When Dave Kilroy closed Kitchen Table in City Park West this past September, fans of his soulful Kansas City–style barbecue were relieved to learn he would resume service from a new home inside Goosetown Tavern on East Colfax. For four months now, Bluebird Theater concertgoers and area residents have embraced the relocated restaurant’s comfort fare. From a 250-square-foot kitchen, Kilroy turns out small batches of juicy-smoky brisket and pulled pork that are so good they frequently sell out (go early!). The fried chicken is a crunchy delight, and the meatloaf—a recipe Kilroy created during his mid-20s when he was hungry and broke—is a barbecue-sauce-glazed masterpiece. Vegetarians will enjoy the never-dry cornbread, creamy mac and cheese, and Kilroy’s grandma’s dill-flecked cucumber salad. Food this good feels at home anywhere. 3242 E. Colfax Ave., 303-399-9703
Denver may be the nation’s fast-casual capital—see: Chipotle, Modern Market, Smashburger—but Nepali-born restaurateur Ganesh “Eddie” Adhikari is expanding beyond that trend with his new Cherry Creek fine-dining venture, Mehak India’s Aroma. In contrast to his more casual Zaika Indian Cuisine location in Littleton, Adhikari aims for an elevated experience at Mehak. That translates to a colorful, comfortable dining room, attentive service, and delicious eats including crisp onion “bhaji” (like onion rings, in a light chickpea batter), butter chicken, “lamb pasanda” (tender lamb in a creamy cashew-coconut sauce), and some of the best naan in town. Mehak does have a daily lunch special—soup, rice, naan, an entrée, and a glass of wine or beer for about $15—but there’s nary a buffet table in sight. 250 Steele St., Suite 100, 720-638-9350
If you think late-night dining in Denver is synonymous with burgers, pizza, or Illegal Pete’s, you clearly haven’t discovered four-month-old Izakaya Ronin’s subterranean “moguri” (speakeasy). To get there, brave the construction on Brighton Boulevard, enter the restaurant on the right side of the Industry Building, and walk through the dining room (where a menu similar to the one at LoHi’s excellent Sushi Ronin is served earlier in the evening). A steel door near the bar leads down to a repurposed boiler room, now a red-lit hot spot open until midnight Tuesday through Thursday and even later on weekends. Settle in with a glass of Japanese whisky or a barrel-aged Manhattan, then dig into chef-partner Corey Baker’s Japanese pub fare: wagyu tataki, raw-salmon-topped rice bowls, and rich tonkotsu ramen. The food, drink, and vibe are sure to be just as exciting as the shenanigans you were up to before you arrived. Industry Denver, 3053 Brighton Blvd., 303-953-1602
The amount of bacon Denver-based Tender Belly distributes every week, to be consumed by pork lovers at home or at a.m. eateries such as Snooze, Denver Biscuit Co., and Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen
Dessert of Champions: The Cereal Box
Nostalgic fun reigns supreme at this cereal-and-milk cafe in Arvada’s Olde Town.
When Michael Emmerson was laid off from his job as an ad agency creative director, he looked all the way back to the Saturday mornings of his youth, spent in front of the television slurping cereal, to inspire his next move: opening the Cereal Box with his wife, Lori Hofer. The four-month-old, rainbow-hued, cartoons-blaring cafe in Arvada’s Olde Town is a whole lot more fun than your living room, however. “It’s a treat place, like an ice cream joint,” Emmerson says. From 8 a.m. into the evening hours, nostalgia seekers can choose from more than 120 varieties of sugary goodness—including rare finds such as the United Kingdom’s limited-edition Unicorn Froot Loops—and then top them with candy, fruit, and more. The cafe also offers custom blends, like the Funky Monkey combo of Golden Grahams, Honey Smacks, chopped banana, toffee crunch, whipped cream, and banana milk, as well as cereal milkshakes (using Arvada’s own Scrumptious ice cream) and drinks made with local Pablo’s Coffee. 5709 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, 720-746-9762