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Julep’s rutabaga and onion tart gets a touch of sweetness for sorghum syrup, a traditional Southern ingredient. Photo by Adam Larkey

The Highlight Reel: February’s Tastiest Food News

A monthly review of openings, closings, and happenings in the Denver dining scene from 5280’s food team.


Keeping up with Denver’s ever-changing, always-growing dining scene can be challenging. For this reason, we bring you “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, subscribe to our award-winning, weekly email newsletter, Table Talk.


Haykin Family Cider
Haykin Family Cider is now serving its refined beverages in Aurora. Photo by Callie Sumlin

Recent Openings

On February 1, Kyle Foster (formerly of Colt & Gray and Rebel Restaurant) and his wife, Katy Foster (owner of Stir Cooking School), opened Julep. The hip RiNo eatery serves modern Southern fare such as deviled snails and pork and oyster sausages.

February 1 also saw the opening of Haykin Family Cider in Aurora. Its sophisticated ciders are crafted with Colorado-grown heirloom apples, and can be purchased by the glass or in 375- and 750-ml bottles for take-home.

Las Vegas-import Chubby Cattle opened on Broadway on February 6. The restaurants provides a unique conveyor belt hot pot experience.

On February 10, TeaLee’s Tea House opened in Five Points, as reported by Eater Denver. The community-oriented cafe serves beverages, as well as soups, sandwiches, and more.

New-to-Colorado dessert chain Cream opened in Belmar on February 17. The colorful, Instagram-worthy ice cream sandwiches originated in California.

Archetype Distillery
A large metal A, Archetype Distillery’s logo, decorates Archetype Distillery’s upstairs space. Photo by Sarah Boyum

Archetype Distillery opened on February 24 after months of anticipation. Many will recognize the location by the marquis outside—the building was formerly home to Kitty’s South. The new distillery and event space is pouring its own Archangel vodka and Archrival gin, as well as innovative cocktails.

On February 24, Stem Ciders expanded into Lafayette with Acreage, a new cider house, production facility, and restaurant from Daniel Asher.

The Way Back opened its new Tennyson Street location on February 27 after a six-month closure. The partners have tapped chef Jon Lavelle, a Union Square Hospitality Group alum, to run the kitchen.

Fractured Prune, a build-your-own doughnut shop from Maryland, reopened its Denver shop in Greenwood Village in February.

According to Westword, Quijote’s on Broadway has reopened, but only until mid-April, when a rent hike will force the Mexican restaurant to shutter permanently.


The Colorado Spirits Trail launched in February. The Colorado Distillers Guild’s map and incentives for trail participants aims to get folks to explore all the wonderful booze our state has to offer.

As reported by Westword, Bertha’s Baja Bistro began serving burgers, pizza, and Mexican fare in Mayfair in late February.

Wazee Supper Club
Wazee Supper Club’s sign. Photo by Jerilyn Forsythe


Wazee Supper Club, a LoDo staple since 1974, officially closed its doors on February 2. The team behind  Bar Dough, Señor Bear, and the Tap and Burger mini-chain announced that they’ll open a French restaurant in the space, to be called Morin.

The White Fence Farm closed all of its carry-out locations, as reported by the Know. Its original location in Lakewood remains open.

Goose Sorenson will close Solera next month after 16 years at its East Colfax location. Westword reported that Hank’s Texas Barbecue will fill the space later this summer.

Kelly Jeun and Eduardo Valle Lobo in the Frasca Food and Wine kitchen (Photo by Mike Thurk)


James Beard Award-winning chef, Alon Shaya, will open Safta in the Source Hotel in late spring. The modern Israeli restaurant will mark the chef’s first project outside of New Orleans.

Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine welcomed two new co-chefs this month after a year-long search. Kelly Jeun and Eduardo Valle Lobo join the award-winning team after stints cooking throughout Europe, most importantly in Friuli Venezia-Giulia.

The James Beard Foundation announced its semifinalists for the 2018 James Beard Award, and Colorado scored eight nods.

(from left) Row 7 Seed Co. co-founders Matthew Goldfarb, Michael Mazourek, and Dan Barber. Photo by Johnny Autry

Two Colorado chefs—Kelly Whitaker (Basta and soon-to-come Wolf’s Tailor) and Caroline Glover (Annette)—have been tapped to grow seeds for Row 7 Seed Company. New York chef and visionary Dan Barber started Row 7 to support plant breeders developing new varieties of vegetables and grains that are bred for flavor and nutrition.

After an extensive search, Chipotle announced its new CEO: Brian Niccol, a former Taco Bell executive, takes control of the Denver-born chain on March 5.


Berkeley’s Il Porcellino is expanding. Owner Bill Miner is leasing a new production facility in Basalt and will begin selling fresh cuts of locally sourced meats at the original shop as of this weekend. Il Porcellino also took home the Grand Champion trophy at the Charcuterie Masters competition in New York City on February 24.

Eleven Madison Park, one of the world’s best restaurants, will do a pop up in Aspen starting next December.

Cart-Driver, RiNo’s wood-fired pizza darling, announced that it will be bringing pie and more to LoHi’s Z Cuisine space, as reported by Eater Denver.

Two former Potager employees will bring Leven, a classic deli, to the Golden Triangle neighborhood.

Westword reported that Sunnyside’s Bacon Social House is planning new locations in Littleton and Westminster.

Zeppelin Station
A rendering of Zeppelin Station

What We’re Looking Forward to in March

The much-anticipated Zeppelin Station is set to open on March 12. The RiNo food hall from the team behind the Source will feature eight different eateries serving everything from Indian street food to gelato, as well as two distinct bar concepts.

Tacos Tequila Whiskey (formerly Pinche Tacos) is growing with a new location in Governor’s Park, opening March 2.

Asheville, North Carolina-import the Thirsty Monk Brewery & Pub should open its City Park West location sometime in March.

Andrea Frizzi will complete the transformation of Boulder’s Da Lupo restaurant into a second location of his Denver Central Market pizza concept, Vero, by mid-March, as reported by Westword.

For one week each, Basta (March 1-4), PMG Wine Bar (March 5-11), Arcana (March 12-18), Black Cat (March 19-25), and Mercantile Dining & Provision (March 26-31) will feature a 100% heritage whole grain dish using grains grown locally or regionally, donating part of the proceeds to Kelly Whitaker’s Noble Grain Alliance.


As part of its Escape Series, LoHi’s Señor Bear will welcome guest chef Sebastian Ramirez from Puerto Rico on March 7 for a collaboration dinner. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Water Is Life, an organization that has been worked to bring clean drinking water to the people of Puerto Rico.


Callie Sumlin, Associate Food Editor

Callie Sumlin creates stories for 5280's Eat & Drink section, manages the dining guide, and oversees 5280.com's digital food-related coverage and weekly e-newsletter, Table Talk.

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