, which is located in the basement of the restaurant.
ashkaradenver.com, 1043 Pearl St., Boulder, Spring 2021
Homa Cafe and Bar (Colorado Springs)
A 40-room boutique hotel in the New South End of Springs will also house this lobby-level restaurant, which offers cocktails, local beers and coffee, hand pies, sandwiches and bowls. The hotel is billed as a mountain modern base for Colorado adventurers, while its cafe and bar are intended to serve as a hangout for locals and travelers alike.
kinshiplanding.com, 415 S. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, January / February 2021
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