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Plantain kabobs at the recently opened Vital Root on Tennyson Street. —Photo by Rachel Adams

The Highlight Reel: June’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.


City Pretzel Company
The City Pretzel Company launched at the Slow Food Farmers Market on June 5.

Recent Openings

On June 1, Ohana Island Kitchen began serving a small lunch menu of Hawaiian-inspired eats like Spam musubi and kalua pork sliders from the window on the side of the Truffle Table in LoHi.

Rosenberg’s Bagels and Delicatessen is still closed for repairs until August. In the meantime, owner Josh Pollack launched his roving pretzel tuk tuk, City Pretzel Company, at the Source’s Slow Food Farmers Market on June 5.

The Stapleton location of Torchy’s Tacos opened on June 6. The Greenwood Village and Westminster locations will both be opening shortly.

Retrograde, a ’60s-chic speakeasy located behind a secret freezer door in Uptown creamery Frozen Matter, opened on June 6.

In early June, Franco Spatola, the owner of Dolce Sicilia Italian Bakery, opened Spatola Ristorante Italiano in the former Julia Blackbird’s New Mexican Cafe space on West 32nd Avenue.

Chaos & Cream, a mobile cart specializing in Thai-style rolled ice cream, debuted earlier this month at the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market.

Formerly known as Pino’s Neighborhood Restaurant & Pizzeria, this Cherry Hills spot relaunched as Pino’s Place on June 13. The menu focuses on Tuscan cooking and stellar house-made pastas.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill opened its Cherry Creek location on June 14.

The Pig and The Sprout
The spring vegetable salad at The Pig & The Sprout in LoDo.

Moxie Eatery in the Baker neighborhood started serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in mid-June.

Justin Cucci’s latest project, Vital Root, opened on Tennyson Street on June 15. The affordable, quick-service spot specializes in health-minded eats.

The Pig & The Sprout had a soft opening on June 17. This modern eatery—the second project from Andy Ganick, owner of the Berkshire in Stapleton—brings contemporary fare to a rapidly developing section of LoDo.

Popular fusion food truck Chuey Fu’s Latin-Asian Grub opened a brick-and-mortar location on Santa Fe on June 17. Now you can wash down that Korean beef burrito with a margarita.

Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria opened a Stapleton location on June 20. The Cuban eatery is shuttering its Boulder location by the end of June.

Harvest By Kelly Liken opened on June 21 in the newly renovated Sonnenalp Club in Edwards.

Fast-casual chain Rubio’s Coastal Grill opened a Lakewood location on June 30.

Closings

Red Octave Kitchen & Bar on Colfax Avenue closed its doors after less than a year in business.

Kyle Mendenhall
Chef Kyle Mendenhall will helm Arcana. Photo by Laurie Smith

News

Thanks to Toshi and Yasu Kizaki’s newly opened South Pearl Street parking structure, patrons of Sushi Den, Izakaya Den, and Ototo now have 200 more spots in which to park their cars.

After eight years at the Kitchen, chef Kyle Mendenhall has landed at Boulder’s Arcana restaurant.

Matt Selby, most recently of Central Bistro & Bar and Arvada’s Homegrown Tap & Dough, is now Punch Bowl Social’s regional executive chef.

Sugarmill, chef Troy Guard’s dessert-focused cafe in RiNo, has brought on Ryan Witcher as executive pastry chef. Witcher’s extensive experience in upscale restaurants the world round bodes well for the newly updated sweet and savory menus.

A slew of prominent Colorado breweries have left the Colorado Brewer’s Guild and elected to form a new organization, which they’re calling Colorado Craft Beer. Oskar Blues, New Belgium, Odell, and Left Hand are among the breweries that have jumped ship.

Poparuba, a local company that makes healthy, gluten-free packaged desserts, took first place in Samuel Adams: Brewing the American Dream Denver Pitch Room competition on June 6. They’ll compete against other winning national businesses in December to win a $10,000 business grant.

Sugarmill
New executive pastry chef Ryan Witcher has revamped Sugarmill’s dessert menu. Pictured is the Chocolate Crunch.

Williams & Graham is one of four finalists for Best American Bar Team at the 2016 Spirited Awards. Winners will be announced on July 23.

Frasca Food and Wine, Barolo Grill, and Element 47 were all featured on Wine Enthusiast’s list of the 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2016.

The Denver Cat Company has rolled out a Kickstarter campaign to fund what would be Denver’s first Cat Bar.

Longtime Panzano chef Elise Wiggins has announced she’ll open her own eatery, Cattivella, in Stapleton this fall.

La Loma has postponed the move to its new downtown location yet again. The long-running Jefferson Park staple will now open in its new Central Business District digs (the former Trinity Grille space) at the end of August.

The Viewhouse is expanding, with outposts planned for LoHi, Littleton, Thornton, and Colorado Springs.

The Snarf’s Sandwiches team has a slew of Front Range stores planned over the next couple of years—as well as a Capitol Hill location of Snarfburger.

Prodigy Coffeehouse is coming to northeast Denver. The nonprofit-run coffee shop will provide apprenticeship opportunities to young adults, and should open later this summer.

Le Central’s dormant space will become Clyde, a wine-focused, Mediterranean eatery, later this year.

Avelina
A rendering of the soon-to-come Avelina restaurant. Image courtesy of Avelina

What We’re Looking Forward to in July

The Rayback Collective (formerly known as the Boulder Food Park) is finally opening in mid-July. The indoor-outdoor food truck park features a stage for live music and a bar.

Mister Tuna, Troy Guard’s latest project, is set for a July 15 opening. The RiNo spot will focus on wood-fire grilling.

The Regional, a new project from Lola Mexican Fish House’s former chef Kevin Grossi, is slated to replace Poco Torteria in Avanti on July 17.

After an absence, Hamburger Mary’s is returning to 17th Avenue in July, but in a new location a few blocks east of the original.

The Rolling Pin Bakeshop, the long-awaited bakery project next door to Rosenberg’s Bagels, should open this July.

Miller Coors’ Blue Moon Brewery and Restaurant is nearing completion in RiNo and is set for a July opening.

River and Woods, Daniel Asher and Josh Dinar’s community-minded restaurant, is gearing up for a July opening in Boulder.

The Beast & Bottle team will open Coperta in Uptown. Chef Bob Blair of the late Fuel Cafe will be chef de cuisine.

Chef Gregory Gourdet is bringing his much-loved Portland restaurant concept, Departure, to Cherry Creek this July.

Husband-and-wife team John Broening and Yasmin Lozada-Hissom are returning with a new project, Avelina. The downtown restaurant will feature rustic fare and Lozada-Hissom’s stunning desserts.

The Monkey Barrel and Carbone’s Italian Sausage Market & Deli have teamed up for an epic return. Expect craft beer, live music, and Carbone’s legendary sandwiches at the new Sunnyside venue.

Caveau is becoming the Blueprint Bar on July 7. The new cocktail lounge is run by the DiFranco’s team.

Anointed BBQ and Soul Food has moved into Country Time BBQ’s dormant space. The spot should open in early July.


Follow assistant food editor Callie Sumlin on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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