The local culinary scene has never been brighter. This year’s crop of new restaurants is vibrant, relevant, and, above all, delicious. Book your table now.
The Universal has taken a Sunnyside location that has been forever awkward (remember Gelman’s Restaurant & Bar, Boston Fish Shack, Stingray Lounge, and Coop de Ville?) and reworked it into a sunlit, whitewashed destination for breakfast and lunch. Textured poured concrete on one wall and a huge American flag on another impart the wholesome feel of modern Americana. That balance of old and new spills over into chef Seth Gray’s enlightened Southern dishes. Order the spectacular grits—either as a side or as a du jour entrée (pork green chile one day, Korean beef barbecue the next). Dig into the scrambles heaped with goodies like savory-sweet chicken-apple sausage, caramelized onions, and chèvre. Try the chicken confit with collard greens and a wedge of cornbread. Food here is big, soul-stirring, and focused. Even the unexpected tempeh banh mi (you read that right) will find fans with its bright, fresh, and satisfying flavors—especially when ordered with a side of those heavenly grits.
Hot Seat: The bar puts you squarely in the middle of the neighborhood crowd.
Don’t Miss: Grits, cornbread huevos rancheros, banh mi
2911 W. 38th Ave., 303-955-0815, theuniversaldenver.blogspot.com