Located just 10 miles south of downtown Denver, Littleton is a charming suburb brimming with a walkable historic downtown, plentiful green space along the South Platte River, and a plethora of locally owned shops and eateries. While Littleton is often recognized for its coveted housing and family-friendly ambience, the community is also a lesser-known foodie haven, with neighborhood favorites and hidden gems on every corner.

When my husband and I started searching for our forever home in 2019, we wanted to find a spot with easy access to the city, room to breathe, and a thriving community of local businesses—and Littleton fit the bill. Over the past year, we’ve explored the delightful bites, pours, and patios of Littleton’s vibrant food and drink scene. Here, some of our go-to eateries for any occasion.

Editor’s Note: This is a living list and was last updated on October 28, 2021. Did we miss your favorite? Email us at dining@5280.com.

Casual Eats

Gracefull Community Cafe

Situated in a converted house off Main Street, owner Heather Greenwood’s Gracefull Community Cafe is a volunteer-powered, pay-at-will breakfast and lunch restaurant. The café suggests a donation of $6 (though guests can opt to pay more or nothing) for early day fare, which includes breakfast burritos and bowls, as well as rotating daily specials like frittatas, quiche, coffee cake, and hash. A donation of $8 is suggested for lunch, when patrons can choose from a monthly sandwich and salad, rotating daily specials, and kids’ meals. The cafe also hosts community events where food is available for free (thanks to support from local sponsors), including complimentary Thanksgiving meals served the Wednesday before the holiday. 5610 S. Curtice St., Littleton

Middle Eastern fare at Damascus Grill
Middle Eastern fare at Damascus Grill. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Damascus Grill

Family-owned Damascus Grill has been satisfying Littleton residents’ cravings for falafel, kabobs, and pita-ready dips since 1990. Choose a traditional Middle Eastern dish from the home-style cooking menu—we like the mild munazala, eggplant stuffed with spiced ground lamb, pine nuts, and onions. Or make a meal of the vegetarian-friendly baba ganoush, muhamurra, mujadara, and mousaka—all served with generous portions of flat bread. For dessert, don’t forget a piece of the decadent, honey-soaked baklava. 1399 W. Littleton Blvd., Littleton

Harley’s: A Hot Dog Revolution

In 2021, Harley’s was named one of the top hot dog joints in the U.S. and Canada by Yelp—and for good reason. There, you can enjoy classics like the Windy dog (a take on Chicago-style with onion, tomato, pickles, peppers, relish, and mustard on a toasted everything-bagel-seasoned bun), or something unexpected, like an Italian sausage dog loaded with spaghetti or pepperoni pizza toppings. We also like the Mile High dog, topped with rare roast beef, pickle, sport peppers, and handcrafted horseradish sauce. Pro tip: Join the loyalty program to accumulate reward points and earn occasional freebies. 1500 W. Littleton Blvd., Ste. #112, Littleton

Chen’s Kitchen

Find comforting Taiwanese fare at Chen’s Kitchen, a humble eatery tucked into the corner of a strip mall off Kipling Parkway. Try the braised beef noodle soup, made with tender beef and toothsome noodles in a dark, umami-rich sauce accompanied with a side of chile paste so you can adjust the heat level. Round out your meal with a side order of crispy garlic tofu or salt and pepper fried chicken—Taiwanese street foods enhanced with tangy dipping sauces. 5934 S. Kipling Parkway, Ste. E, Littleton

Taiwanese menu items from Chen's Kitchen
Taiwanese menu items from Chen’s Kitchen. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

El Lucero Salvadoran & Mexican Restaurant

Get your pupusa fix from El Lucero, a Salvadoran and Mexican restaurant that opened in November 2020 with a pupusas-only menu, then expanded to offer Mexican dishes. The restaurant’s chef and owner, Ana Franco grew up in Chalatenango, El Salvador, and learned how to cook from her mother, who also owned a restaurant back home. We recommend the pupusas, which are generously portioned, crispy, and full of cheese and spice. We like the mixto (beans, cheese, and pork) or the queso espinaca (cheese and spinach). Pupusas are served with spicy salsa, cabbage, and an order of chips and salsa. 1500 W. Littleton Blvd., Littleton

Pupusas at El Lucero
Pupusas at El Lucero. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Sushi Basho

Located off Main Street and Santa Fe Drive, Sushi Basho has maki, specialty rolls, sushi, sashimi, and Japanese-inspired entrées. Try the New Your Maki roll, filled with tuna, salmon, tobiko, and avocado, or the Hot Dancing Roll, stuffed with yellowtail and shrimp tempura and topped with spicy crab meat. Dine-in guests can get à la carte sushi for only $1.25 per piece, all day, every day (the deal isn’t available for takeout). 2700 W. Bowles Ave., Littleton

Sushi selections from Sushi Basho in Littleton
Sushi selections from Sushi Basho in Littleton. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Platte River Bar & Grill

On warm days, hit up the patio at Platte River Bar & Grill—a Littleton institution serving burgers, beers, and live music. With access to the Platte River bike trail, this sunny dive attracts outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes with its reasonably priced margaritas, mules, and micheladas along with Mexican-inspired bar food like jalapeño-cream-cheese burgers, handmade chile rellenos, and green chile–smothered burritos. Happy hour is Monday to Friday from 2–6 p.m., with discounts on 25-plus beers from the draft and bottle menu. 5995 S. Santa Fe Dr., Littleton

Wild Ginger

For tasty Thai in the suburbs, stop in to this no-frills gem on Littleton Boulevard. Classics like pad kee mao (drunken noodles), massaman and panang curry, yum nua (beef salad), and tom kha gai (coconut curry soup) can be customized with six spice levels, from mild to “Thai hot”—each delivering a satisfying balance of heat and flavor. We also like the steamed pork and shrimp dumplings, served with a sweet-and-tart dipping sauce. 399 W. Littleton Blvd., Littleton

Drunken noodles and steamed dumplings at Wild Ginger
Noodles and steamed dumplings at Wild Ginger. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Haveli Indian Cuisine

When Haveli Indian Cuisine started a GoFundMe campaign in summer 2020 to stay afloat during the onset of the pandemic, the community rallied to help. Inhabitants of Littleton and nearby Highlands Ranch posted in community forums like Facebook and Nextdoor asking people to donate to the campaign—or better yet, order food from the restaurant. As a result, Haveli is still serving warm-spice-enriched north Indian and Nepalese specialties like momos, korma, and tikka masala over a year later. We like the smooth, rich baingan bharta—roasted eggplant with onion, tomato, garlic, and ginger—or the bhindi bahar, okra with bell peppers, tomato, and onions. 301 E. County Line Rd., Littleton

Chinelos Mexican Food

Mexican music and conversations in Spanish fill the air at this quaint eatery off Littleton Boulevard. With traditional Mexican offerings like tortas, alambres, street tacos, and sincronizadas (wheat-flour quesadillas with ham), you’ll be transported south of the border by the juicy, cumin-scented bites of chicken, lengua, tripita, pastor, azada, and shrimp. Customize your meal with one of the fresh, house-made salsas of varying heat levels, and wash it all down with a horchata or Jamaica agua fresca. 1228 W. Littleton Blvd., Littleton

Tacos from Chinelos Mexican Food
Tacos from Chinelos Mexican Food. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Pho Real Littleton

Pho Real has been slinging noodles in Littleton since 1949 and has established itself as a neighborhood haunt. Try the restaurant’s signature pho and banh mi sandwiches, as well as appetizers like coconut shrimp, soft shell crab, and Vietnamese fish sauce wings. For dessert, don’t miss the red bean mochi ice cream and boba smoothies. 2399 Main St., Littleton

Old Fashioned Italian Deli

For comforting, old-school subs and paninis, look no further than the Old Fashioned Italian Deli on Littleton Boulevard—a modest, Marilyn Monroe–clad eatery that feels like a step back in time. Family owned and operated since the ’80s, the deli brown bags an array of hot and cold sandwiches by hand. Slink into a red booth while you wait for your to-go order, or dine in and strike up a conversation with the regulars. We like the Sicilian Sub—a hefty handheld with prosciutto, capicola, mozzarella, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Italian dressing. Bonus: All sandwiches come with chips and a pickle spear. 395 W. Littleton Blvd., Unit 1A, Littleton

Brunch Bites

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Latke Love

Husband-and-wife duo Steve and Tina Shander started Latke Love 10 years ago at the Cherry Creek Farmers Market. “By the third week, I was looking for a spot, because we kept selling out,” Steve says. After a brief stint in Park Hill, the couple moved the restaurant into a refurbished home off Littleton Boulevard in 2015. Here, guests can enjoy the Shanders’ eastern European–style latkes (Tina’s German grandmother’s recipe) with an American twist. Each order comes with four latkes slathered with comforting toppings like pulled pork and Carolina barbecue sauce; slow-braised beef brisket, roasted carrots, and gravy; and even pastrami or green chile. We also like the homemade knishes—mashed potato–stuffed pastries served with mustard. 699 W. Littleton Blvd., Littleton

Latke dishes at Latke Love
Latke dishes at Latke Love. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Bacon Social House

For a meaty brunch accompanied by mountain views, hit up the Littleton outpost of the popular Bacon Social House. Request a seat on the rooftop patio, the perfect place to dig into a bacon flight of six thick-cut slices (including a bacon-of-the-month variety) and a boozy bloody mary or breakfast cocktail. For entrées, we like the Hatch chile–laced sweet potatoes piled high with bacon hash, or the breakfast salad, with meaty bacon bits, sourdough toast, and a poached egg. Bonus: The restaurant validates parking in the adjacent garage, a perk that only the ’burbs can provide. 2100 W. Littleton Blvd., Littleton

Brunch at Bacon Social Club
Brunch at Bacon Social Club. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Grande Station

Grande Station has been a fixture in downtown Littleton since 2017 for its laid-back vibes, good eats, and bottomless bar. The patio welcomes sundresses and sweatpants alike, and the menu is equally versatile. Breakfast is served until 2 p.m. daily, plating up bison and eggs, berry compote cakes, and a Benedict menu eight dishes deep. For lunch, try the comforting elk meatball hoagie or summery crab cake and parmesan-arugula salad. For just $15, opt for bottomless mix-and-match drinks, including bloody marys, mimosas, sangria, and Bellinis. 2299 W. Main St., Littleton

Date-Night Destinations

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Café Terracotta

From brunch to date night, this fine-dining establishment in a cozy cottage nails upscale American cuisine for any occasion. For dinner at Café Terracotta, try the grilled Colorado lamb chops, scallops in primavera risotto, or chicken Wellington—and follow it up with the house panna cotta or a rotating dessert. Lunch offers approachable favorites like short rib or burrata sandwiches and a Mediterranean-inspired salad with mint-and-lemon vinaigrette paired with za’atar-smeared flat bread. For brunch, look for cauliflower hash and strawberry rhubarb French toast with crème anglaise. On a sunny day, request a table outside on the restaurant’s peaceful garden patio. 5649 S. Curtice St., Littleton

Palenque Cocina y Agaveria

This hip-casual, first-come, first-serve Mexican spot nearly always has a line—and rightfully so. The traditional Mexican fare at Palenque Cocina y Agaveria includes elevated classics like pozole, mole, camarones a la diabla (shrimp in spicy sauce), and molcajetes (meat, veggies, and broth presented in a stone vessel). Pair one of these bold and comforting dishes with a refreshing prickly pear margarita or choose from the agavaria’s extensive and thoughtful cocktail list—the Corazón Sagrado is made with Bonete Raicilla Sierra, blueberry sage shrub, Genepy Des Alpes, lime juice, and sea salt. Take advantage of daily happy hour deals from 3–6 p.m. 2609 Main St, Littleton


For a splurge-worthy occasion, sidle up to the sushi bar at Makizushico for a curated omakase experience. Diners can select from three options—$80, $100, and $120—with higher price points including additional courses and more premium fish selections. Expect to spend up to two hours feasting on the chefs’ creations, which can include chawanmushi (steamed egg custard); skillfully crafted salmon, tuna, and yellowtail nigiri; and house specialties like goose liver, uni, and lightly seared wagyu beef. For a more casual meal, choose your own selections from the lineup of maki rolls, specialty rolls, sushi, and sashimi. Complement your meal with a glass of Japanese whiskey or sake; we recommend a bottle of the unfiltered nigori to share. 5950 S. Platte Canyon Rd., Ste. D23, Littleton

Omikase offering at Makizushico
Omikase offering at Makizushico. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Angelo’s Taverna

After revitalizing Angelo’s Taverna on 6th Avenue in 2013, Craig Jones and Eric Hyatt brought the 40-year Denver institution to Littleton three years later. The team built a 10,000-square-foot compound off Santa Fe to house the restaurant and then-brand-new Carboy Winery directly adjacent. Boasting one of Denver’s best happy hours, Angelo’s offers $1 raw oysters daily from 3–6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to close, as well as deals on small plates, pizza, beer, cocktails, and wines on tap. Pop in on “Mollusk Monday” for $7 mussels and $15 clams and linguine; or drop in for dinner and try chef Scott Hybbeneth’s gorgonzola steak fettuccine, bison ravioli, or lobster gnocchi. 6885 S. Santa Fe Dr., Suite A, Littleton

Angelo's Taverna in Littleton
Angelo’s Taverna in Littleton. Photo courtesy of Angelo’s Taverna

Carboy Winery

Carboy Winery’s original 6,000-square-foot winemaking space (adjacent to Angelo’s Taverna) and tasting room has served its signature blends in Littleton since 2016. Now with three additional locations in Capitol Hill, Breckenridge, and Palisade, the space still produces all of Carboy’s non-sparkling wines, including the Grand Valley–grown 2019 Teroldego, which was included in the 2021 Governor’s Cup collection as one of Colorado’s 14 best wines. Stop by for a Colorado wine flight, glasses on tap, or a meat-and-cheese board and bottle for $30, available during the daily happy hour from 3–6 p.m. 6885 S. Santa Fe Dr., Littleton

Farm House at Breckenridge Brewery

After outgrowing two prior Denver outposts, Breckenridge Brewery settled on a 12-acre, farm-inspired Littleton campus in 2015 that includes a 100-barrel brewhouse, barrel-aging room, restaurant, and beer garden. Located off the South Platte River bike trail, the expansive beer garden is a convenient hangout to play cornhole, groove to live music, or watch a Broncos game on the outdoor projector. For Rocky Mountain–inspired eats, make a reservation at the brewery’s Farm House restaurant for upscale-yet-casual entrées like the French onion Colorado elk burger or bison sloppy Joe. Start with an order of the comforting cast-iron bread, ideal for smothering with the accompanying smoky creamed butter and seasonal preserves. 2920 Brewery Lane, Littleton

Wine, Beer, and Booze

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Jackass Hill Brewery

This community-centric go-to was conceptualized 24 years ago when Littleton native Pat Somers would invite his childhood friends to sip beers at his home atop the historic Jackass Hill—dubbing his front porch “Jackass Hill Brewery.” Over 15 years later, Somers and his friends invited the larger Littleton community into their club by opening a brewery on Main Street. Led by brewer Brian Reinecke, the rustic taproom pours cheeky brews like Whiny Ass wheat beer, Lying Ass pilsner, and Jacked-Up espresso porter, as well as house-crafted cocktails made with local spirits. The sun-drenched patio is also home to the permanent food truck El Burro, serving casual Mexican fare to old friends and new. 2409 W. Main St., Littleton

Kate’s Wine Bar

Quaint and cozy Kate’s Wine Bar has been a downtown Littleton staple since 2008. Originally opened by Vanessa Menke and her mother Jayne Barth, the bar is named after Vanessa’s grandmother. Menke and Barth have since sold the bar, but with a wine list of 50 rotating bottles and happy hour specials Tuesday to Saturday ($6 glasses, $24 bottles), Kate’s is the perfect spot to catch up with a friend, unwind after a long day, or start your evening in Historic Downtown Littleton. If you’re hankering for a snack, order a small plate of baked brie, cheese and crackers, or artichoke-jalapeño dip. 5671 S. Nevada St., Littleton

Jake’s Brew Bar

Across the street from Kate’s Wine Bar, you’ll find Jake’s Brew Bar—named for Kate’s husband and the grandfather of Vanessa Menke, who opened the establishment in 2011 with her mother Jayne Barth as another homage to their family (it was always their dream to have both Jake’s and Kate’s on Main Street). The bar sports a rotating menu of 37 taps from Colorado and beyond, and the beer garden features a stage and long picnic tables, great for gathering with friends over a pint or two. Non-beer drinkers are also welcome and can sip a selection from the thoughtful cocktail menu. 2530 W. Main Street, Littleton

Rocker Spirits and Cholorado

Tucked slightly behind the bustle of Main Street is Rocker Spirits, a laid-back distillery with a rock-and-roll vibe. The distillery makes vodka, whiskey, and rum, and complement the spirits with herbaceous craft cocktails. Try the Black Honey, a whiskey drink with Tellicherry black pepper, honey, and lemon; or the Rumbrave, made with with rum, smoked pineapple, charred poblanos, brown sugar, and lime. Hungry? Go for Latin-inspired comfort food from the tasting room’s permanent food truck, Cholorado, manned by Andrew Salazar and Ray Silvia—two former Hyatt chefs who set off on their own during the pandemic. We like the Juju dog (Salazar’s nickname) and the award-winning honey butter fried chicken bites. 5587 S. Hill St., Littleton

Locavore Beer Works

Locavore has been pouring brews at this Littleton taproom since 2014, when owners and brewers Jason Reinhardt and Andy Nelson decided to open a welcoming watering hole where everyone feels like a regular. Swing through for trivia on a Wednesday night and compete for beer money against other Littleton locals. For nibbles, order barbecue from the adjacent Brad’s Pit—which is delivered straight to your table, usually by Brad himself. Pets are welcome in the taproom and outside on the brewery’s hop-vine-filled patio. 5950 S. Platte Canyon Rd., Littleton

The Alley

Cheap (but tasty) margaritas abound at Littleton’s hip Main Street hang, the Alley. With live music Thursday to Sunday, you can catch a killer local act while enjoying one of seven house margaritas (starting at $6.50), customized with a syrup of your choice, like prickly pear or huckleberry. Tequila not your thing? Try the Mexican Manhattan, a botanical take on the whiskey drink laced with elderflower syrup. Whatever your order, snag one of the Alley’s signature Szechuan buttons, a small, chewable flower that gives your tongue an electric, numbing sensation (think: adult Pop Rocks). The spot also offers “mountain-style Mexican food” fare such as tacos, fajitas, and nachos from a food truck out back. 2420 Main St., Littleton

Szechuan button at the Alley
Szechuan button at the Alley. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Olde Town Tavern

Every suburb needs a good dive, and Olde Town Tavern is our Littleton favorite. The dark, moody interior is bedecked with cozy half-circle booths, pool tables, TVs, and TouchTunes—everything a townie could want. The draft list includes a solid mix of local craft and light beer options, and the potent well drinks come in pint glasses, sure to inspire a hunger-inducing glance at the grub menu after the first round. Luckily, OTT serves some of the best wings in the area, with 18 sauce flavors and six dry rubs to choose from. We like the honey habañero (sweet with a kick), and the smoky, peppery, salty Chicago seasoning dry rub—both finger-licking delights that you’ll be dreaming of come next game day. 2410 W. Main St., Littleton

Coffee, Tea and Treats

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Dirt Coffee Bar

Since its inception as a coffee truck in 2013, Dirt Coffee Bar has impacted the lives of over 100 people with neuro-diversities, offering training and employment to those with autism, intellectual, and/or developmental differences. The 501(C)3 nonprofit now operates out of a refurbished house in downtown Littleton, slinging barista-crafted beverages, breakfast burritos, paninis, pastries, and even beer and wine. Volunteers are welcome to join the community, and paid internships are available for individuals with autism and related disabilities. 5767 S. Rapp St., Littleton

The Chocolate Therapist

On a leisurely post-brunch stroll through historic downtown Littleton, stop for treats at the Chocolate Therapist, a specialty shop stocked with house-made truffles, chocolate bars, caramels, toffees, and other sweet treats. Owner Julie Nygard founded the company after an 18-year career in the sporting goods industry and a lifelong passion for nutrition and the health benefits of chocolate. In 2005, she published The Chocolate Therapist book and launched her own collection of all-natural chocolates three years later. Nygard continues to preach the benefits of chocolate (she even gave a TEDx presentation on the topic), and visitors to this Littleton gem can reap the benefits. We like the easy-to-tote chocolate bars like Down by the Sea Salt (sea salt and sliced almonds) and Spice of Life (ginger, cinnamon, and salted pepitas). 2560 Main St., Littleton

Down by the Sea Salt and Spice of Life bars from the Chocolate Therapist
Down by the Sea Salt and Spice of Life bars from the Chocolate Therapist. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Lost Coffee

Drive down Littleton Boulevard and you’ll rubber neck to see if that gas station really does have café tables in its bay area and a plant-laced roastery through the garage doors. Spoiler: It’s not a gas station, it’s a coffee shop. Lost Coffee in Littleton is the newest of three locations in the Denver suburbs (in addition to Castle Rock and Aurora). Lost imports its beans from women-owned farms and pays a premium to support higher wages for coffee workers. Head inside for a cup of fresh-roasted joe, or purchase a coffee subscription to receive beans at home. 1190 W. Littleton Blvd., Littleton

In Tea

In Tea not only stocks shelves upon shelves of fine tea from around the world (170 options), but also serves wine, sake, baked goods, tapas, and (our pick) tea-infused cocktails and beers. Pumpkin-spice lovers will love the Great Pumpkin—a cocktail made with pumpkin spice Pu’erh tea, Rumchata, and whipped cream. Or fight the chill with a Kellie Gold hot toddy, infused with Himalayan Gold black tea with bourbon and honey. Pro tip: Grab a few ounces of your favorite tea and make your own tea cocktails with the recipes posted on their site. 2440 W. Main St., Littleton

Tea cocktail at InTea
Tea cocktail at InTea. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Riane Menardi Morrison
Riane Menardi Morrison
Riane is 5280’s former digital strategy editor and assistant food editor. She writes food and culture content. Follow her at @riane__eats.