What can we expect from Denver restaurants opening in 2020? More one-stop shops, out-of-town transplants and neighborhood staples. By now, we all know that In-N-Out is coming, but enough about that (for a little while).
Did you know that we’re about to get three new places specializing in mezcal and tequila? And that after a few years of unstoppable growth in new restaurant centers like RiNo and Union Station, we’ll see some novel options cropping up across town, from Arvada to Aurora and Littleton?
Of course, there will be more food halls, more Italian restaurants and more chain concepts. We’re looking forward to some of those, too, and we’ll explain why. Without further ado, we present 16 of the most-anticipated Denver dining and drinking destinations coming this year. You have permission to get excited.
Northside Eatery + Market will bring another “all-day” restaurant, plus a bar and small grocery store to Lower Highland early this year. Before Northside, this prime LoHi corner was occupied by Candela Latin Kitchen, which has been closed since July 2018.
Once the space is redesigned and reopened, diners will be able to choose from a full, sit-down menu of more health-conscious foods — like grain bowls and salads — or prepared dishes to take-away for weekday lunches and dinners, or even some groceries, including fresh produce. The atmosphere will be bright, white and cool Californian.
1691 Central St., Denver, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, northsidedenver.com
Bartaco is the kind of place where everything you need to know is stated right there in the name. But this is the sister restaurant to the nationally known (and beloved) Barcelona chain, and it already has one bustling outpost nearby in Boulder. By mid-2020, Bartaco Denver will open at the base of the Alexan LoHi apartments, serving a menu of tacos, “not tacos,” rice bowls and tequila cocktails. Tacos ($2.50-$3.50) include mojo pork carnitas, roasted duck and carne asada.
2001 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, 11 a.m.-late daily, bartaco.com
Dining and drinking options have already started popping up at 9 + Co, the new mixed-use development presiding over 9th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. Throughout 2020, we’ll see this destination start to really hum with food destinations like Pizzeria Locale, Postino Wine Cafe and Gelato Boy.
The first is a popular, Boulder-based Neapolitan pizza counter. The second is an Arizona-based happy hour mecca with funky decor and more than 30 wines by the glass. Gelato Boy, also Boulder-based, churns flavors like golden milk macaroon and gooey buttercake and caramel.
E. 9th Ave. and Colorado Blvd., Denver, 9thandcolorado.com
Freedom Street is slated to become Arvada’s first food hall, opening in the Candelas development around the end of 2020. While food halls have turned somewhat trite in Denver, Arvada could probably use an injection of pizza, burgers, hot chicken and breakfast sandwiches.
Marco’s Pizza owner Nick Costanzo is currently building up the offerings and the space, according to Denverite. Existing Denver brands like The Budlong Hot Chicken and Hamburger Stan — both from the food hall Zeppelin Station — have already signed on here.
14967 Candelas Pkwy., Arvada
Fox Run Cafe will be a breakfast and lunch cafe with a modern diner vibe inside the space formerly occupied by Humble Pie. One of the more exciting aspects of this new neighborhood spot is that it comes from a first-time restaurateur who’s also a former chef at the Plimoth. Lucien Reichert and a couple more Plimoth alums should be able to transfer some of the magic of that charming Whittier/Skyland dinner destination, now with their own fresh perspective and a menu of simple daytime options. It’s coming in late January.
3550 E. Colfax Ave., Denver
Mario Vega, owner of the shuttered Mario’s Ocean Club on South Broadway, is planning a new lake-themed restaurant opening this month. The Lake House Kitchen + Tavern is a casual sit-down spot “inspired by the iconic American vacation home,” according to its website. That means chicken dinners, fish fry Fridays and “campfire” sausages on the menu.
Vega has partnered with Le Peep CEO Kevin Wessel to transform the former Littleton home of Lucha Cantina and its 1,500-square-foot patio facing Johnson Reservoir, BusinessDen reported. While there are a few places in town offering similar Great Lakes appeal or doing the Wisconsin supper club thing, this one could fully embrace the nostalgia in a suburban setting.
8026 W. Bowles Ave., Littleton, lakehousekt.com
Expect a ton of activity in Aurora this year, where international restaurants reign, and new dumpling palaces, Korean chicken joints and multicultural bakeries are always opening. About the baked goods: Third Culture Bakery arrives in early February across from the Aurora Fox Arts Center. There, you’ll find this Bay Area brand’s Instagram-famous butter mochi muffins and donuts, Thai tea custard cakes and sparkling matcha fruit infusions.
Around the same time, we should also expect to taste some new-to-Denver hand-rolled dumplings on Montview Boulevard. An offshoot of the L.A. institution Luscious Dumplings, Mason’s Dumpling Shop is run by the same family, and this will be their first Colorado restaurant.
Third Culture Bakery: 9935 E. Colfax Ave., thirdculturebakery.com; Mason’s Dumpling Shop: 9655 E. Montview Blvd., masonsdumplingshop.com
The Golden Mill is actually Golden’s second food hall — after Tributary — and it’s coming by the end of 2020. Housed in a converted livestock feed and supply store, the Mill will get a coffee shop and bar, four food vendors and a rooftop deck overlooking Clear Creek. Construction started this fall on the 6,000-square-foot development.
1012 Ford St., Golden, thegoldenmill.com
Once Avanti’s Bistro Georgette crew took over the existing Cafe Marmotte this fall and started riffing on classic French plates and cocktails, we couldn’t wait to try what was coming next. The team had always planned to turn their short-lived French restaurant experiment into an Italian restaurant in the new year. And now that time has come.
Restaurant Olivia will debut later this month in the same Downing Street space. It will feature a redesigned dining room and menu consisting of handmade pasta and other classic Italian fare. With three longtime French restaurant pros at the helm (they previously worked at Mizuna, too), this transformation should be a pleasure to taste and experience.
290 S. Downing St., Denver
Colorado-based international restaurateur Richard Sandoval is opening another Denver restaurant this spring at the JW Marriott. Toro Latin Kitchen & Lounge already has locations around the world, from Tokyo to Mexico City, but now Sandoval is bringing the pan-Latin and Asian fusion concept to Cherry Creek. It will replace the hotel’s previous restaurant, Social Fare. Expect a ceviche bar and cocktails made primarily from mezcal and tequila.
150 Clayton Lane, Denver, torodenver.com
Denver International Airport
Okay, an airport restaurant might not seem like the most exciting thing coming to town, but Denver’s airport is getting a ton of new food and drink options soon, including many locally grown concepts. Jax Fish House, Snooze, Osteria Marco, The Post Brewing Co. and Shake Shack are some to look forward to. And we can’t wait for the airport outpost of Mercantile Dining & Provision, which should land this spring in the A concourse. A bakery, market and all-day restaurant by one of Denver’s James Beard Award winners should be a real treat for DIA travelers.
A Concourse, Denver International Airport, 8500 Peña Blvd., Denver
And now, the watering holes
New York-based AvroKO Hospitality Group is behind the brands Saxon + Parole, The Poni Room, Genuine Liquorette and Ghost Donkey, which will land in Denver near Union Station this spring. The mezcal and tequila cocktail bar is known for its all-in decor, Latin beats and award-winning staff (see Time Out New York’s best bar crew in 2018). Here, we can expect drinks like the Ay Papi — mezcal, vermouth, Becherovka, hoja santa, mandarin and bubbly — and nachos in four varieties, from truffle to chicken mole.
1750 Wewatta St., ghostdonkey.com
Finally, Room for Milly, from the owners of Blue Sparrow Coffee and Queens Eleven bar, comes to Platte Street this spring. The bar will open from happy hour until late nights, and while details are still sparse, we can plan on a high-design space with cocktails and small plates.
1615 Platte St., Denver, 3 p.m.-midnight Sunday through Thursday, until later Friday and Saturday, roomformilly.com
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