It’s a battle to be the latest food hall to open along the Front Range these days, but, at least for right now, Junction Food & Drink is it. The collective debuts Wednesday, October 7, at Colorado Boulevard and I-25.
Dallas-based National Food Hall Solutions partnered with chef/restaurateur Troy Guard (Guard and Grace, FNG, Los Chingones and others) to fill its roster of 12 food and drink vendors with a mix of imports and local chef-driven concepts. “We wanted to have a connection to Denver and Colorado,” Junction general manager Neill Blackwood says of working with Guard. To find a good variety of cuisines for the hall, the company opened up submissions to interested potential vendors. And boy, did it get them. “More than 100 vendors wanted to come in,” Blackwood says.
What Junction ended up with is an international mingling of cuisines along with a coffee counter to get you going in the morning and an indoor/outdoor bar to, well, get you going the rest of the day and night. Here’s your cheat sheet to all the offerings currently open at Junction Food & Drink (along with what’s to come).
- Ebisu Ramen & Sushi comes from former Sushi Den head chef Soon Choi. His large menu features eight versions of ramen, a trio of bao, sashimi plates, poke bowls, and a variety of sushi rolls.
- Guard expands on his Los Chingones taco empire with Big Wave Taco. Fillings like beer-battered fish, spit-roasted pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, and charred cauliflower are piled onto tortillas for tacos and quesadillas, or tossed with greens, toasted pumpkin seeds, and black beans for a surf-style bowl.
- The second outpost of Mr. Miner’s Meat & Cheese (the first is at Golden’s Tributary Food Hall & Drinkery) brings top-notch meats and cheeses in the form of charcuterie boards, snacks, plates (hello, Hatch green chile carnitas), and sandwiches.
- Sonder Coffee and Tea opens its second location for small-batch coffees and loose-leaf teas. It opens at 7 a.m. to energize commuters with caffeine and pastries.
- Kuwait-born Yaser Khalaf brings spit-roasted lamb and chicken to Shawarma Shack. Apart from his wraps and bowls, check out his loaded French fries with sumac onions, tabbouleh, olives, and tzatziki.
- The New Haven, Connecticut-style Pete’s-A-Pie is sure to win over Mile Highers with its crispy, cheesy pizza, available by the slice and whole pie. Check out the meaty Clear Creek, with pepperoni, sausage, Milano salami, and slices of meatball.
- Paciugo Gelato Caffe, a national, Dallas-headquartered chain (with Colorado locations already in Lakewood and Loveland), provides cold, creamy gelato-based desserts. They serve by the cup and cone, of course, but don’t overlook the gelato shakes and affogato, too.
- The Junction Bar is right in the middle of things, and you’ll want to make a stop for one of its tropical cocktails. Our favorite is the Bandito, made with mezcal, honey, lime, and cayenne. The Brazilian Clipper with Flor de Caña rum, ginger, lime, and bitters and the Winter in Hawaii with Old Forester Rye, passionfruit, and turmeric will have you feeling like you’re on vacation.
- Coming soon: Smōk Barbecue, an extension of Bill Espiricueta’s restaurant at the Source Hotel & Market Hall, serving up brisket and pulled pork sandwiches with all the sides; the fourth outpost of Lazo Empanadas, which has developed a following for its pockets full of spicy ground beef, chorizo, mushrooms, and more; Bird on a Wire Southern Chicken, which brings Nashville-style fried chicken sandwiches, smoked wings, and mac and cheese to the hall; and Grind & Grill Burgers, a family-owned Midwestern chain known for its hand-cut fries, over-the-top shakes, and, yes, burgers.
Due to current capacity restrictions, Smōk Barbecue, Lazo Empanadas, Bird on a Wire Southern Chicken, and Grind & Grill Burgers will launch later on. The rest of the food hall opens on Wednesday, with spaced indoor and patio seating, tons of free parking, and curbside pick-up stations for takeout orders.
Wednesday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. (Sonder Coffee and Tea opens at 7 a.m.); 2000 South Colorado Blvd.