Springtime here in Colorado usually means a few things: the onset of baseball season, larkspurs/geraniums/columbines come out to bloom, and winter has it's few last gasps before it gives way to warmer weather. Considering how mild of a winter that we had this past season, it wouldn't surprise anyone if the occasional snow and cold weather persisted even into May. And with that in mind, we can't think of a better way to warm up then with a piping hot bowl of ramen. This Japanese dish has exploded in popularity within recent years, so if you're in the Capitol city looking to beat the cold on one of these weird one-off cold weather days like we're having today, here's where to find the best of it.
2215 W 32nd Ave
Denver, CO 80211
The space is small, and the menu is small, but if you can get here early enough before the line starts wrapping around the block, you're in for some spicy, piping hot broth, noodles packed with umami, and plenty of innovative toppings. We highly recommend the spicy chicken bowl. However, soon the line will be lessened a bit, as the owners plan to open a second location near Wash Park come summertime.
1365 Osage St
Denver, CO 80204
Arguably the favorite spot for locals, Domo offers an ultra-authentic take on the dish served inside a rustic atmosphere as opposed to some of the more modern approaches taken by it's contemporaries. Specialties include a dashi-based broths, a soy milk, and curry broth with toppings like eel and sukiyaki beef. Also on the menu is tsukemen, which is a deconstructed ramen with the soup served on the side, a twist on the traditional approach that's unique to this restaurant.
2611 Walnut St
Denver, CO 80205
This place is no-frills. It's just a soup shop offering rich, complex ramen with chicken, pork, or veggie varieties, as well as Japanese small plates.
2907 Huron St #103
Denver, CO 80202
Located in the shadow of Coors Field, this restauarant isn't just known for ramen, but all kinds of contemporary Japanese cuisine, including sushi. Their specialty ramen however, also has a few local influences in it as well: it's shio with pork, fish cake, white soy sauce, green onion, and pickled bamboo.
701 Grant St
Denver, CO 80203
They're known for their poached lobster ramen, served with a miso-based broth. Simply put, if you're not ordering that dish there - you're wasting your time.
Ace Eat Serve
501 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
The only restaurant on this list that happens to also be full of ping pong tables, Ace is known for their twist on funky Asian fusion. And their ramen options run the gamut as well. You can get shoyu broth filled with tender braised pork shoulder, or go vegetarian and opt for mushroom broth and crispy tofu. Good for every palette/paddle.
With the recent Shake Shack opening and the much anticipated arrival of California-based burger chain In-N-Out burgers have been on our brain lately. So before you ravenous cult-members get too excited, the In and Out plans are strictly preliminary - meaning a timeline has yet to be established as to when we can all walk in and get a taste of those delicious burgers that we’re used to having to travel west for.
That in mind, we’ve decided to craft a list of our favorite places to get burgers here locally to tide us over until the day when we can slake that craving for a 3x3 Animal Style (my personal favorite). It is also important to note that this list is comprised solely of opinions of this writer, feel free to send all complaints/beefs (see what I did there) to me, because sometimes arguments brighten up my day!
Cherry Cricket 2641 E. 2nd Avenue Denver
This is it. This is my own personal burger mecca as far as Denver is concerned. I first started coming here as kid with my parents (a trip to Cherry Creek the first weekend of December to do sappy Christmas shit was a tradition in my family, don’t judge me as I don’t share that affinity for sentiment: we just always stopped at the Cricket for lunch on these excursions), and since then virtually nothing has changed about this place. The atmosphere, menu, and quality of food has never wavered. The only thing that has changed about the experience for me personally is that I’ve added items to my favorite burger (cricket burger medium, white cheddar, bacon, and blackening seasoning is my current go to), and also I’m old enough to drink now (I always used to peruse the shot list and laugh at some of the names as a kid, and purposefully ordered a “money fuck” shot upon my first legal visit). Even as the neighborhood has turned into the (even more) gaudy monstrosity that it is now, the Cricket remains an outpost of Denver’s past that isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
My Brother’s Bar 2376 15th Street Denver
This spot is ranked #2 simply for the fact that I personally haven’t been coming here for as long as the Cricket. But in terms of being an outpost of Denver’s past (as mentioned in the previous list item), you won’t find an outpost older or more authentic than here. The building itself got its start as the Highland House saloon in 1873, and has operated under a few different names in subsequent years, including when it was converted into its current form in 1970. Simply put, the building has no sign, and no frills when it comes to the burgers. Quality and consistency. Plus, with their extensive beer list and the fact that they play nothing but classical music over the soundsystem, you really feel like you’re sitting in a speakeasy eating, and everybody knows that certain things are always more fun when you feel like you’re not supposed to be doing them.
Park Burger - Multiple locations
While the he original location, Uptown’s Park & Co is a swanky spot with a full bar and robust menu (extra shout out for always playing dope hip hop every time I’ve been in there), the locations with the pared down burgers, fries, and not much else menus are where to go if you’re trying to scratch that itch. With 12 different custom burger combos to choose from, plus my personal favorite parmesan truffle fries, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better burger place no matter which neighborhood location you’re in (the south Pearl street one is my favorite).
Crave Real Burgers - Multiple locations
This place makes the list simply because one of their custom burger concoctions is so over the top that it’s something everybody should try at least once. While this concept by no means originated here, the fact that they even offer it scores major points in my book. Dubbed “The Luther” as this burger was reportedly a favorite snack of the late Luther Vandross, this bacon cheeseburger forgoes the conventional bun and instead nestles itself betwixt two glazed donuts instead. You’re welcome.
Big Al’s Burgers and Dogs 140 W Mountain Ave Fort Collins
I couldn’t just stick to the Denver metro area for this list, mainly because that wouldn’t be all-encompassing, and also because this place exists. Big Al’s is a gem of a quick serve burger shop that is right at home in a college town and would almost be out of place anywhere else due to the decadence of their menu. Between their deep fried hotdogs, parmesan truffle fries (2nd only to Park Burger in my experience), Big Al’s also boasts the 60-40 burger. That’s right, the patty is 60 percent ground beef and 40 percent ground bacon. You can even double this bad boy up if you dare (recommended).
So there you have it, now get out there and eat. And if you care to disagree, get at me and I’ll happily tell you why you’re wrong!
One of the reasons why we’re so spoiled here in Denver is because, as an up-and-coming city, the options for food have GREATLY expanded as of late. What used to be considered as a “dusty old cowtown” has now become a culinary destination for a multitude of different cuisine types. What you’re going to find here however, are some places that not only have been around for quite some time, but also offer fare that you’d normally find elsewhere in the United States - or in some cases not in the United States at all, let alone in the High Plains at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Let’s dig in.
Welton Street Cafe, 2736 Welton St, Denver, CO 80205
This is a Five Points institution, and while they’ve got all the soul-food staples that you’d expect: catfish, fried chicken, and smothered pork chops, it’s the Caribbean fare that really sets this spot apart. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop in and see if you can’t stop yourself from eating your weight in jerk chicken. It’s quite the delicious challenge.
CoraFaye’s Cafe, 16251 E Colfax Ave, Aurora, CO 80011
You won’t find a better outpost of the South anywhere in the metro area. Oxtail, froglegs, and the best collard greens in the city. Also maybe even try some chitlins if you’re feeling adventurous...but if that’s your fancy, get there early. They make a finite amount each morning and always sell out. If that’s not an indication of quality, we don’t know what is.
Sassafras American Eatery, 320 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203
This is more of a brunch spot, and even though they have three separate locations (aside from the listed address, you can find locations in Highland and also in downtown Golden), the original location in Cap Hill retains the most charm. They’ve got an award winning bloody mary, and then the brunch special that tops the list is the Pimento Chicken Biscuit. Fried chicken confit, pimento cheese, sunny side up eggs, duck fat gravy, served betwixt a homemade buttermilk biscuit with a side of fried pickle chips. Drool. Skip the DBC and hit this place up.
The Crawling Crab, 781 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219
This isn’t the only place in town where you can get Cajun seafood, however it is the only one which has been given the stamp of approval by a friend of ours who also happens to be a New Orleans native. They’ve got fresh wild crawfish during season, while most other places get frozen or farm-raised. Get two pounds with corn, andouille sausage, with the “All In XXX” seasoning blend and feel the joie de vivre.
LAO Wang Noodle House, 945 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219
Two words: soup dumplings. That’s all.
Mariscos El Rey, 820 Dayton St, Aurora, CO 80010
As someone who considers California to be a second home, sometimes I get to missing dishes that are specific to that state as they can be difficult to find here (not just talking In N Out), and in the case of this restaurant the dish is authentic fish tacos. Fresh, vibrant, and served with a smile, you’d swear that you were in a taqueria on the waterfront somewhere in Southern California and not in a strip mall a couple of blocks south of Colfax.
Tocabe, 3536 W 44th Ave, Denver, CO 80211
This eatery boasts a menu that is Colorado specific, Colorado heritage specific. They’ve got Indian tacos (like the ones pictured above) which make up the majority of the menu, but also have braised bison ribs, and a mouth-watering green chile stew that is the best cold-weather dish in the city, if you’re not a total Britney that just craves pho all the time that is.
They're almost everybody's favorite bar food snack, and some of us even prefer to make them a meal. Whether you like them spicy or mild, bone-in or boneless, or doused with ranch or blue cheese, these places all can satisfy that craving. With the 2018 Superbowl fast approaching we went out on a mission to find the best chicken wings around us. Here are some of our favorites in the Front Range. What's yours? Let's bar hop.
Willy’s Wings,109 Bear Creek Ave, Morrison, CO 80465
This is first on the list simply because it’s the best. No frills, Buffalo-style wings served up in a shack on the side of the road in the shadow of Red Rocks. They have an additional location in Lakewood but it lacks the charm of the original. Next time you want to bring food with you to Lower South, don’t. Just stop here first.
Fire on the Mountain, 3801 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
This place has quickly gained a reputation for quality not only with their beer selection, but their rotating selection of a dozen different sauces to adorn your wings with. You can sample each one before you order to ensure maximum satisfaction as well. It’s a win-win.
College Inn, 4400 8th Ave, Denver, CO 80220
This spot used to be a haunt for employees of the now torn down University Hospital, and yet even though the hospital is gone, business is still thriving. The Boulder Gold sauce variation comes highly recommended, and pair that with a giant pretzel/queso plus a cold beer to complete the bar food trifecta.
Piper Inn, 2251 S Parker Rd, Denver, CO 80231
They’ve since branched out into Chinese cuisine, but this biker bar located right on the Denver-Aurora border has long been known for quality wings. It offers excellent people watching as well provided you’re adept at minding your own business. If not, you might want to get that order to go.
Woodys Wings, 700 S Buckley Rd, Aurora, CO 80017
This was my first experience with authentic Buffalo wings here in Colorado, and although they’ve moved from their original location on Chambers and Mexico (as well as opening additional locations), the quality hasn’t wavered. To note, however. They’re closed on odd days of the week. I got bamboozled by these funky hours during my last attempted visit. Call ahead first.
Golden Flame, 18757 E Hampden Ave #156, Aurora, CO 80013
Aurora is known as a vast wasteland of strip malls and chain restaurants, so it’s always nice to see a Mom and Pop shop open and expand due to the excellence of their fried chicken wings. Golden Flame is no exception. They have two other locations aside from this one, but this is the original. Always best to stick with the throwbacks.
Wingin It, 8200 S Quebec St, Centennial, CO 80112
This one is a gem that not many people know about, simply because it’s tucked away in a strip mall down the street from Park Meadows Mall. Much like Fire on the Mountain, they have a rotation of deliciously innovative sauces that can be used, with pre-order samples available. It’s must try should you find yourself on the border of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties.
Stoney’s, 1111 Lincoln St, Denver, CO 80203
All you can eat wings on Wednesday’s. There are competitors in this aspect, but Stoney’s wins out for having it on Wednesday’s, and for their location in such close proximity to Bar Standard, which is another favorite haunt for myself and a hundred of my other friends every week.
Harpo’s, 2860 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303
This is just a super rowdy sports bar with quality wings to boot. The Lazy Dog on Pearl Street was another choice, but it’s location on the Mall makes it not as easily accessible as Harpo’s, and they don’t have an all you can eat option. This is also a sentimental choice: I’ve had many a good time and many many laughs at this bar, accompanied by copious amounts of their wings more often than not.