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The Pioneer The secret to this stacked platter of corn tortilla chips, black beans, melted asadero cheese, grilled chicken, fresh jalapeños, green onions, pico de gallo, guacamole, and Mexican crema is the strata of toppings. With most nachos, ingredients mix and mingle only on the top layer. Here, a surplus of toppings is evenly distributed throughout, so there’s nary a chip without goodies. 2401 S. University Blvd., 720-536-4802, www.thepioneerbar.com
Tocabe It may be difficult to pass up Tocabe’s sopaipillalike fry bread, but the multicolored chips in the Medicine Wheel Nachos are a worthy substitution. As is true of any dish at Tocabe, you control the toppings: Start with a ladle of the tangy ancho chile sauce and add ingredients at will. We dress ours up with black beans, shredded bison, diced tomatoes and onions, shredded lettuce, grated cheddar, sour cream, and the crunchy, sweet corn salsa. 3536 W. 44th Ave., 720-524-8282, www.tocabe.com
The Tavern Uptown It was a homesick Texan pining for Tex-Mex who turned us on to these nachos. The Tavern Uptown’s version features three corn tortillas topped with the basics: refried beans, poached chicken, melted pepperjack, sliced green onions, and rings of fresh jalapeño. Once cooked, each tortilla is cut into triangles and served. Add dollops of sour cream and guac (with huge chunks of avocado) judiciously. 538 E. 17th Ave., 303-830-9210, www.tavernhg.com/uptown
Bonus dish:The Fainting Goat Far from traditional, the Fainting Goat’s take on nachos is all Irish. Forget the tortilla chips—this platter of crispy, homemade potato chips comes smothered with a combo of corned beef, Jack cheese, horseradish Dijonaise, and chopped scallions. 846 Broadway, 303-945-2323, www.thefaintinggoatpub.com