This spring saw the closing of Mel’s Bar & Grill and the loss of the 12-year-old fine-dining institution left a hole in the Denver food scene. But now that Montecito South—one of Mel and Janie Master‘s other restaurants—has been relaunched as Mel’s of Greenwood Village, displaced diners can take heart. A short drive south to Orchard and Holly is rewarded with dishes such as Mel’s legendary mussels “La Cagouille” and the iconic roast chicken. The dining room, accented by twinkle lights and framed vintage posters, feels as cozy as the original Mel’s. Even the chef is familiar; after spending several months cooking in France, Chad Clevenger (formerly of Santa Fe’s Coyote Cafe) has returned to man the burners. The menu is a collaboration of favorite dishes from over the years, many now with a Southwestern twist a la chef Clevenger. 5960 S. Holly St., Greenwood Village, 303-777-8223,

A recent weekend found us in Boulder hoping to hike, but when the weather turned cold we sought refuge in the Kitchen‘s warm dining room. This Pearl Street restaurant—known for its commendable eco-practices and excellent food—did not disappoint. We ordered the salmon with tomato-chorizo risotto and the Long Farm pork sandwich with salsa verde off the brunch menu. The pork—tender and slow-roasted, piled on Udi’s bread, and served with rustic potato salad—was the star of the meal. The secret to the dish’s success lay not just in top-tier ingredients but also the housemade salsa verde. Executive chef and co-owner Hugo Matheson adds a briney punch to the tangy mustard-herb blend with anchovies and capers. Bonus: Check out the Kitchen’s website for Matheson’s recipes for these dishes and others. 1039 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-544-5973,

Several months ago, a friend introduced me to Gelman’s homemade desserts. My favorite sweet at this northwest Denver deli and market is the peanut-butter sandwich cookie—fall-apart-soft cookies glued together with a peanuty-creamy filling. The experience is complete peanut overload (make sure to order a glass of milk), and I’m hopelessly addicted. Now, with Halloween upon us, the bakery case is stocked with these goodies—original or drizzled with chocolate—decorated like Jack-o-lanterns. 2911 W. 38th Ave., 303-458-1163,

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.