What a difference a year makes. Denver’s restaurant scene is in the midst of a big transformation—you won’t want to miss a single bite.
—Photography by Carmel Zucker
2 Acorn (new to the list)
If you were to define a restaurant by its personality, Acorn would be the rowdy hipster with a grounded sensibility. The year-old eatery defies the rules in every way: Executive chef and co-owner Steven Redzikowski’s food is more fine dining than it is casual, and yet his dishes are delivered by jeans-clad servers against a backdrop of graffiti-covered walls. Blue-collar details such as chicharrónes (house-made, of course) accompany sophisticated ingredients like Ibérico ham. Fried pickles share menu space with house-made squid ink tagliarini. This mashup of informal and refined can be difficult to execute, but Acorn does it flawlessly, every day. We’re not the only ones noticing: In August, Bon Appétit named the year-old RiNo resident one of the 50 best new restaurants in the country. 3350 Brighton Blvd., 720-542-3721, denveracorn.com