Those of us who work downtown know that finding a quick, affordable, and somewhat-light weekday lunch—especially one you haven’t already eaten time and time again—can be a challenge. That’s why I was so happy when Menya Noodle Bar opened on the 16th Street Mall at the end of March.

Located between Champa and Curtis streets, this spot serves savory bowls of on-trend ramen and a variety of appetizers such as chicken kara age and shishito peppers. It’s the latest endeavor from chef-restaurateur JW Lee, who’s also behind a string of Wasabi Sushi Bars and Menya Sushi Bar in Greenwood Village.

At Menya, ramen bowls top out at just $10.25, and the vast majority of the small plates are under five dollars. Even when it’s busy, you could easily get in and out for lunch in under an hour. And while a big bowl of tonkotsu ramen definitely doesn’t qualify as “light,” there is something inherently restorative about the broth and noodle combo. Menya’s $10.25 tan tan men brims with spicy ground pork, bean sprouts, mushrooms, and scallions—and the portion is generous enough that you’ll likely get a second meal out of it. My pick, however, is the yakisoba ($8.50), a stir-fry of egg noodles and a generous mix of veggies garnished with nori and pickled ginger. Lashed with hot sauce and paired with a cup of genmaicha, it makes for a satisfying lunch option—especially when enjoyed on the patio.

951 16th St., 303-607-8888

Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin is a writer living in Westminster, and has been covering food and sustainability in the Centennial State for more than five years.