Best New Restaurants 2009

They are all hip, refined places to see—and be seen. But, most of all, the food is excellent. This winter, escape to one (or more) of Denver’s most fabulous new eateries for a meal that’s guaranteed to please your palate.

December 2009


1047 Pearl St., Boulder

For Boulder—and for chef-owner Bradford Heap—Salt Bistro is more than a restaurant; it's a project that gets to the heart of community. Heap bought the beloved Tom's Tavern (opened in 1959 by city councilman Tom Eldridge) last fall and spent a year renovating and restoring the space. He kept what he could, reusing nearly every surface: Old floor joists found new life in front steps and community tables; window glass and metal boiler plates became a sculptural dividing wall; and the 120-year-old tin ceiling was restored to its former glory. One last Tom's tribute can be found on the menu: The tavern burger (souped up with all-natural beef, pickled onions, and Grafton cheddar) is the only staple on the ever-changing board. The rest of the eats reflect Heap's farm-to-table philosophy, with locally inspired dishes—many of them cooked in the restaurant's wood-fired oven—lining the menu. Look for seasonal vegetables (don't miss the fire-roasted cauliflower with breadcrumbs and capers) or rotisserie leg of lamb served with an earthy ratatouille. But don't get too hung up on one dish; it's likely to be gone next week—even tomorrow—depending on available produce and product.

Hot Seat
Nab a seat at the chef's counter, which looks right into Heap's glossy kitchen.

Don't Miss
Deconstructed pork belly BLT; wood-grilled beef shoulder fillet; beignets with lemon curd

Did You Know?
Gnarled planks from a locally wind-blown tree make up both the bar and the "fire bar" (i.e., the chef's counter).