If the only way you’ve experienced Lakewood is staring out your car window as you zip west on I-70 to the mountains, you’re missing out. This suburb has a solid, surprisingly diverse selection of restaurants to choose from, including top-notch hole-in-the-walls to fine-dining bastions.
Here are our 11 favorite places to eat in Lakewood.
240 Union has set the standard for Lakewood fine dining since 1989. The ever-changing seasonal menu features dishes such as pumpkin seed-crusted mahi mahi with cranberry brown butter and chipotle sweet potatoes, as well as pastas, pizzas, and shareable appetizers. Be sure to stop by on Sundays for Prime Rib Night, where the $18 protein is slow roasted in the wood oven and then carved to your liking. 240 Union Boulevard, 303-989-3562
This 26-year-old Lakewood favorite thrives under the care and attention of Italian-born owner, Elisa Heitman. The kitchen’s most popular dish is gnocchi in cream sauce, which became (regionally) famous after a rave review by former Rocky Mountain News food critic, Bill St. John. The restaurant just moved into a larger space next door to its old one, offering a 14-seat, full-service bar and a new cocktail menu. Heitman’s charming black and white family photos—brought over from the previous space—adorn the new walls. 11068 W. Jewell Avenue, 303-988-6863
Chad’s menu hasn’t changed much since its inception in 1982—big, beefy Angus burgers and succulent rotisserie chicken are staples—but the beverage menu has grown. The sports bar now has 14 taps of mostly Colorado craft brews, including its very own Chad’s House Ale brewed by Odell Brewing Company. There is also a Colorado and Kentucky Bourbon list and a much larger wine selection. On the food side, we love the pepper-crusted steak medallions and the Grown Up Mac & Cheese made with smoked gouda, sun-dried tomatoes, and a parmesan crust. In shot, Chad’s is a wonderful place to eat, drink, and watch the game. 275 Union Boulevard, 303-988-5666
This small diner on West Colfax Avenue serves up Vienna all-beef hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches with a side of sass. You’ll quickly overlook the rough-around-the-edges service once you’re rewarded with a juicy, messy Italian beef sandwich on an imported-from-Illinois Turano Baking Company roll. It’s exactly the kind of sandwich that founders Joe and Luanne Margotte missed when they relocated to Lakewood from the Windy City in 1995. The restaurant also serves Chicago delicacies such as Fannie May candies and Salerno butter cookies. Bonus: You can buy the dogs, Vienna Poppy Seed Buns, giardiniera, and celery salt here if want to make authentic Chicago-style dogs at home. 6680 West Colfax Avenue, 303-233-0500
This popular Lakewood coffee shop moved into a bigger, brighter space in the Belmar Shopping District three years ago. Thanks to the addition of a massive sidewalk patio, patrons can now spend even more time lingering over lunch or brunch (the café closes at 3 p.m. daily). Don’t miss the Classy and Sassy sandwich, which features sliced prosciutto, Manchego cheese, habanero-fig spread, honey mustard vinaigrette, and spring greens between a toasted hoagie roll. Get a cup of smooth tomato-basil soup on the side. 7323 West Alaska Drive, 303-984-5447
The welcome heat of the 900-degree wood-burning oven greets you as you walk into tiny but wonderful Pizzeria Lui. This four-month-old spot serves Neapolitan-style pizzas alongside a small list of craft brews and wines. The 14-inch pies feature tender crusts with a slight char, adding smoky goodness and crunch to each and every bite. Try the Lui, a white pie with salami, fragrant rosemary, fresh mozzarella, and parmesan. 5380 West Mississippi Avenue, 303-922-3202
TOTT, as it’s colloquially known, is hidden in a strip mall on the corner of Alameda Avenue and Garrison Street. While the kitchen serves a wide variety of regional Asian dishes ranging from Indian to Japanese, its quality food and reasonable prices make it one of the best take-out (and delivery!) spots in Lakewood. We return again and again for the Thai ginger chicken with spicy fresh ginger, bell peppers, and mixed vegetables in a sweet Thai sauce. 9208 West Alameda Avenue, 303-987-3360
This former auto repair shop was one of Lakewood’s first gastropubs when it opened in 2011. The bar has 35 taps of craft beer, including local favorites such as New Terrain’s Lost IPA and Tivoli’s Helles lager. Start your meal with the savory parmesan truffle tots, then dig into the Melted Monk, a grilled cheese sandwich made with imported Chimay cheese, apples, and honey-caramelized onions on grilled cranberry raisin walnut bread. Bonus: Live music on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. 1990 Youngfield Street, 303-237-1002
This pub took over the space of Union Brasserie in 2014 and has grown a steady Federal Center following, recently expanding the restaurant space and more than doubling its tap lines. While the kitchen serves nightly specials like prime rib (Wednesday) and fish fry (Friday), we can’t go without ordering the smoked tomato caesar salad. Of course, the best time to hit Westrail is during happy hour (Monday–Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.) which features $1.95 pints of Colorado beer (from the likes of Coors Light, Oskar Blues, Colorado Native, and Upslope Brewing Company) and the small but mighty $1.95 house margarita. 195 South Union Boulevard, 303-986-2200
If you’re a gyro lover, make your way over to Yanni’s on West Colfax. The lightly spiced lamb is cooked in a traditional gyro broiler, piled atop soft pita bread, and served with a Greek salad and thick and creamy house-made tzatziki sauce for drizzling. Pro tip: Use any extra tzatziki for dipping the heaping pile of French fries that comes with the massive sandwich. For dessert, order a piece of house-made baklava for and be sure to load up on napkins—this nutty, sweet pastry drips with honey. 10450 West Colfax Avenue, 720-524-8164
Yes, Zest technically has a Denver zip code, but Lakewood still claims it as its own because the food is just that good. Chef Vincent Martinez opened his own kitchen after working for the Marriott Corporation for 27 years. At Zest, he sticks to Asian and Mexican fusion with a touch of Italy thrown in. Dishes like ahi tuna nachos and fried Brussels sprouts with Sriracha aïoli are just a few examples. If the weather cooperates, dine al fresco on the patio next to the herb garden. Bonus: Zest serves house-made smoothies for breakfast and lunch. 2740 South Wadsworth Boulevard, Unit A, 303-984-4722