Having recently closed Lowry’s Lucky Cat and RiNo’s Sugar Mill, Troy Guard can devote more time to three-month-old Hashtag, the latest addition to his empire (which includes Los Chingones and Guard and Grace, among other restaurants). That extra attention is paying off at the all-breakfast eatery in Stapleton’s hot Eastbridge Town Center. There, executive chef Brent Calley smokes trout and pastrami for toasts and Benedicts; bakes cinnamon rolls, English muffins, and more from scratch; and turns challah bread pudding into griddled French toast. The bright room, with its wooden honeycomb ceiling and pops of yellow, is a cheerful place, and the beverage program is equally delightful. Bloody Marys come three ways (regular, spicy, and smoky), and kombucha, vodka, and seasonal fruit makes the Fruity Cougar a drink we’d order again (despite the name). Eastbridge Town Center, 10155 E. 29th Drive, 303-993-6896
Hickory & Ash
Chef and restaurateur Kevin Taylor has opened more than 10 upscale restaurants in Denver over the past 30 years, but he’s started fresh with his latest, three-month-old Hickory & Ash in Broomfield’s Arista development. The casual spot eschews white tablecloths in favor of woodsy, muted accents like reclaimed railroad ties and ash tree logs. And Taylor has passed the executive chef torch to his son, Ryan Taylor, whose steak-house-inspired menu goes both classic (hickory-grilled, Colorado-sourced cuts; lobster bisque) and creative (short rib pastrami with Brussels sprouts and pumpernickel croutons). The young chef has left one fine-dining tenet intact, however: gorgeous plated desserts, such as the PB&J Candy Bar’s heavenly stack of chocolate cake, raspberry jam, and peanut butter mousse enrobed in dark chocolate. 8001 Arista Place, Suite 150, Broomfield, 720-390-4400
Athmar Park’s Villagran Restaurante may be a brick-and-mortar spin-off of the beloved Villa Real food truck, but the two have little in common. You can devour owner Marco Angeles’ tasty tacos at both Alameda Avenue locations (the truck resides a few blocks west of the restaurant in a Cricket Wireless parking lot), and you’ll find the same “suegras” (griddled corn tortillas stuffed with meat and cheese), but that’s where the similarities end. The spacious four-month-old restaurant offers two levels of seating, a liquor license, and an expanded menu that includes everything from tangy seafood aguachiles and “campechana” (a refreshing, cold seafood soup) to hearty favorites like chiles rellenos. The only thing the new location doesn’t offer? Villa Real’s legendary gorditas. For those—and the experience of eating them while sitting on a parking block—you’ll have to head back to the truck.
1512 W. Alameda Ave., 303-379-9927