Editor’s note: This is part of The Know’s series, Staff Favorites. Each week, we will offer our opinions on the best that Colorado has to offer for dining, shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and more.
It’s the last long weekend of summer, and I’m thinking back on restaurants that opened — with all of the buildup, those first bites and, hopefully, time for return visits.
There are three that stand out to me clearly for their respective grand entrances, not because they were necessarily big or flashy, but because they were so welcoming and solid.
Food, service, ambience: These three have it all, for my tastes. And I can’t wait to get back to them, in no particular order.
(Note: They all happen to be located along Larimer Street from downtown Denver to the River North Art District, so you can restaurant-hop if your time and stomach allow it.)
I met Jose Avila back in March, when he was still planning the brick-and-mortar version of his popular Mayan food truck, X’Tabai Yucateco. Now that it’s open, near the Ballpark on Larimer Street, it’s so much easier to fulfill a craving for bone marrow, pork chop and nopales, all served on tortillas. Not to mention heaping bowls of rich posole and draft mezcal palomas. The back patio is a little oasis, and you can’t miss the front entrance with a rotating trompo for carving al pastor tacos.
2233 Larimer St., 720-519-1060, ladiabladenver.com
New to Denver Central Market, this stall sells my favorite food group (snacks) as well as my second favorite food group (boxed lunches). A little strange, I know, but stay with me. Snack-wise, I’m talking mezze platters (baba ghanoush, hummus, Greek salad, whipped feta) and deli case salads (pasta, potatoes, grains, veggies). And regarding the lunches, you can pick out a protein, like rotisserie chicken or grilled skirt steak, and match it with a couple of side dishes. Or let chef Zach Spott do all of the work for you with meals like Thai lettuce wraps (pictured).
2669 Larimer St. (inside Denver Central Market), 720-420-0853, lunchboxxdenver.com
While I was sad to see late-night mecca Meadowlark Kitchen close during the pandemic, I was relieved to find out what was replacing it. Redeemer is a pizza spot by the same chef-owners behind Dio Mio, a nearby counter-service pasta joint. And those owners, Spencer White and Alex Figura, have a knack for making great food that’s also super casual.
Enter their naturally leavened sourdough pizza, which sounds a little healthy — God forbid — but is just really well-made with cherry-picked toppings, alongside apps and wines that are also carefully prepared and selected. This is pizza for when you want to make a night of it (or are just craving and pass by the alley window).
2705 Larimer St., 720-780-1379, redeemerpizza.com
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