Once upon a time, restaurants had three courses: appetizers, entrées, and desserts. But recently a smaller course—the snack—has popped up. Perfect for late nights, before dinner, or a second lunch, these eats are delectable, shareable bites of fun. They might ruin your dinner—but they’re worth it.
Crispy Pig Trotter
Colt & Gray
1553 Platte St., 303-477-1447
It’s not every day that you see pig foot listed on a menu, but we promise this snack is good for more than just a dare. Meat from the foot and hock is slowly braised, mixed with spices, and then breaded and fried, making it something like a porky crab cake. Pair a trotter with one of Colt & Gray’s cocktails (the Scotch-based Unemployed in Greenland should do the trick), and start your night off on the right, well, foot.
Salt & Vinegar Popcorn
3163 Larimer St., 720-432-3163
Not all snacks are guilty pleasures. Case in point: the Populist’s relatively healthy salt and vinegar popcorn. Chef Jonathan Power put it on the menu for guests looking for a quick bite—and now it’s here to stay. “Salt and vinegar chips have long been a favorite of mine and my wife’s, and I wanted to take that flavor and put it in a slightly different format,” Power says. The delicate tang of the vinegar against the crunchy lightness of the popcorn makes the combination downright addictive.
523 E. 17th Ave., 303-830-1001
Deep-fried nubs of braised pork shoulder rolled in powdered sugar may be unexpected, but Steuben’s sweet and salty treats are seriously habit-forming. A few years ago, Steuben’s chef Brandon Biederman dreamed up these nuggets on 4/20 as a way to satisfy munchie-craving customers. The snacks proved so popular they earned a place on the menu and became a signature item for the restaurant’s popular food truck.
3350 Brighton Blvd., 720-542-3721
Oak at Fourteenth
1400 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-3622
We can’t eat at Acorn or Oak at Fourteenth and not order the salty, crunchy, sweet fried pickles. Served with a green goddess aïoli, the snack wasn’t even originally on Oak’s main menu. “We wanted to have something for the bar, and then the entire restaurant wanted them,” chef Steven Redzikowski says. Luckily for diners at both eateries, Redzikowski acquiesced.