101 Dining Experiences Every Denverite Must Have

March 2007

Fast food gets fancy at Biker Jim's sausage cart on the 16th Street Mall. Chat with Jim as he grills your peppery reindeer, Southwestern-spiced bison, or jalapeño-Cheddar elk sausage to order. Grab a bag of chips and a drink for the dealio price of $5. Corner of 16th and Arapahoe streets Bang! is surely best known for its meatloaf—edged in bacon and drizzled with zesty ketchup, the entrée comes with creamy mashed potatoes and gravy and sautéed spinach. The $14 price tag hardly seems steep when the portion is hearty enough for two. 3472 32nd Ave., 303-455-1117

Tom's Home Cookin' does brisk lunch business dishing up Southern favorites. The menu changes daily, but plan on the likes of gooey mac-n-cheese, candied yams, barbecued ribs, and old-fashioned Coca-Cola cake. Get there around 11 a.m. for the best selection—and bring cash. 800 E. 26th Ave., 303-388-8035

Hit up Zolo Grill on a weekday at 5 p.m. to catch a coveted seat on the patio, order a Zolorita for only $3, and dine on fire-roasted chile rellenos stuffed with fresh Oaxaca cheese and drizzled with ancho chile mole. 2525 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-449-0444

The ultimate hangover cure: Pete's Kitchen's $5.75 pancake sandwich with scrambled eggs and chopped ham between two pancakes. For simpler eats, you can't beat the thick vanilla milkshakes and crispy hash browns. 1962 E. Colfax Ave., 303-321-3139

Hit Swimclub 32's rush-hour menu on weekdays from 5 to 6 p.m., when the star of the menu, the miso-marinated black cod, costs only eight bucks. Sit at the bar and secretly scope out the artsy crowd by watching in the oversized mirror. 3628 W. 32nd Ave., 720-889-7946

Displaced cheeseheads will be right at home at Rocky Flats Lounge's Friday-night fish fries. Ranchers, cowboys, bikers, and plain old regular folk come for the huge planks of tender walleye ($15.95) and catfish ($9.95) that cross the bar in this Wisconsin-style roadhouse. Come at 5 p.m. to beat the crowds, and park it by the pool room near the Brett Favre shrine. 11229 Highway 93, 303-499-4242

It's your quintessential pizza joint/dive bar with a Midwestern twist, but the Edgewater Inn delivers the goods—namely decent pies, cold schooners of beer (try a signature "red beer"), and a place to kick back and relax. Large pizzas top out at $14.95, and the rest of the menu runs from $3.95 sandwiches to an $8.50 calzone. Go during a Broncos game, but only if you're a fan. 5302 W. 25th Ave., Edgewater, 303-237-3524

At Dazzle you find not only a swanky jazz club but also excellent (and reasonable) eats. The extensive happy hour menu offers culinary delights like tasty fried green tomatoes with roasted tomato sauce, refreshing grilled avocado with corn salsa, and goat cheese with crostinis—all for $5 each. Grab a seat at the bar, listen to the jazz wafting from the lounge, and chill. 930 Lincoln St., 303-839-5100

Mona's gets it right: Reasonably priced gourmet eats morning, noon, and night. We're fans of the huevos rancheros ($6.98), but it's the dinner menu that scores most highly. Order high-end dishes such as the savory pork tenderloin with jalapeño sweet potatoes and bacon vinaigrette for $15 and leave stuffed. 2364 15th St., 303-455-4503

We love the frankfurters at Steve's Snappin' Dogs (especially the veggie dog), but what really sells us on the place is the excellent service. Owner Steve Ballas is almost always there making the rounds, talking to customers, and offering samples. 3525 E. Colfax Ave., 303-333-7627

Love Loathe

We love green restaurants like The Kitchen and Mateo. We loathe dried-out and uninspired pastries. We've tasted too many cardboard-like croissants, desiccated brownies, and overworked scones. We love grass-fed, Colorado-raised beef.