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Masterpiece Kitchen's pastrami sandwich —Photo by Rachel Adams

The Highlight Reel: March’s Tastiest Food News

A monthly review of happenings in the Denver dining scene from 5280's food team.

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We know that keeping up with Denver’s ever-changing, always-growing dining scene can be challenging. For this reason, we launched “The Highlight Reel,” a monthly recap of everything you need to know about dining out in (and around) the Mile High City. We’ll talk about the month’s hottest openings and news, as well as closings and what we’re looking forward to in the month to come.

For more 5280 food and drink coverage, be sure to subscribe to our award-winning, weekly email newsletter, Table Talk.

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Recent Openings

New American restaurant Grind Kitchen & Watering Hole started serving its rustic fare in Cherry Creek on March 5.

On March 7, Justin Brunson opened Masterpiece Kitchen in the Lowry’s Hangar 2 development. Head to the spot for killer pastrami sandwiches, juicy burgers, and plates of crispy fried chicken.

The long-awaited Marion Street Tavern opened in the former Gabor’s space in Capitol Hill in early March.

Englewood Grand, a casual cocktail bar, opened its doors on March 11.

On March 11, the Midwestern Saloon started slinging booze and Midwestern-inspired eats in the former Tennyson Street Barbecue space.

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The Crafty Fox Taphouse & Pizzeria in Globeville officially opened on Saturday, March 12. With 60 beers on tap and a rooftop deck, it should be a popular warm-weather hangout.

Now you can grab a craft brew before you subject yourself to the Casa Bonita‘s food. WestFax Brewing Company opened next to the infamous Lakewood eatery on March 19.

Steuben's Arvada
Steuben’s new Arvada location opened this month; Photo by Adam Larkey

Via Perla, the latest restaurant from the group behind the Med and Brasserie Ten Ten in Boulder, launched on March 21. The eatery focuses on Italian fare and offers a solid happy hour.

Zoë’s Kitchen, a fast-casual chain that specializes in health-minded fare, opened its first location at the Southwest Plaza Mall in Littleton on March 22. There are five more locations (including one at Union Station) in the works across the metro area.

After nearly a year in the making, the Way Back finally opened softly on March 26 for drinks. The forthcoming menu of “peasant comfort food,” will include dishes like snail stroganoff.

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Steuben’s Arvada, the second outpost of the Uptown favorite, opened on March 29.

Tstreet Roadhouse, the latest from the folks behind Spanky’s Urban Roadhouse and Roadhouse Boulder Depot, debuted in Belmar on March 30.

Menya Noodle Bar started serving sushi, ramen, and tapas downtown on March 25, but the official grand opening was on March 31.

Closings

Flow Juice Bar, located next to Max’s Wine Dive, has closed its doors.

Health-oriented chain LYFE Kitchen shuttered its Boulder space. The Park Meadows location remains open.

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South Broadway’s The Crown Social has halted operations following a dispute with the property owner.

Capitol Hill’s Gypsy House Cafe closed on March 14.

After 44 years on Capitol Hill, Pete’s Cafe & Steakhouse closed in March.

Bean Acres
Community tables at Bean Acres’ farm dinner. Photo by Daniel Luke Holton

News

Uptown’s Onefold has rolled out dinner service on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. The evening menu features all-you-can-eat small plates like Filipino cauliflower, Chinese street sandwiches, and a dumpling flight.

Chipotle is testing a new beverage program at the Sixth and Broadway location. The new drinks include a watermelon agua fresca, hibiscus tea, sangria, and a frozen mezcal margarita. In other Chipotle news, the Denver-based company applied for the trademarked name “Better Burger” on March 30—so keep your eyes open for Chipotle to roll out of a fast-casual burger chain in the near future.

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Lime XS, a tequila bar and cantina in the Speer neighborhood, is rebranding as the $5 Buck Drinkery.

Chef Sharif Villa Cruz has taken over as chef de cuisine at Lola Mexican Fish House. He replaces Kevin Grossi, who is working on a restaurant of his own. It’s called the Regional, and it’s slated to open—close to Lola—this summer.

TimeOut names Mizuna one of the country’s best French restaurants.

The Squeaky Bean Farm & Table has partnered with Warren Tech vocational school for Bean Acres, a culinary program and farm. Bean Acres will host year-round farm dinners.

Both Alex Seidel and Frasca Food and Wine are finalists for James Beard Awards. Results will be announced May 2.

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The Kitchen’s longtime chef, Kyle Mendenhall, has moved on. There’s no word yet as to who will replace him as executive chef. In other news, the restaurant will open a Cherry Creek outpost this summer.

Jerely Kittelson
Ophelia’s Jerely Kittelson is now culinary director of Edible Beats.

Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox‘s executive chef Jeremy Kittelson has taken over Daniel Asher‘s position as Edible Beats’ culinary director. Asher hasn’t yet announced his future plans.

On March 6, chef Troy Guard was crowned “Prince of Porc” at Denver’s 2016 Cochon555. He’ll go on to compete for the title of King against nine other chefs at Grand Cochon in Snowmass in June.

In big beer news, Oskar Blues Brewery has acquired Florida’s Cigar City Brewing.

The Denver City Council committee approved a bid from Tivoli Brewing Company, Smashburger, and Tom’s Urban to proceed with a brewery and eatery at DIA.

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Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace announced three additional tenants this month: Maria Empanada, Savory Spice Shop, and Izzio Artisan Bakery & Etai’s Juice Bar.

Chain restaurant Godfather’s Pizza has announced that it will return to the Denver area this spring after a nearly two decade absence. The company also plans to open another location in the area in the future.

Kevin Morrison, the chef behind Pinche Taqueria and Poco Torteria has been busy with new projects. Not only will he open Fish ‘N Beer, a casual seafood spot in RiNo in late fall, he’s also got another Pinche location in the works for the Governor’s Park neighborhood. Aniedra Nichols, longtime executive chef at Elway’s, has announced that she’ll be joining Morrison’s Fish ‘N Beer team this fall.

Local chef Linda Hampsten will bring the Bindery—a restaurant, deli, and market—to LoHi this fall.

Allegro Coffee Roasters
The interior of Allegro Coffee Roasters’ Tennyson location. Photo by Sarah Boyum

Allegro Coffee Roasters has announced that it will open a second location inside Boulder’s Pearl Street Whole Foods.

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Kyle Foster, otherwise known as butcher extraordinaire at Rebel Restaurant and Colt & Gray, will open a sophisticated Southern concept, Julep, next winter in RiNo with his wife, Katy.

The South’s beloved Tupelo Honey Cafe heads to Union Station in late 2016.

The empty Moontower Tacos space will become another location of homegrown chain Illegal Burger.

The Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe and Brewery will bring New Jersey subs to Tennyson Street in August.

The team behind Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe will open a barbecue restaurant at the Source Hotel. New Belgium Brewing Company will open a 2,000-square-foot brewery on the hotel’s ground floor.

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Biju's Little Curry Shop
The second location of Biju’s Little Curry Shop opens on April 1 in the Berkeley neighborhood. Photo by Sarah Boyum

What We’re Looking Forward to in April

Pop’s Place, a quirky cafe from Stephen Kleinman (father of The Inventing Room’s Ian Kleinman) and Jim Pittenger (founder of Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs) will open in the former Lower48 Kitchen space on April 1. The cafe will feature eclectic eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The second location of Biju’s Little Curry Shop opens April 1 on Tennyson Street. Another location will open later this month in Boulder.

The Preservery, a fast-casual RiNo eatery, bakery, and community gathering space, will launch on April 1. This airy cafe will specialize in sandwiches on freshly baked bread, light breakfast fare, and ambitious dinner plates such as braised rabbit and halibut in saffron broth.

After getting booted from its RiNo taproom last fall, River North Brewery has announced that it will officially reopen its new location on April 2.

Huckleberry Roasters‘ Larimer Street location is transforming into Port Side. The ownership is staying the same (and you’ll still be able to get coffee), but the cafe will also serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Get a taste at the Port Side pop-up on April 2.

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The Boulder County Farmers Markets open on Saturday, April 2. This year, keep your eye out this year for Cafe Aion‘s Dakota Soifer, who’ll be serving paella at the Boulder market every Wednesday and Saturday.

The fried chicken trend will heat up (literally) with Nashville-style hot chicken when Music City Hot Chicken in Fort Collins opens April 3.

Fu*kup Nights, a frank discussion on the difficult realities of running a small business, is coming to Denver. The first event will be held at Globe Hall on April 14 and headlined by restaurateur Justin Cucci.

paella
Cafe Aion chef Dakota Soifer is bringing his paella to the Boulder County Farmers Markets. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Hosea Rosenberg and the Blackbelly Market team will open Blackbelly Butcher, a stand-alone butcher shop and market next door to Blackbelly Market on April 20.

Andy Ganick, owner of the Berkshire Restaurant in Stapleton, is opening fine-casual eatery Pig and the Sprout behind Union Station at the end of April.

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The Squeaky Bean’s Johnny Ballen will open Cochino, a modern taqueria, in Englewood sometime in April.

Roostercat Coffee will open its second location in RiNo (next door to the Preservery) sometime in April or May. This location will focus on more heavily on boutique coffee offerings than the original Capitol Hill location.

The Superfruit Republic, a healthy, fast-casual cafe is coming to Stapleton in early April. It will focus on açaí and pitaya superfruit bowls and smoothies.

The third location of Racca’s Pizzeria Napoletana opens in Lakewood (adjacent to the Colorado Mills mall) in April.

BrüFrou, a craft beer and food pairing extravaganza, returns to Denver on April 30.

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