Top of the Town 2015: Dining

The best places to order pizza, breakfast, juice, Korean food, pie, sandwiches, and more.

June 17 2015, 2:46 PM

—Steuben's; Photo courtesy of Kari Cummings Photography

Pie

Editors’ Choice
The Post Brewing Co.
In an era of food trucks, subway restaurants, and pop-up dinners, we’re not that surprised that the metro area’s best pie can be found in a brewery. Big Red F Restaurant Group—the folks behind the year-and-a-half-old Post Brewing Co., a neighborhood-beer-house-meets-eatery in Lafayette—knew what they were doing when they hired John Hinman. For years, the pastry chef has made some of the city’s butteriest crusts (at esteemed venues such as Vesta Dipping Grill, Jax Fish House, and Lola). Grab a seat at the Post’s bar and order a slice from Hinman’s changes-on-a-whim selection; the picnic-perfect cherry pairs neatly with the Big Rosie Porter’s bitterness and acidity. 105 W. Emma St., Lafayette, 303-593-2066

Readers’ Choice
Humble Pie Store 720-479-8690


Fresh-Pressed Juice

Editors’ Choice
The Corner Beet 
Many eateries have jumped on the juicing bandwagon, but that doesn’t mean finding a truly nutritious sip is easy. Cue the Corner Beet. This bright, 11-month-old juicery and vegetarian cafe cold-presses juices (sold under the name Gypsy Juice) using fresh—as in, live wheatgrass—organic, and local (whenever possible) ingredients every morning. The popular Bon Vivant, an earthy green option, is always available, but we typically opt for the ever-changing seasonal blends. Little wonder Zagat named owners Nikki Hazamy and Donna Dempsey among the state’s “rising-star food artisans” last year. 1401 Ogden St., 720-295-4447

Readers’ Choice
Pressed Juice Daily 1111 N. Broadway, Suite 101A; 1219 E. 36th Ave.; 303-296-1234


Bakery

Editors’ Choice
Wooden Spoon Café & Bakery
Let your nose lead you to this quaint Highland bakery, where scents of freshly baked treats waft out the front door. Find sugary proof of the bakers’ exceptional skills with a bite of a creamy éclair or a sweet and crumbly blueberry scone or an unforgettable cherry Danish. At husband-and-wife Jason and Jeanette Burgett’s five-year-old bakery (the duo earned their foodie chops in restaurants from New York to North Carolina), everything is fresh and the menu changes with the seasons, meaning there’s always a new reason to stop in. We’ll be right ahead of you in line. 2418 W. 32nd Ave., 303-999-0327

Readers’ Choice
Nothing Bundt Cakes multiple locations


Steak

Editors’ Choice
Argyll Whisky Beer
This 13-month-old Uptown gastropub understands that steak is not a sacred cow (no matter Denver’s ranching roots). Argyll’s California-bred shoulder tender—served alongside dipping bowls of green peppercorn, horseradish cream, and chimichurri—taps into the shared-plate trend for an engaging variation on Denver’s signature dish. The peppery char and tender, juicy center are perfect on their own, but we suggest pairing it all with a Thoroughbred—an old fashioned with smoked black tea and grapefruit bitters—for a meal even the pioneers would have been proud of. 1035 E. 17th Ave., 303-847-0850 

Readers’ Choice
Guard and Grace 1801 California St., 303-293-8500


Barbecue

Editors’ Choice
Ragin’ Hog BBQ
Barbecue is a full-time job for Ragin’ Hog co-owner and pit master Colleen Van Tuyl. The Arkansas native starts cooking at 4 in the morning and makes another batch of ribs, smoked chicken, and hot links around 10 a.m. Arrive too late in the day to this seven-month-old Berkeley joint and you’ll likely find a “sold out” sign in the window. Van Tuyl refuses to tarnish her Southern-style ’cue (or handmade baked beans, mac and cheese, and collard greens, served in Styrofoam containers per long-standing Southern tradition) by reheating it. That probably explains why the fare is so juicy you can easily devour it sans sauce. But why would you, when Van Tuyl spent six months devising five varieties, from sweet to faintly spicy, from scratch? 4361 Lowell Blvd., 303-859-6003

Readers’ Choice
Brothers BBQ multiple locations


Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Editors’ Choice
Four Friends Kitchen
Hangryadj. a state of frustration and anger brought about by hunger and low blood sugar. See also: that snarling toddler in the restaurant booth next to you. Four months ago, when Four Friends Kitchen opened in Stapleton, families who had long sought a kid-friendly breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot in the area rejoiced (limited dinner hours are coming soon). If Junior needs to eat as soon as you’re seated, servers are happy to get pint-size portions of the kitchen’s best out pronto. Choose from a roster of Southern comfort food—“a modern take on Grandma’s recipes”—that includes everything from gooey chocolate-chip pancakes to tender smoked-brisket hash. And don’t fret if the breakfast rush means a wait; just trot up to the rooftop for yard games (for them) and a mimosa (for you), or hang out in the entryway and find distraction in a wall of Etch A Sketch screens (for everyone). 2893 Roslyn St., 303-388-8299

Readers’ Choice
Mici Handcrafted Italian 
multiple locations


Vegan

Editors’ Choice
Beet Box Bakery and Cafe
Finding a satisfying vegan sandwich that goes beyond grilled veggies or hummus can be a frustrating challenge. Beet Box makes it easy. The unassuming spot sells some of the best vegan doughnuts (and dozens of other treats) in town, but the sandwich menu’s six big-on-flavor options are the real animal-product-free scene- stealers. The banh mi (stacked with marinated tofu, spicy pickles, shredded and pickled carrots and onions, cilantro, and house-made vegan mayonnaise on a baguette) and the chickpea of the sea (a welcome riff on the tuna sandwich) are our go-tos. Sandwiches are only $6.50 to $7.50, and portions are so large you’ll walk away with dinner, too. 1030 E. 22nd Ave., 303-861-0017

Readers’ Choice
Watercourse Foods 837 E. 17th Ave., 303-832-7313


Distillery

Editors’ Choice
Golden Moon Distillery
Choosing a top distillery in our booze-soaked state ain’t easy, but Golden Moon earns the honors for creating what no other spirit maker in the country has: a delicate crème de violette liqueur distilled (not mashed) from most of the plant. That’s a worthy accomplishment, but we also dig this seven-year-old Golden distillery because it’s the very definition of old-school. Co-owner Stephen Gould uses nine antique stills and pulls inspiration from recipes dating as far back as the 1500s to create his line of 14 spirits. All things considered, it’s no surprise these handcrafted liquors have been showing up on more backbars around Denver, including those at Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen, Green Russell, TAG, and Z Cuisine. To sample the full Golden Moon array, visit its year-and-a-half-old speakeasy in Miner’s Alley, a beerless bar where the only drinks available are made with Golden Moon spirits. Don’t leave without buying a bottle of your favorite. 412 Violet St., Golden, 303-993-7174

Readers’ Choice
Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey 200 S. Kalamath St., 303-296-7440


Specialty Market

Editors’ Choice
Nooch Vegan Market
As regular shoppers for specialty diet items, we consider Nooch Vegan Market grocery store heaven. At this vegan emporium just off South Broadway, tofurkey, flax milk, and plant-based cheeses are the norm. The small market features super-fresh produce, specialty products we can’t seem to find all in one place anywhere else in town—like coconut bacon (we won’t lie and say it’s as good as the real thing, but it’s a yummy alternative)—and even pints of seasonal flavors like vegan mint chip from nearby Sweet Action Ice Cream. Eat your (no animal product) heart out. 10 E. Ellsworth Ave., 720-328-5324

Readers’ Choice
Marczyk Fine Foods 
770 E. 17th Ave., 303-894-9499; 5100 E. Colfax Ave., 303-243-3355


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—Images courtesy of The Corner Beet, Carmel Zucker, Danielle Lirette, and Rick Souder


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