Eight new restaurants to check out in Denver and Boulder this season09/08/2020
Usually around this time, we like to look ahead to the most anticipated new restaurants rounding out the rest of the year, sort of like in Oscar contender season, when the awards darlings start to debut on the big screen after the summer box office hits and ahead of the holidays. Well, not anymore! Even the James Beard Awards, the Oscars of food, are canceled this year.
With fall approaching, restaurant owners have no idea where they’ll be tomorrow, let alone by December. Even still, there are some who are betting on newly available real estate, or existing lease obligations, and forging ahead. Yes, there will be openings to celebrate and businesses to support. And they will need it. Here are eight to watch now.
Chook at Stanley Marketplace
This fast-casual rotisserie chicken shop has one big advantage during the pandemic: “The fortunate thing for us, we’ve always really focused on takeaway,” co-owner Adam Schlegel said. By the end of the year, Chook’s third Denver location will open at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora. Like the other two, this newest spot will sell James Beard-awarded chef Alex Seidel’s grilled chicken breasts and thighs with sides, cocktails, beer and wine.
Along with the expansion, Chook has another reason to celebrate — it recently became a Certified B Corporation. So among like-minded brands like Ben & Jerry’s and New Belgium Brewing, Chook is now recognized for its sustainability, community involvement, governance, transparency and other best business practices. Schlegel hopes that more restaurants will apply to become B Corps rather than just throwing around phrases like all-natural and farm-to-table, too.
“This is not just a label I can throw on (the restaurant),” he said. “I really had to work my ass off to get this. And it should make consumers hopefully feel good if they’re in that mentality of voting with their dollar.”
2501 Dallas St., Aurora, hours to come, chookchicken.com
Whoever thought food halls were a pre-pandemic relic? (Okay, guilty.) But Boulder will get its second multi-vendor food market shortly after Labor Day at the new outpost of Denver-based Avanti. The Boulder Pearl Street location is packed with six food stalls, three dining areas, as well as main-floor and rooftop bars.
Vendors at Avanti II include BoyChik, New Yorkese, Pig and Tiger, Quiero Arepas, Rooted Craft Kitchen and Rye Society. New Yorkese will offer foldable pizza slices from Boulder chef Steve Redzikowski. Rooted Craft Kitchen is the first solo project from former Denver chef Nicholas Kayser. His last post was at Vesta, which closed this summer.
1401 Pearl St., 720-269-4778, hours to come, boulder.avantifandb.com
The Radiator Cafe & Bar
This new day-to-night Sunnyside neighborhood hangout serves coffee and bagels in the morning, ice cream come afternoon and craft beers by night. And it’s perfectly suited for the pandemic with garage doors running the length of the cafe and an expansive, pet-friendly patio outside.
2139 W. 44th Ave., starting at 6 a.m. daily, theradiatordenver.com
Coming Sept. 23 to Hilltop, this rotisserie chicken shop started at Avanti F&B in Highland before expanding to its first brick-and-mortar restaurant. Veteran Denver chef Don Gragg is in the kitchen. He was a founding chef at Barolo Grill before moving on to California and New York, where he worked at spots like Chez Panisse and Gramercy Tavern. Now Gragg’s to-go friendly menu includes rotisserie chicken and slow-cooked pork shoulder with housemade sauces, fresh salads, grain bowls and more sides, and, soon to come, a full bar with cocktails.
“We believe the way America currently grows its food is the worst offender of global warming, and the way big agriculture is subsidized and marketed is terrible for our mental and physical health,” co-owner Scott Boyd said in a release. “The Rotary isn’t as affordable as fast-food, but having a place that serves healthy, tasty and high-quality food in a setting that’s conducive to convenience is a small step toward creating a healthier environment.”
217 S. Holly St., 303-537-5327, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday for takeout *only* to start, therotaryeats.com
A new brunch destination has just started serving in Five Points. Mimosas chef Daniel Young (known as Chef D in the neighborhood) is churning out marmalade French toast, shrimp and grits and smothered breakfast sandwiches on Welton Street. The daytime spot also serves bellinis, piña coladas and the namesake mimosas alongside its meals.
“Five Points is changing, but unlike other communities, that change is driven in large part by the people who live here and want to see this neighborhood — and its stories — not just survive, but thrive,” said Ryan Cobbins, who also owns neighboring Coffee at the Point. “Mimosas is an important component of this group’s strategy to preserve and revitalize the neighborhood, but we’re even more excited to show the city and those who visit that Five Points is an all-day destination rife with history, culture and, of course, incredible food and drink.”
2752 Welton St., 720-372-7572, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, closed Mondays, mimosasdenver.com
Restaurants continue to open at Denver’s 9th and Colorado development. Last month, Pizzeria Locale debuted, and by late October, the popular wine bar and happy hour destination Postino will start pouring. Drinkers can expect specials like $5 wine glasses before 5 p.m. daily and weekly $25 bruschetta and bottle deals after 8 p.m. The Arizona-based business has Denver outposts already in LoHi and on Broadway.
830 N. Colorado Blvd., 720-262-5474, hours to come, postinowinecafe.com
My Neighbor Felix
With a grand opening scheduled this weekend (Sept. 12), this Pan-Mexican kitchen has the makings of another millennial destination in Lower Highland. From the folks behind Viewhouse, My Neighbor Felix will offer weekday happy hour, weekend brunch and plenty of margaritas in the space formerly occupied by Marcella’s, which closed in 2019.
1801 Central St., 720-826-4880, hours and menus to come, myneighborfelix.com
Illegal Pete’s Park Hill
The seventh location of this Colorado-based burrito chain just opened over Labor Day weekend at Oneida Park in Park Hill. It was originally slated to debut in June, but Illegal Pete’s has proven a rare fast-casual restaurant in the pandemic — it completely closed for more than three months before reopening later in the summer with outdoor seating only and ordering moved all online.
Illegal Pete’s Park Hill operates the same way, though it will eventually seat an indoor-outdoor wraparound bar, and serve the Chauncey Marg, a nod to one of the neighborhood’s better known residents, former Denver Nugget, Chauncey Billups.
2230 Oneida St., 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, illegalpetes.com (online ordering only)
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