Pan-Latin Hot Spot
Mister Oso | 3163 Larimer St, RiNo
Blake Edmunds is a culinary heavy hitter—a chef who combines punches of acid, salt, spice, sweetness, and texture. At Mister Oso, the four-month-old little brother to LoHi’s Pan-Latin Señor Bear, located in the Populist’s former space on Larimer Street, he throws plenty of knockouts. The “congelada,” or frozen cocktail of the day, is reliably refreshing and boozy. Edmunds’ playful taco salad comes as a stack of fried corn tortillas layered with ground beef, iceberg lettuce, tomato, shishitos, and olives; finely grated Mimolette cheese tops it off. Al-pastor-style cauliflower, of all things, is nestled inside duck-fat flour tortillas with charred pineapple, pickled chiles, and tomatillo-avocado salsa. Don’t stop until you’ve had Mister Oso’s sweet and salty dessert combo: cornflake-crumble-topped cotija soft serve with guava caramel and a warm chocolate-pecan cookie.
Chicken Rebel | 3618 Tejon St, Highland
Whether you’re a devotee of Chick-fil-A or Popeyes, the fried bird sandwiches at Chicken Rebel may inspire you to alter your allegiance. Chef-owner Lydie Lovett launched the first brick-and-mortar location of her San Diego–born food stand on Tejon Street four months ago. There, you can get your fried chicken with waffles, hot sauce, and Mythology Distillery bourbon syrup; chopped and dressed with jalapeño-cilantro sauce as a salad; or served Nashville-hot-style in tacos. But we say that Lovett’s sous vide and then fried masterpieces are most satisfying when served inside a fluffy brioche bun. There are seven sandwiches available at the counter-service spot, including the Rancher, stacked with bacon, avocado, and buttermilk ranch, and the Breakfast, featuring a fried egg and honey butter. Paired with loaded tots, there’s never been a better reason to ditch the drive-thru.
Taste Of Kraków
Cracovia Polish-American Restaurant & Bar | 8121 W 94th Ave, Westminster
Lester and Maria Rodzen are hooking Coloradans on the flavors of their homeland, one platter of sizzling kielbasa at a time. The couple immigrated to Denver from Kraków in the 1980s, running a real estate agency before launching Cracovia, a community hub whose name loosely translates as “essence of Kraków,” in 2008. Since then, the unpretentious orange-walled restaurant, situated in a strip mall off Wadsworth Parkway and 94th Avenue, has satisfied locals’ cravings for hearty Polish fare, vodka cocktails, and European folk music. From the butter-drizzled potato and onion pierogi and traditional “golonka” (slow-roasted pork knuckle) to pickle soup and “golabki” (pork- and rice-stuffed cabbage rolls), every dish on the menu practically defines rib-sticking goodness.