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As in the days of the Denver oil boom, steakhouses are a big part of the current Denver restaurant renaissance. While old meat palaces are being revived under new management, others are trudging into town from respected restaurant groups. Here are five restaurants that specialize in the art of grilled beef, from Denver classics to posh newcomers, all of which hit the headlines.
Luke’s, A Steak Place
4990 Kipling Street, Wheat Ridge
Luke’s has been quietly serving steaks and other grilled meats to a loyal following for more than twenty years. Mike Lucas was the original owner and in 2012 Bob Meyer took over. When longtime customers Coe Kunz and his wife Megan saw the restaurant was up for sale earlier this year, they decided to buy the eatery and revitalize it for Wheat Ridge and Arvada diners. “Our family has been here since Mike opened,” explains Kunz. “And my wife and I had our first date here.”
Kunz hired a Caribbean chef to add more seafood options and revamp the steak menu, which now offers more affordable choices than the previous incarnation of Luke’s while re-emphasizing quality. The new owners took over on November 4th and have since added a happy hour, special events and entertainment to make Lukes “a cornerstone for the region”.
Mickey’s top sirloin
Mickey’s was originally opened by Mickey Broncucia more than fifty years ago on land his grandfather had farmed since the early 20th century. Broncucia eventually withdrew and sold the business to new owners in the fall; He just turned eighty and celebrated his birthday on December 12th (his birthday is with his Italian Frank Sinatra) in the steakhouse, which also serves Mexican and Italian cuisine. Those who venture north on Broadway to soak up the vintage charm of Mickey’s may notice that the restaurant doesn’t look its age; Broncucia built a new building on the property in 2005, but much of the eatery’s original roadhouse charm has been retained.
Morton’s the steakhouse
1710 Wynkoop Street
Part of Landry’s restaurant chain since 2011, Morton’s has seen its popularity rise and fall since moving to LoDo in 1995 (before that, Denver began life in the Tivoli building). And Morton’s will be moving again soon, heading for 1745 Wazee Street, where Sullivan’s Steakhouse closed in 2015. Morton’s will close its restaurant across from Union Station on January 21st and reopen in the new premises in early February.
16. and Marktstrasse
Denver needs to attract international attention; STK is part of the ONE Group, which operates various bar and restaurant concepts worldwide, including branches of their signature steakhouse in Milan, New York City, Miami and Las Vegas (to name just a few). Despite its worldly influences, the new Denver STK, slated to open in January, will be headed by Denver chef Will Tuggle, whose résumé includes Stout Street Social, Humboldt, and Black Eye Coffee / White Lies. About 30 percent of the chef’s opening menu will be original for the Denver location, the rest will come from STK’s repertoire.
245 Columbine Street
The Halcyon Hotel opened last summer with a restaurant: the second Departure location, founded by chef Gregory Gourdet of Portland, Oregon. But a new restaurant will soon be added to the posh Cherry Creek Inn. Quality Italian from New York restaurateur Michael Stillman captures the spirit of classic Italian steakhouses in a modern setting. Make sure it opens in late January or early February.
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Mark Antonation is the former Food & Drink Editor for Westword. In 2018 he was named an Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he is now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.