Jamaican jerk chicken. Croissant doughnuts. Al pastor tacos. Spooky cocktails. There are so many delicious things on the menu at restaurants across the Denver area right now. Satisfy your cravings at these 14 (mostly new) spots.
Olde Town Arvada just got a new Baja kick, thanks to nearly three-week-old Lady Nomada. At the hip, coastal-inspired taqueria (the more casual sister of Wash Park’s Perdida), chef and owner Philippe Failyau serves favorites like birria tacos, posole verde, and snapper Veracruz with a Baja-inspired twist, alongside zesty margaritas and a lineup of killer tiki drinks. The vibe is beachy modern, with plush chairs, blankets, and bench seating. The hand-selected music and conversation pieces (looking at you surfboard wall) make the ambiance feel like a dinner party at your coolest friend’s house. Enjoy live music two nights a week, and even browse vinyl for your collection, sold through a partnership with Denver’s Vinyl Me, Please. 7519 Grandview Ave., Arvada
Meet the Dochi—a hybrid between a fried American doughnut and Japanese mochi (rice flour desserts)—at the eponymous shop, an offshoot of the Orlando-born brand that opened in RiNo in late May. Unlike Third Culture’s mochi doughnuts, Dochi’s are fried, giving them a crispier, less toothsome texture. The cheerfully decorated treats are available in flavors like Matcha S’mores, Ube Glaze, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Choco Almonds. Bonus: The bubble-ring shape makes them easy to pull apart for sharing, but we doubt you’ll want to. 2449 Larimer St.
The first Colorado outpost of the popular Chicago spot opened in mid-August, and it’s a destination in RiNo for tacos and tequila. Standouts include the pork and pineapple taco; a tangy, citrusy take on al pastor; and the mushroom taco, featuring wood-grilled shiitake, cremini, and huitlacoche ’shrooms. Wash it down the Denver-exclusive green chile margarita or a frozen tequila rosé. Equipped with a retractable roof, garage-door sidewalls, and patio heaters galore, it’s also an all-season hangout. End (or start) your night with a Ring the Bell ice-glass tequila shot—shoot it then chuck the glass at the patio bell to impress all your friends. 2901 Larimer St.
Jovanina’s Broken Italian
The popular Sunday Supper at Jovanina’s Broken Italian is back. Shuttered by COVID in 2020 and early 2021, the LoDo restaurant celebrated the return of its family-style dinner party in July. Owners Jennifer and Jake Linzinmeir serve a rotating menu, and diners can expect specialties like cuttlefish puttanesca, pappardelle with braised hen, and semifreddo with Palisade peaches. Each monthly Sunday Supper is a multi-course experience with free-flowing wine, which makes it easy to get to know your neighbors—and you should. The experience is as much about making new friends as it is about feasting. 1520 Blake St.
Scary movie fans, rejoice: The horror-flick-inspired bar Slashers, began pouring cocktails in mid-August. Formerly the Horror Bar, which closed abruptly in June, Slashers is the brainchild of owner Josh Schmitz and his Handsome Boys Hospitality Group team. The delightfully dive-y, dimly lit watering hole is bedecked with TVs, which play spooky film clips nonstop, and the production culminates in a nightly movie screening at 7 p.m. All of the drinks on the fake-blood-spattered menu are $14; we recommend the New Mother[insert expletive] Servant of God, a mezcal-washed refresher with jalapeño-infused tequila, mango nectar, and a chile mango garnish (described as “what you drink to fire yourself up right before fighting a bar full of vampires”). 5126 E. Colfax Ave.
LunchBoxx at Denver Central Market
Chef Zach Spott, who runs Green Seed Market and was formerly the chef at Brass Tacks, launched LunchBoxx in the space occupied by SK Provisions at Denver Central Market last month. Highlights of the grab-and-go-friendly menu include a variety of snackable items (think: pimento cheese dip), customizable meal Boxxs, and sandwiches. Try the Vietnamese lettuce wraps Boxx with grilled skirt steak, vermicelli noodles, and fragrant fresh herbs or the Market Bento Boxx with battered tempura mushrooms, white rice, and umami-packed tare sauce—both hearty options that won’t leave you hankering for a post-meal nap. 2669 Larimer St.
Croissant-doughnut specialty stores are finally having a moment in the Mile High City, courtesy of two new Parlor Doughnuts locations. The eatery began slinging layered doughnuts in Indiana in 2019 and quickly expanded throughout the U.S. This summer, it brought the confection to the metro area, with locations on South Broadway and Aurora debuting in June and July, respectively. Try the lighter blueberry or lemonade flavors, or go for the more decadent coconut cream-filled or s’mores-inspired varieties. The doughnuts’ layers are flaky, airy, crisp, and not too sweet—making for an anytime treat we’re itching to savor again and again. 95 Lincoln St.; 5001 S. Parker Rd., #112/113, Aurora
Reggae Pot Jamaican Grill
Centennial’s three-month-old Reggae Pot Jamaican Grill brings a taste of the Caribbean to 5,280 feet. Montego Bay native Tamara Nisbeth is the owner and lead chef, crafting traditional Jamaican specialties like ackee and saltfish, stewed oxtails, and jerk chicken, alongside sides like plantains, fried dumplings, and golden patties (savory turnovers filled with a variety of meats and vegetables). Complement your breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a fresh-pressed sorrel ginger, guava pineapple, or kale ginger pineapple juice, and don’t forget to grab a slice of rum fruitcake on your way out. 7562 S. University Blvd., Unit C, Centennial
Perfectly blistered, naturally leavened sourdough pies are on the menu at Redeemer in RiNo, the latest endeavor from Spencer White, Alexander Figura, and Lulu Clair—the pasta pros behind Dio Mio. The team began selling New York– and Sicilian-style slices from their pizzeria’s patio window in late July and opened the restaurant’s dining room on August 25. There, patrons can nosh on artful creations topped with the likes of pickled chiles, Dio Mio sausage, and roasted oyster mushrooms, along with a small selection of apps, small plates, wine, and cocktails (the patio window is also still serving). Take advantage of the rotating specialty slices; the cacio e pepe variation is a favorite. 2705 Larimer St.
The first restaurant from duo James Park and Brian Gunning, WingWok serves an eclectic mix of Korean fare for takeout and delivery. The gluten-free wings are twice-fried for crispiness, then wok-finished in sauces and rubs, including Tangy Citrus, Go+Chu+Jang, and Korean Dry-Rub Buffalo (a Korean take on the American classic). Other menu items include chicken sandwiches, kimchi fries (and fried rice), and a Korean Ssam Burrito. Choose a pickled side for your order: There are two kimchis (traditional or cucumber-based), a white pickle radish, and the duo’s Seoul Slaw. 7530 S. University Blvd., Centennial
Split Lip Chicken at Number 38
This month, Split Lip Chicken, the former pop-up from Ultreia executive chef Adam Branz and partners David Wright and Jessica Richter, began a permanent tenure at RiNo social hall Number 38. The eatery aims to celebrate American heritage by showcasing dishes inspired by different subregions. Start with the Cajun-spiced boiled peanuts, then opt for one of the burgers or sandwiches. We’re fans of the Mississippi Slug Burger, a juicy fried beef patty with American cheese, Thousand Island–like “sawse,” and a tangle of thinly sliced pickles tucked between a squishy bun. 3560 Chestnut Pl.
If you like happy hour with a view (who doesn’t?), pop in to the Red Barber, the week-old bar on the rooftop of Rino’s boutique Catbird Hotel. The indoor-outdoor patio spans the building’s top level and features stunning views of downtown with surrounding mountains. Try one of the signature cocktails; we like the refreshing Millennial Falcon with cucumber-mint vodka, strawberry, lemon, and watermelon seltzer and the Rino Fashioned with rye, Demerara, and smoked orange bitters. Red Barber’s grill-centered menu has thoughtful hand-held bites like skewered tofu with trumpet mushrooms, stuffed piquillo peppers, and octopus and prawns. While you’re there, be sure to peek into the Catbird’s main lobby to ogle its eclectic modern art and design (and maybe book yourself a room). 3770 Walnut St.
Music City Hot Chicken
Hot chicken fans: There’s a new player in town. The Fort Collins favorite Music City Hot Chicken set up a South Broadway outpost in Trve Brewing Co. in August, serving fiery eats from a walk-up window in the back. With seven heat levels to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Those seeking spice should start with the slightly sweet Hot and move up from there. Nashville Hot packs a flavorful punch, but if you want even more, opt for the White Hot (described as “incendiary”) or the Flammable Solid (the highest heat level). For a twist on tradition, try the Green Chile variety, which is solidly spicy but full of flavor. And of course, grab a beer to quell the fire. 227 Broadway, #101
Manzo Lobster & Oyster Bar
Fresh lobster is a rare find in the Mile High City, but Manzo Lobster & Oyster Bar has filled that void. In fact, the restaurant—which rings in its one-year anniversary later this month—even has a 2,500-gallon live lobster tank that accommodates up to 1,000 pounds of crustaceans in conditions that replicate the waters of the north Atlantic. Get them as whole steamers, in a bisque, or atop a buttery roll (our preferred preparation). There are also excellent raw bar options; dig into the beet-cured Tasmanian ocean trout, hiramasa (yellowtail kingfish) sashimi, or a platter of charbroiled oysters. 500 E. 19th Ave.