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Risë Jones and Louis Freeman, the owners of TeaLee's. Photo by Sarah Boyum

Where Our Food Editors Are Eating, January 2020

Upscale Thai, artisan teas and lemon bars, and experimental whole grain goodies from Kelly Whitaker are all on the menu this month.

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1. Date-Night Destination

Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar | 1700 Platte St. Suite #140, LoHi

Chef Ounjit Hardacre and her husband, Duane, the co-owners of Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar (and Citizen Thai in Golden), aim to prove that the food of Thailand is suitable for more than casual dining. Their four-month-old Platte Street restaurant makes their case via beautifully plated dishes inspired by Hardacre’s roots in Western Thailand’s Kanchanaburi and her experience cooking in San Francisco—with a craft cocktail program and elegant environs to match. Head to Daughter Thai and test their theory: Settle onto a blue velvet bench flanked by flowing curtains or ask for a spot beneath the dancing woman mural that dominates the dining room. Order a Thai Fashioned made with peanut-infused bourbon; sticky, glazed Bangkok-style pork ribs and larb made with frog legs; and the deep-fried whole striped bass. A meal this good deserves more than takeout.

2. Homey Hospitality

TeaLee’s Teahouse and Bookstore | 611 22nd St, Five Points

It’s not every day that a pit stop for a cup of tea earns you two new friends, but that’s the norm when you’re sipping at TeaLee’s on the corner of 22nd and Welton streets. Enter the snug space and you’ll be greeted by owners Risë Jones and Louis Freeman. Jones brews beautiful loose-leaf teas and serves simple yet satisfying fare, from cheesy broccoli quiches and green salads with Darjeeling vinaigrette to warm scones and tart lemon bars. When Freeman isn’t chatting with customers, he curates TeaLee’s book collection and retail sundries, which include jewelry, artwork, and chocolates. The couple opened the teahouse two years ago to provide the Five Points community with a gathering place—and they’ve been turning guests into family ever since.

Socca (chickpea pancakes) at Brutø. Photo by Lucy Beaugard

3. Snack & Shop

Brutø/BØH | 1801 Blake St, LoDo

Chef-owner Kelly Whitaker (Basta, Dry Storage, the Wolf’s Tailor) likes to push boundaries. At Brutø, his new retail-hospitality experiment in the Dairy Block, he does so by merging his signature wood-fired, grain-focused cooking with a bubbles-centric drink list—and the ability to enjoy both while perusing Free Market’s high-end shops. Or, grab a seat at Brutø and nibble on oysters, “socca” (chickpea pancakes), masa-flour calzones stuffed with al-pastor-style pork and pineapple, and popcorn crème brûlée. Also swing by sister concept BØH—Whitaker’s coffee counter/test kitchen/grain mill, located off the Dairy Block alley—for bags of fresh flour and polenta, onigiri, pastries, vegan soft serve, and Devoción espresso drinks. It’s an eclectic lineup, but it works.

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