10 Unique Eats: Denver's Culinary Hotspots
We at Denver Party Ride love to eat and we like to eat well. This article is a review of 10 of the best food places in all of Denver. They are in no particular order but all should be experienced while visiting the Mile High city. Eat and be merry!
Address: 1423 Larimer St. #010, Denver, CO 80202
Welcome to Bubu-Denver, The Fresh Revolution. Bubu is an Asian infusion concept with only all fresh ingredients promoting a healthier lifestyle. If you care about where your food is sourced and want fresh, never frozen, food packed with tons of nutrients but not all the added fat, then Bubu is the place for you! Currently Bubu has two locations in Denver but we are going to focus on the Larimer location to make this review simple.
Chef Troy Guard wanted to create a healthy spin on the build your own bowls concept. Thus Bubu was created! These meals are packed with protein and locally sourced veggies. They have pre planned bowls or you can create your own. Just choose whether you want rice, noodles, or salad mix then choose your protein and finally whatever additional ingredients you want. These can be anything from fresh avocados to blueberries. Lastly, you pick your dressing with choices like chia seed lime or soy onion. All food is made fresh daily which is great when you really want to avoid prepared grub.
Bubu also supports local Colorado farmers and offers seasonally locally sourced ingredients. Bubu also offers delivery to local areas as well as online ordering/take-out for pick-up which is cool if you want to avoid the lines. They cater too so you can get fresh organic food for your employees or co-workers instead of the usual donuts or pizza which as we all know just creates a food hangover in the afternoon!
Try Bubu today and discover the fresh difference all while supporting our Colorado farmers!
#2 Atomic Cowboy
Address: 141 S Broadway St., Denver, CO 80209
This place is awesome! Why? Well, they have a very unique spin on the normal bar food. The owners of this pub and grub didn’t go with just any type of food on their menu. They partnered with two amazing food truck vendors, Denver Biscuit Company and Fat Sully’s Pizza. Atomic Cowboy is celebrating their third location opening which is a testament to doing things right!
They currently serve Denver Biscuit Company breakfast until 2PM on weekdays and 3PM on weekends and then the menu changes to Fat Sully’s Pizza for the afternoon and evening. How cool is that? You can get an amazing southern style super filling breakfast and then come back that evening for a beer and a slice of NY Style Pizza! Through the whole day they operate as a full bar so you can also order the Atomic Bloody or Mom’s Adult Iced Coffee with your breakfast and enjoy the rotating taps at night.
As a pretty cool added bonus, if you really love the food here, and you will, you can actually rent out one of the two food trucks for your wedding, corporate event, football Sunday or just for a get together at your house with friends. Don’t waste another moment and check this place out! Come for breakfast, go home and sleep it off and then come back for dinner and a beer! Just make sure to get there early as the lines for breakfast can be up to an hour wait!
#3 Maria Empanada
Address: 1298 S Broadway Ave., Denver, CO 80210 80123
Have you ever had Argentinian food? What about Empanadas? For those who aren’t sure what an Empanada is, it’s stuffed bread or a pastry that is either baked or fried. Whether you have had them or haven’t, you need to try Maria Empanada. This place is located conveniently off South Broadway in downtown Denver. They serve empanadas, tartas and Spanish tortillas but their claim to fame is definitely their empanadas. Hand rolled daily with only the freshest of ingredients, these little pockets of greatness come in a number of different options from beef classic to a vegan veggie. Beyond the food, they also have delicious drinks! They serve alcoholic beverages but they have this amazing café con leche we thought was amazing. We even ordered one to go along with a Tarta.
If you are worried a little puffed pastry isn’t going to fill you up then think again! The portions here are large and you will definitely leave full! They have Vegan options for those so inclined and have a great outdoor patio if the inside gets too crowded. Many people know about Maria Empanada’s so there could be a wait for you but it’s amazing how fast the food comes out. When we ordered, it wasn’t long after we sat down that our food was coming out. A little added bonus while we were there was the live band serenading the crowd with Argentinian music. It made for a fun and inviting atmosphere.
The founder, Lorena Cantarovici, set out to provide 100% authentic Argentinian food baked from scratch. You will be hard pressed to find any Argentinian food in the Denver area that comes even close to the quality Maria Empanada has.
#4 Las Tortas
Address: 5307 Leetsdale Dr., Denver, CO 80246
Boy, if you are a Mexican food fan then you absolutely, no doubt about it, have to stop in to Las Tortas, located off Leetsdale near Alameda. A definite hidden gem of a place as it’s in a strip mall location off the busy street of Leetsdale, but STOP! You will not regret it. The servings are huge, the atmosphere is busy and upbeat, the selection is just enough and even if you don’t know Spanish and don’t fully understand the menu, close your eyes and point, whatever you order will be delicious!
Walking into Las Tortas, you are transplanted straight into Mexico. Music is playing, huge Mexican flags adorn the walls along with a ton of other authentic Mexican décor. They serve completely authentic Mexican cuisine. We at Denver Party Ride have never eaten at a place this authentic and delicious in probably forever and that’s because there really isn’t anything that compares. What is a Torta you ask? Tortas are described as a Mexican sandwich served on an oblong roll called a Telera around 6 to 8 inches. It’s toasted and served hot and it’s delicious. Choose any type of Torta you want. Personally we prefer the Chorizo and Fried eggs, but to each their own!
Las Tortas was founded by Guilllermo Campillo and Tymen Schreuder and is based on the kind of Tortas one finds in Guadalajara Mexico, the home of Campillo. The goal of these two geniuses was to bring completely 100% authentic Mexican tortas from their home town and they definitely nailed it. We tried several Tortas including the Lorena Herrera and the Lambada, both mouth-watering good. These portions are no joke! You may want to take some home it’s so filling but ours never made it out the door!
Las Tortas is also all about the environment which is really cool. They recently replaced all their light bulbs with energy efficient ones, have a recycle container next to every garbage can in the store, as well as having to go containers that are biodegradable and recyclable. Enjoy a Torta with a cold Mexican beer to complete the experience. If you want to avoid the thousands of Mexican chain stores in Denver, get over to Las Tortas for a totally different experience. Open 7 days a week so you have no excuse not to try your first Torta! YUM!
#5 Butcher Block Cafe
Address: 5000 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216
One of the coolest hidden gems you will ever find in Denver has to be the Butcher Block Cafe. Before we at Denver Party Ride had heard of it, we actually passed it on the street multiple times before ever stopping in the location on Washington. Best decision ever! Butcher Block has that hole in the wall type of look to it but once inside, you will find yourself in a vintage diner with lots of seating and welcoming atmosphere.
Butcher Block Café has been family owned for over 30 years now. The three founders, the Michel brothers came from a small town in North Dakota and wanted to build a diner with a small town feel to it. You know, the kind of place that has a ton of locals in it, bottomless coffee, and a bunch of smiling faces. They now have three great locations in the Denver area!
The food is delish. One of their key sellers is their homemade cinnamon rolls so be sure to get one while there. They are only $2.50 and are downright huge! What most people do is order their food and then a roll to go! We also tried their smothered breakfast burritos and if you are anything like us, anything smothered in any type of cheesy substance just makes our stomachs growl. Definitely will be back for one of those again. One burrito is only $2.50 so the price is right as well!
Butcher Block Café serves both breakfast and lunch with a wide menu including burritos, omelets, pancakes, burgers, sandwiches, steak, roast beef, soups and deserts. They close daily at 3:30PM so be sure to get there or you will miss out! We recommend coming right before the lunch crowd and right after the breakfast crowd for the best experience. This place can get busy but the food always comes out hot and right on time!
#6 Aiko Pops
Address: 6715 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood, Colorado 80214
Wow, if you are looking for one of the best date ideas in Denver then you really need to check out Aiko Pops along Pearl Street. This place is booming and just getting bigger and bigger as people keep mentioning it to their friends. It’s basically a Popsicle shop that serves some of the best sandwiches and soups in Denver not to mention their famous popsicles!
Aiko Pops was founded in 2011 and is family owned and operated. They have a ton of flavors to choose from and new ones being created all the time. With flavors like avocado orange and honey blue cheese, this is not your ordinary Popsicle! Got a 4 legged furry friend? Bring them to Aiko Pops as well. They are completely dog friendly! Aiko Pops is open 7 days a week from 11 am to 8 pm. It’s two blocks from the light rail and there is usually plenty of parking along the street if you drive. A cool little feature of this gem of a place is they also cater for any event. Want these at your wedding or a corporate event? You can hire them to customize the flavors for your specific event and be there to hand out to your guests! You can also buy in bulk or at wholesale for an event if you like as well. Aiko Pops not only has a storefront on Pearl Street in Denver, they are also being sold by a number of local businesses and can also be found at Denver area farmers markets. All popsicles are all organically made with fresh locally sourced ingredients.
Take your special someone out for a unique desert and try Aiko Pops today!
#7 Hutch & Spoon Cafe
Address: 3090 Larimer St., Denver, CO 80205
If you’re looking for the top breakfast brunch hangout in all of Denver then it’s an absolute must to check out Hutch & Spoon Café located at Larimer and 31st. For those a little more familiar with Denver, Hutch & Spoon Café is located in the old chariot building, circa 1884 for those that are curious. This little café has been around since ‘09 and has been packed ever since! They serve breakfast, brunch and lunch. As is to be expected the place is only until 4PM on weekdays and 2PM on weekends so make sure to get up and get in there early so you don’t miss out!
They serve up some super delicious food including all types of breakfast sandwiches and a house favorite here at Denver Party Ride, the roasted meatloaf with sharp cheddar on grilled sourdough. YUM!! The drinks there are also pretty delicious. They not only serve fresh coffee all day but also have house made sodas in flavors like Almond Pear and Pineapple Ginger. All items are also available to-go so call in your order if you are on the run or like to eat your breakfast in the comfort of your own home.
Breakfast food. Who doesn’t love it? Try something different with locally sourced ingredients and taste the difference with everything made IN HOUSE!
#8 Dos Santos – Taqueria De Mexico
Address: 1475 E 17th Ave., Denver, CO 80218
Ok, so here at Denver Party Ride we happen to LOVE Mexican food. It’s a favorite of ours and not easy to find great places in the Denver area that hold up to our standards of deliciousness. To most people, when they think about Denver and food, they don’t think of tacos, burritos, or Mexican food in general, however, Dos Santos will change your mind! Located between Franklin and Humboldt on 17th, it is smack in the middle of a number of different eateries. Being virtually brand new, the cult following is amazing. Keep in mind, this isn’t your run of the mill taco stand serving up quick eats. This is high end authentic Mexican food served with top of the line ingredients. There is also a really cool vibe here. Exposed brick walls, distressed wood tables and they even serve your food on wood planks. Probably hard to picture but it’s a neat little twist. They also have ample outdoor seating as well, so take your order outside and people watch over a margarita.
A couple of our favorite menu items are the Chorizo-Camote Hash tacos which is sweet potato and house made chorizo hash with scrambled eggs on a corn tortilla and the Del Mar tacos which are beer battered shrimp (or fish) with a hot aioli and veggies. They also serve raw options like the OMFG (yes you read that right!) tacos which have raw tuna, limo cilantro aioli, avocado and veggies. Is your mouth watering yet?
Did we mention happy hour? Everyone loves happy hour and Dos Santos has a great one with delicious margaritas and other house cocktails. Try Tommy’s Margarita with some chips and guac. You won’t be disappointed!
Address: 2715 17th St., Denver, CO 80211
Postino-LoHi has only been at this location for a couple months but it is already the 5th location for Postino and there’s a reason! Conveniently located at 17th and Tejon, this new location boasts an amazing indoor and outdoor setting with a cool atmosphere for date night or wine night with the girls. Postino began in 2001 and was a local Wine Café. They kept that tradition of being a unique local stop by opening up different locations each set in historical buildings that kept that neighborhood feel to it. This one is set in an old book bindery building and they kept a little of that vibe with a wall of books, comfortable seating and exposed brick walls. It has the feel of being in a downtown loft.
Why do we here at Denver Part Ride love Postino? Well, there is one special that brought us in the door and that’s their Monday and Tuesday night wine and bruschetta board for only $20! No friends, this is not a glass of wine, this is a whole bottle of wine! I mean, where can you find a deal like this in all of Denver? There are over 10 different types of bruschetta to choose from including selections such as Tomato Jam & Fresh Sheep’s Milk Cheese and Burrata, Bacon, Arugula & Tomato. Sound delicious? Postino-LoHi also has other great specials like $5 wine by the glass (on all wines, not just house!) or beer pitchers before 5PM.
The staff is excellent, the ambiance exceptional, the specials are some of the best in all of Denver, so really there is no reason to not stop in!
#10 First Draft Taproom + Kitchen
Address: 1309 26th St, Denver, CO 80205
Brand new, one of a kind location right here in Denver! Have you ever been in a self-service bar? Well at First Draft Pour House you can pour your own ounces of wine, beer and cider in this cool new concept bar. You start out by receiving a wristband which tracks your whole evening of consumption. Just hold the wristband up to the screen above the tapper you wish to pour and it tracks and bills you when you are done for the night. This concept makes it easy to try a large variety of beverages. First Draft Pour House is conveniently located off Larimer and 26th in the River North district of Denver. This by the ounce concept has been used by wine bars for years but First Draft is the first place to do this with beer and cider as well as wine and we LOVE the idea! They have a rotating selection of forty craft beers, wines and ciders which we think is quite a few to choose from. The idea is to give people the opportunity to sample the best beverages they can get their hands on including a lot of local breweries but also some that are highly sought after outside of Denver. Once you find something you like, have a few extra pours. We most certainly didn’t get to try them all but not for lack of effort! You can even soak up some of those ounces with great tasting small plates and shareable items from their kitchen. They have it all and it’s been specifically planned out to go well with their alcohol selections. Try an ounce of each or 10 of one. Don’t get stuck with a pint of something you don’t like. You pay by the ounce!