Wondering where to eat burgers, tacos, and pasta in Denver? We asked Chef Frank Bonanno of Mizuna and Salt & Grinder.
'Denver' on Serious Eats
The Cherry Cricket is strictly a build-your-own burger place, with over 30 cheeses, toppings, and sauces—and exactly zero pre-designed kitchen creations to choose from. You'll find plenty of the usual suspects here, but also oddball options like cucumber slices, corned beef, and...grape jelly.
If you're planning on visiting the Mile High City during the Great American Beer Festival this year, you may notice that a lot has changed since your last visit. Eight new breweries have opened up within Denver city limits in the last year (bringing the grand total to 22), not including the dozen or so that have begun pouring outside the metro area. The product of favorable liquor laws and an atmosphere that cultivates and encourages young breweries, Denver—and Colorado as a whole—is quickly becoming an epicenter for craft beer in the United States.
The 3rd Annual Colorado Beer Week was held May 12-19 across the city of Denver, offering a plethora of choices for craft beer fans. Piggy-backing off of American Craft Beer Week, the goal of Colorado Beer Week is to "host events that bring you great beer and educate everyone on the versatility of this tasty beverage", says founder Scott Kerkmans. Here are a few of the highlights.
Early every Friday night all summer, both locations of Marczyk Fine Foods—Denver's premier gourmet food shop and deli—give their respective neighborhoods a little burger gift. Much more "elevated backyard cookout" than "fancy-pants burger" offering, it's a tradition the people of Denver are lucky to have.
Park Burger became a Denver institution almost immediately after opening its doors less than three years ago. Based on my visit, I'd have to say it definitely lives up to the hype.
Red Robin is getting into the fast casual business with Burger Works, opening its first location November 21 in Northfield Stapleton in Denver (map). Compared to Red Robin, Burger Works features a simpler and lower priced menu of 1/3-pound burgers and also offers beer and wine. Some burgers from Red Robin appear on Burger Works' menu, along with original burgers and a build-your-own-burger option with choice of beef or chicken patty, 13 free toppings, and 10 "fancy" toppings.
Chef Jennifer Jasinski takes full advantage of Spring's bounty with the Spring Vegetable Flatbread currently on the menu. The pizza includes grilled asparagus, fava beans, roasted tomatoes and pine nut pesto, fresh buffalo mozzarella and Manchego cheese, and a pea shoot salad, all atop a thick crunchy crust. There's a whole lot going on, but every single bit works well.
Brava! Pizzeria Della Strada is run out of a mobile wood-burning pizza oven with a semi-permanent home at the base of the clock tower at 16th and Arapahoe in downtown Denver.
Osteria Marco puts out very solid pizzas, including a Margherita that features housemade mozzarella. But the star of the show at this outpost in Chef Frank Bonanno's Denver culinary empire is the chili oil that sits on each table, patiently waiting to make everything it touches taste better.
Don't ask me why, but I used to get, and continue to get, inquiries about "the best pizza in Denver" and/or Colorado. I don't know what it is about the Mile High City that has pizza lovers asking for advice, but damn if the Centennial State isn't adding pizzerias at a good clip. Yesterday, the Denver Business Journal listed a number of new places opening there.
You have to love an Italian meat shop with posters of saints on the walls and a friendly neighborhood crowd and chatty counter staff, where a bag of chips with your sandwich costs 30 cents. It's the sausage sandwich at Carbone's Italian Sausage Market that's worth an order, as they make the starring meat in house, flattened into a juicy slab with red pepper flakes and fennel.
If all it took to make outstanding food were great ideas, then H Burger would be a treasure. Unfortunately, some problems with execution got in the way of greatness on my visit. The fries and the shake, however, were good enough to convince me that the burgers are worth another shot.
In researching pizza in Denver, I have yet to come across anyone who claims it's a great pizza city. Equally clear is that the past few years have seen a radical improvement in the local pizza scene, and Virgilio's certainly deserves some of the credit for that.
Today, fellow burger blogger Carsten Howitz, aka Burger Doctor, brings us his recap of last week's Denver Burger Battle. You can read more of his articles and Texas-based reviews about burgers at burgerdoctor.com. [Photographs: Carsten Howitz] At last Tuesday's Denver...
Denver seems to dominate the Centennial State for the best pizza, but great pies can be found all over Colorado. Whether you are looking for vegan pizza, a New York slice or a Colorado mountain pie, you can be sure that there is a spectacular place in the colorful state for you.
Note: It's time for another edition of Street Food Profiles. This week we scoot to Denver to meet Biker Jim and his gourmet tube steak. Biker Jim himself at the cart. [Photographs: Biker Jim's] Name: Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs Twitter: @bikerjimsdogs Vendor: Jim Pittenger Modeling one of the dogs. What's on the menu? Hot dogs made made with reindeer, elk, wild boar, buffalo, pheasant, rattlesnake, veal and a variety of rotating brat specials such as Boudin and Linguisa. Location and hours? The intersection of 16th and Arapahoe Streets in Denver (map) from 11 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m....
[Photographs of exterior/interior: encoreoncolfax.com; other photographs: Daniel Zemans] Encore Restaurant 2550 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver CO 80206 (map); 303-355-1112; encoreoncolfax.com Cooking Method: Grilled Short Order: Restaurant that specializes in local food and pretty people puts out an outstanding burger....