The Highlight Reel: February's Tastiest News

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

March 1 2016, 12:29 PM

Arcana's Oxford greens salad

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.


Recent Openings

Aloy Modern Thai opened on February 1 in the former Trillium space. The second restaurant venture from the Bangkok-born sisters behind Boulder's Aloy Thai, the innovative menu features standout dishes like pomelo salad with lemongrass dressing and Massaman curry lamb rack.

Torchy’s Tacos opened officially on February 2. The Austin-import has been attracting long lines since day one for the "damn good" Tex-Mex fare.

On February 4, Love, Peace & Sol Cafe opened in Park Hill. The eatery specializes in affordable vegan soul food. 

Aloy Modern Thai's pomelo salad

The Tavern Hospitality Group added another to its lineup with Tavern Platt Park. The South Pearl Street location opened on February 9. 

Wystone’s World Tea opened its second location in the old Grubbery space in Stapleton on February 12 with a full menu of teas, food, and alcoholic beverages.

The long-awaited Humble Pie Store opened its shiny new Colfax location on Valentine’s Day. It’s stocked with pies sweet and savory, coffee and tea, and even cocktails.

"Old American" restaurant Arcana opened in Boulder on February 15. The all-star staff, stellar ingredients, and beautiful space make this Boulder's most exciting opening in a long while. 

Edwards-based Crazy Mountain Brewery took over Breckenridge Brewery’s former headquarters back in August, but they just started serving barbecue on February 19. They also changed their name to Crazy Mountain Tap Room & BBQ.

On February 20, Globeville's Crafty Fox Taphouse & Pizzeria opened with 60 craft beers on tap on killer views from the rooftop patio.

Southern concept Bread-N-Butter replaced Limón on February 22. The space has been completely redone with more of a rustic vibe, and the menu includes vittles like fried chicken and hush puppies.

Lucile’s Creole Cafe opened its sixth location (this one on East Evans Avenue) in February. 

The White Whale Room opened softly this week at Alameda Station. This chic eatery offers coffee, cocktails, and simple bites and will be fully open for business by sometime next week.

Beer shots at LoDo's now-shuttered World of Beer. —Photo by Sarah Strohl

Closings

Fast-casual pizza chain Live Basil has closed all of its Colorado locations (the Los Angeles outpost is still open).

Live music venue and beer-focused barbecue joint Brewshine BBQ & Tap House closed in February.

After almost three decades in the biz, Lakewood’s Jus Cookin’s Restaurant has shuttered.

Cibo, a Highland brick-oven pizzeria, has closed. It will be replaced with Mizu Sushi Izakaya.

Fast-casual Slotted Spoon Meatball Eatery closed its doors this month.

World of Beer has shuttered its LoDo location. The Cherry Creek Location remains open. 

Dorchester Social Eatery is no longer. The space is now just Privé at Dorchester, a late-night dance club.

Capitol Hill’s Gypsy House Cafe will close in mid-March after more than a decade of business.

James Beard semifinalist Jennifer Jasinski. —Photo courtesy of Rioja

News

Seven Colorado culinarians are up for 2016 James Beard Awards. See the full list here.

Denver Restaurant Week is in full swing. The 12th annual celebration of the local dining scene (in which some 200 area restaurants offer three-course meals for $30 a person) kicked off on February 26, and runs until March 6.

The Kitchen’s Kimbal Musk and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck are in a legal battle over the Kitchen name.

Arvada’s School House Kitchen & Libations is closed temporarily due to an electrical fire in the kitchen. The restaurant is currently selling T-shirts to benefit their staff during the closure.

Voicebox, a Portland-based karaoke bar and restaurant is coming to RiNo this summer. Patrons can reserve private karaoke suites and nosh on bites from chef Jenson Cummings.

Colfax favorite Café Max has shifted gears a bit and is now Bar Max. You’ll still find the same top-notch coffee service, but complemented with expanded lunch, dinner, and cocktail offerings.

La Loma Mexican Food Restaurant announced that after four decades in its Jefferson Park location, it's moving downtown into the former Trinity Grill space this spring. La Loma also has plans for a flagship location near the Denver Aquarium and an additional location in Castle Rock. 

Although Cafe Max is now Bar Max, you'll still find the same delicious coffee and pastries—as well as an expanded evening menu.

The Table to Tavern Group has converted Boone’s Tavern, a sports bar near DU, into a more family-friendly watering hole called the Rosedale.

Black Black Coffee has expanded into the former ReFuel space. Now called “Black Black Coffee & Kitchen," the shop is serving a small menu of breakfast items and sandwiches (alongside cups of black coffee, of course).

The owners of the popular Lobster Bliss food truck will open seafood-focused eatery Ocean to Plate in Uptown this fall.

The Matador, a Seattle-based tacos-and-tequila concept, will open its second Colorado location this month in Fort Collins.

After Peyton Manning’s shameful post-Super Bowl Budweiser endorsement, the Brewer’s Association sent him a care package of craft suds including beer from Colorado-based breweries like Dry Dock Brewing Company and Upslope Brewing Company.

Chef Kyle Foster (butcher at Colt & Gray and Rebel Restaurant) and his wife Katy (of Stir Cooking School) have announced that they'll be opening their own restaurant, Julep, sometime next winter in RiNo. Julep will be a sophisticated Southern concept. 

Heritage pork festival Cochon555 comes to Denver Sunday, March 6. A variety of pop-up dinners (like Cho77’s Late Nite Asian Speakeasy on Friday) will kick off what's sure to be one very porky weekend.

The Ramen Mafia is bringing their ramen pop-up, Slurp, to South Broadway on March 5. Get tickets here.

What We’re Looking Forward to in March

Grind Kitchen & Watering Hole will open in Cherry Creek in early March. The spot promises a New American menu focusing on house-made burgers, sausages, and condiments.

Jeff Osaka’s much-anticipated Central Market, which is slated to open sometime this spring, has announced its lineup. The RiNo marketplace will be home to Crema Bodega (from the Crema Coffee House team), a second location of High Point Creamery, an Izzio Artisan Bakery location, Coco (a chocolate shop), SK Provisions from chef-restaurateur Sean Kelly, Silva’s Fish Market from Osaka Ramen and Sushi-Rama’s head chef Jesus Silva, Culture (a meat and cheese shop from chef Justin Brunson), the Local Butcher (a full-service butcher shop), Green Seed (a produce market and veggie-centric eatery), Curio (a bar), and Vero (a new Italian concept from Il Posto chef Andrea Frizzi).

The former Tom’s Home Cookin’ space will have a new tenant come April: Birdcall. The new restaurant from the force behind Park Burger and Homegrown Tap & Dough will focus on fried chicken.

The Kitchen has announced that it will open a new location in Cherry Creek come August.

The team behind the Med and Brasserie Ten Ten are opening Italian-inspired Via Perla in Boulder on March 21.

Artisanal ice cream from Heifer and the Hen —Image courtesy of Heifer and the Hen

Chef and brewer Ian Clark of Bru Handbuilt Ales & Eats is opening Heifer and the Hen next door to Bru in Boulder. The organic ice cream shop will feature offbeat flavors and a float bar.

In other ice cream news, Frozen Matter, an ice cream shop and speakeasy, will open in Uptown in April.

The Preservery, a bakery, eatery, and marketplace, is slated to open in RiNo in March. The restaurant will feature a fast-casual format and incorporate a variety of preserved foods into sandwiches, boards, and salads.

The ever-popular Biju’s Little Curry Shop will open its second location in Berkeley in March.

Jim Pittenger of Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs and Steve Kleinman (father of the Inventing Room's Ian Kleinman) are partnering up to open Pop’s in the former Lower48 space. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and will open in late March or early April.

After some back and forth, Mizu Sushi Izakaya is coming to LoHi. The Japanese-inspired watering hole will open in the former Cibo space sometime this summer.

Mas Kaos, a mashup between South Pearl Street eateries Kaos Pizzeria and Uno Mas Taqueria y Cantina, is slated to open on Tennyson Street in March. Plan for pizza and tacos under one roof.


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