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Say Hello to the Kernel

Popcorn has come a long way since Jiffy Pop.


Popcorn used to be reserved for movie night, but the high-fiber treat has found its way into the professional kitchen. I first saw this trend emerge two summers ago at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, but now it has hit Denver in a big way. At some local restaurants, bowls of popped kernels replace the bread basket; at others, it’s a garnish for dishes both savory and sweet. Here’s where to find the snack.



At Linger (2030 W. 30th Ave., 303-993-3120, freshly popped kernels arrive spiced with an ever-changing combination of surprising flavors, including Oaxacan mole; habanero and maple; and Madras curry and dill.

Oak at Fourteenth

Popcorn shows up on the dessert menu at Oak at Fourteenth (1400 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-3622, The cremoso—a decadent chocolate pudding—arrives garnished with Boulder Popcorn in a style reminiscent of Cracker Jack.

Tag Raw Bar

Diners at TAG Raw Bar (1423 Larimer St., #010, 303-996-2685, are greeted with “poppycock”—a complimentary dish of Asian-esque caramel corn dusted with Japanese seven spice. The starter shares space with salty-sweet, totally addictive roasted kombu chips.


Bitter Bar

At the Bitter Bar (835 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-442-3050, caramel-bacon popcorn dresses up steamed gingerbread. It’s addictive enough that the treat can be ordered (off the menu) by the bag.

Venue Bistro

During the 4:30–6:30 p.m. happy hour at Venue Bistro (3609 W. 32nd Ave., 303-477-0477, a large bowl of savory popcorn in flavors like barbecue bacon or smoky cheddar goes for just $1—and includes a free refill.

Blue Bonnet


Come summer, look for green chile-fajita popcorn—made with Rocky Mountain Popcorn Company’s white cheddar flavor—to adorn the gazpacho at Blue Bonnet (457 S. Broadway, 303-778-0147,

Summer Guide

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