When the Source first brought a collection of eateries, shops, and bars together under one roof in 2013, no one predicted how hard Denver would fall for food halls. Seven years later, food halls are almost synonymous with the Centennial State dining scene, popping up in nearly every neighborhood, suburb, and even mountain town.

Luckily, their popularity with chefs and restaurateurs means some of the best eats can be found in these hallowed halls. Requiring less overhead than a standalone restaurant, these communal spaces allow culinary pros to test concepts, kickstart ideas, and graduate from food truck to brick-and-mortar in an environment that attracts customers en masse. Here, we rounded up 12 of our favorite Front Range food halls—and what you shouldn’t miss at each.

Best for Foodies: Stanley Marketplace

2501 Dallas St., Aurora
Stanley Marketplace’s sprawling, 100,000-square-foot retail and dining destination, located in the old Stanley Aviation Building (at the original Denver airport), goes beyond standard food stall fare. Enjoy farm-to-table dishes from James Beard Award semi-finalist Caroline Glover at Annette; sample Mexican soul food (think: classic staples like tacos and tostadas infused with flavors from the South) at Comida; and take home a sweet treat from Miette et Chocolat, a modern patisserie from chefs Gonzo Jimenez and David Lewis. In between bites, shop the market’s retailers like Element Knife Company, a home chef’s cutlery haven, and Mondo Market, a deli selling cheese, salami, and local vittles.

Eat this: Snag the housemade-chorizo-topped nachos from Elita Specialty Market & Kitchen if they’re available, or opt for an al pastor hummus bowl—a Latin-Mediterranean fusion dish with chipotle hummus, al pastor pork, seasonal fruit salsa, and lime tahini that’s served with a chile-garlic pita.

Drink this: Pick your poison in the form of local craft drinks from Stanley Beer Hall’s pour-your-own beverage wall. (Pro tip: Fill a plastic cup to carry through the marketplace as you shop.) Or sit down at Cheluna Brewing Co., Colorado’s first Latino-owned brewery for a Lowrider Mexican Lager, a sessionable brew with a lime wedge and Tajín on the rim.

Best For When You’re Feeling Bougie: Rosetta Hall

1109 Walnut St., Boulder
For those looking for upscale global cuisine in an elegant setting—including a sun-soaked rooftop patio overlooking the Flatirons—will love Rosetta Hall, Boulder’s first food hall, which opened in 2019. The space was inspired by food halls in Madrid, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen, and features vaulted ceilings, chic light fixtures, sleek marble surfaces, and pillow-dressed outdoor lounge seating. The food also aligns with the international theme, with a bevy of vendors serving dishes that represent all corners of the globe, including Thailand, Italy, the Middle East, China, Mexico, France, and the U.S.

Eat this: Don’t miss the seasonal pasta from Amalfi, currently butternut squash agnolotti (long, rectangular ravioli) served with red currants, spiced pangrattato, ricotta, parmesan, chive-brown butter sauce, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Also try the vegan chou shou dumplings from Shanghai Moon (stuffed with Beyond meat and served with mushroom broth), or the spicy Sichuan mapo tofu.

Drink this: To pretend you’re yachting through the Mediterranean, sip on Rosetta’s Barcelona Spritz (Ramazzoti Apertivo Rosato, fresh lemon juice, prosecco, and soda), or a Rosetta Margarita (Pueblo Viejo Blanco tequila, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and simple syrup)—both just $6.50 during the daily happy hour from 4–6 p.m. Or ask the barkeep for an off-menu espresso martini—a house take on the trendy classic.

Best for Tasting International Flavors: Mango House

10180 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora
Mango House is a haven that’s run for and by members of Colorado’s refugee community, who can not only find home-cooked fare inside the Aurora food court, but also health and dental care, pharmacy and bank transfer services, and an international grocery store. Denverites can support Mango House’s mission at the food court by filling their stomachs with global eats like Kathmandu-style momos swimming in a ginger- and cumin-scented broth; spicy Ethiopian tibs with spongy, sour injera; and fresh sushi and comforting gyoza dumplings.

Eat this: Try the fall-off-the-bone-tender boiled lamb from Jasmine Syrian Food. Served with rice, salad, and tomato sauce and topped with paprika, parsley, and almonds, it’s as flavorful as it is comforting. We also love the nan gyi dok from Urban Burma: rice noodles and curried chicken topped with a boiled egg, cilantro, lime, and fried onions and served with a side of spicy, umami-packed broth.

Drink this: We recommend pairing your meal with a strong cup of Syrian Coffee from Jasmine Syrian Food, or a masala chai or mango lassi from Nepali Mountain Kitchen.

Best for People Watching: Avanti Food & Beverage

3200 N. Pecos St.; and 1401 Pearl St., Boulder
From the sky-high rooftop decks of the LoHi and Boulder outposts of Avanti Food & Beverage, patrons can peer down on the streets below. And since Avanti’s fashionable-yet-approachable ambience attracts a trend-loving clientele to match, these top-of-the-world vantage points also come with some of the Front Range’s best people watching. From your perch at either location, enjoy house cocktails from one of the four bars, as well as an endless array of dishes from the seven culinary concepts at each.

Eat this: At the Denver location, we love Tex-Mex-meets-barbecue fusion fare from Vaca Gordo (grab a spicy-sweet, tender brisket taco followed by a round of churros); as well as Knockabout Burgers’ Colorado hot chicken sandwich (a green-chile drenched take on the popular Nashville variety). In Boulder, go for Taiwanese fare like tender and crispy pork belly gua bao buns and piping hot beef noodle soup from Pig and Tiger.

Drink this: Opt for a local beer from the rotating taps menu at either spot, or go for a house cocktail. We like the Le Queen (available at both locales), a refreshing drink made with vodka, gin, elderflower liqueur, ginger, lemon, and sparkling wine.

Best for Refueling After an Outdoor Adventure: Golden Mill

1012 Ford St., Golden
On the downhill drive back to Denver along I-70, stop post-hike or après ski to quench your thirst and kick up your feet at the Golden Mill. The space has a self-pour beer hall with over 50 taps to choose from—and just as ample outdoor seating on the heater-equipped ground-level and rooftop patios. Sip on rotating suds and seltzers and refuel for tomorrow’s adventure with a bite from one of the five eateries, which have menus that span sushi, tacos, ice cream, barbecue, and hot chicken.

Eat this: Try the tender and juicy karaage fried chicken bites from Republik of Chicken, which also serves tasty, Korean-inspired chicken sandwiches and wings. We also like the spicy, roasted-pepper- and cotija-cheese-topped hot dogs from Tacos al Chile.

Drink this: With over 50 rotating taps pouring local and national favorites, it’s hard to go wrong. If beer’s not your thing, look for rotating cocktails like margaritas.

Best for Dishing with Your Bestie: Denver Central Market

2669 Larimer St.
Denver Central Market has been one of the city’s favorite gathering places since it burst onto the scene in 2016 during the early days of Denver’s food hall craze. Still a staple—and now with an outpost at Denver International Airport—DCM is a hub of culinary and social action in the heart of RiNo. Whether you need a quick bite, a lengthy catch-up happy hour, or a casual brunch with your BFF to dish about the weekend’s exploits, DCM comes through with lunch spreads, charcuterie boards, sweet treats, and cocktails for any occasion.

Eat this: For light bites, pick a pastry from Izzio Bakery (we like the Sin A Bun—an indulgent, frosting-slathered cinnamon roll). Or feast on an entrée from Lunchboxx like the Vietnamese lettuce wrap Boxx or a gochugaru-honey glazed fried chicken sandwich.

Drink this: Curio Bar mixes up comforting sippers like the Violet Hour, a sweet-tart, winter drink with plum gin, cassis, lemon and allspice. For a warmer dram, peruse the Hot Boi Winter menu, which includes cocktails made with teas and ciders.

Best for Visiting With the Family: Grange Hall

Grange fries from the Crack Shack fare at Grange Hall
Grange Fries from the Crack Shack fare at Grange Hall. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

6575 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Greenwood Village
In September 2021, restaurateur Troy Guard opened Greenwood Village’s Grange Hall, located inside a former C.B. & Potts building. With ample seating in a food-court-style setting, families can sit back, relax, and find fare for even the pickiest eaters. Vendors include many of Guard’s concepts, like Rado Burgers, Bubu, and Crazy Love Pizza, but look for outposts of California’s Crack Shack and Utah’s J. Dawgs.

Eat this: We like the Crack Shack’s Grange Fries, topped with spicy chicken nuggets, bacon, Hatch chile cheese sauce, and ranch dressing. End your meal with an order (or two) of Mrs. Guard’s Triple Chocolate Cookies from Rado Burgers.

Drink this: Quaff an original brew from the food hall’s own Little Dry Creek Brewery (we like the rotating Mile Hi-PA). For a cocktail, try the refreshing Grange Spritz: peach vodka, lemon, elderflower, basil, and soda.

Best for Kicking Back With Your Crew: Edgewater Public Market

Edgewater Public Market.  Photo courtesy of Oh Hey Creative
Edgewater Public Market. Photo courtesy of Oh Hey Creative

5505 W. 20th Ave., Edgewater
Located within walking distance of Sloan’s Lake, Edgewater Public Market’s spacious, four-building compound is home to over 30 small businesses. With 18 food stalls, there’s more than enough reason to work this collective into your squad’s regular rotation. Stake your claim at one of the common area’s large picnic tables, belly up to the bar at Roger’s Liquid Oasis, or cozy up inside the taproom at Barquentine Brewing Co., before choosing from the array of global cuisine—from ramen to arepas to New Zealand–style ice cream.

Eat this: Sample tasty vegetarian fare at Konjo Ethiopian Food—we like the gomen with dinich (seasoned spinach with potatoes), and the tikel gomen (curried cabbage with carrots and potatoes). Also try a sweet or savory crepe from Moontime Crepes, like the Cristo, made with chicken, cheddar, raspberry preserves, ham, and honey mustard.

Drink this: Choose from the approachable, familiar cocktails from Roger’s, which unabashedly encourages you to drink a cosmo, tequila sunrise, or dark and stormy.

Best for Social Distancing: Junction Food & Drink

Junction Food & Drink’s interior. Photo by JLH in Design

2000 S. Colorado Blvd., Ste. IV
South Denver’s first food hall opened in October 2020, when Denverites were looking for indoor/outdoor seating, expansive patios, and at least six feet of space between tables. Luckily, Junction Food & Drink has all of the above in abundance, as well as a 40-foot long bar (with inside and outside access), as well as 10 diverse food stalls.

Eat this: Don’t miss the stellar Japanese fare from Soon Choi, the former head chef at Sushi Den, at Junction’s Ebisu Ramen. Start with a rainbow-hued spring roll filled with shrimp, fish, and greens, then slurp up a bowl of umami-rich Black Garlic Oil Tonkotsu Ramen, loaded with braised pork belly, a marinated soft boiled egg, wood ear mushrooms, and bean sprouts.

Drink this: In addition to the solid lineup of drafts, wine, and bubbles, we like Junction Bar’s creative-yet-simple house cocktails, like the Winter in Hawaii (rye, passion fruit, lemon, and turmeric), and the Heart of Gold (reposado tequila, chocolate bitters, and orange).

Best for Going Back to Where it All Began: The Source

3330 Brighton Blvd.
When the Source opened in RiNo in 2013, it was Denver’s first food hall—and thus can be credited for launching Denver’s obsession with crowding multiple dining options together under one roof. And with two market halls, a hotel, and 45,000-square-feet of space for food, beverage, and retail vendors, the Source is still a hub of culinary action in the Mile High City.

Eat this: Don’t miss the contemporary Mexican fare from chef Manny Barella of Bellota. Get the thick and meaty shrimp taco (the tortilla is brushed with crave-worthy, shrimp butter). Or sidle up to the sushi bar at Temaki Den (from the team behind Sushi Den and Izakaya Den) to enjoy a hand roll or two while watching shoppers traverse the food hall’s main atrium.

Drink this: Warm up with an oat milk latte from Darklands Vintage and Cafe while you browse the racks of vintage clothing, which is cleverly sorted by material type—like denim jackets and waffle weaves—rather than gender or size.

Best for Getting Your Hipster On: Zeppelin Station

3501 Wazee St., Ste. 100
This three-year-old food hall from the same father-son duo behind the Source features nine culinary concepts that somehow all focus on street food—think: Mexican nixtamal street tacos and Thai black noodles. A stroll through the hall’s funky, neon-furnished interior offers eye candy for art lovers, views of Denver’s skyline, and even arcade games like Skee-Ball.

Eat this: Fill up on Filipino comfort food from Soy Pinoy; we like the lumpyiang Shanghai egg rolls with pork, shrimp, and Japanese sweet potatoes. For Latin flavors, don’t miss the crispy empanadas or an over-the-top traditional Colombian hot dog (crested with shredded chicken, ham, bacon bits, mashed potato chips, pineapple sauce, and a quail egg) from La Rola Urban Colombia Food.

Drink this: In addition to the beer and house cocktails available at Zeppelin’s drink purveyor, Le Bar, try a Colombian soda or natural juice from La Rola like the Guanabana (soursop).

Best for Entertaining Out-of-Towners: Milk Market

1800 Wazee St., Ste. 100
Anchoring the Dairy Block near Union Station, Milk Market is a central stop on any downtown Denver adventure. Chef and restaurateur Frank Bonanno opened the hall in June 2018 to house 16 of his own fresh culinary concepts serving the likes of Nashville-style hot chicken, lobster rolls, poke, and more. And with three bars—each offering their own menus of wine, beer, and cocktails—there’s plenty of options to fuel your fun, no matter what part of the city is calling next.

Eat this: Give into your pizza craving and order a prosciutto, parmesan, and arugula pie from Bonanno Brothers Pizzeria. Before heading out to shop at the Dairy Block’s retailers, take along a scoop of fresh-spun gelato from Cornicello.

Drink this: Grab a cheekily named house cocktail from the central Moo Bar like the Clovers in the Atmosphere (Drouin Calvados, peach liqueur, Aperol, and lemon), or a Bananas Foster the People (vodka, kahlua, banana liqueur, and espresso).

Riane Menardi Morrison
Riane Menardi Morrison
Riane is 5280’s former digital strategy editor and assistant food editor. She writes food and culture content. Follow her at @riane__eats.