1. Randall’s

3349 York St., Cole
The fourth time’s apparently a charm for Randall Borne, the chef-owner behind Randall’s, which reopened off York Street and Bruce Randolph Avenue in January. The Louisiana native launched his eponymous Creole and Cajun restaurant as a food trailer in 1994 and occupied two brick-and-mortar locations at different times in Cole and Five Points, respectively, before closing his doors in 2018. Borne revived the spot this year to please fervent fans, who longed for his Southern specialties (think: spice-crusted pork chops and seafood-loaded gumbo) and community-centric ambience. The latter is evidenced by the continuous hum of regulars trading stories in the dining room, a space adorned with a striking floor-to-ceiling mural of Louis Armstrong by local artist Kiana Gatling. This summer, live music also will return to Randall’s, which hopefully is finally here to stay.

2. Adobo

1309 26th St., RiNo
The four-year-old Adobo food truck found a permanent home inside First Draft Taproom & Kitchen last October, bringing chef-owner Blaine Baggao’s brand of Latin-Asian cuisine to RiNo. The menu of tacos, burgers, rice bowls, and wings is a tribute to Baggao’s upbringing in Roswell, New Mexico, and experiences cooking with his American mother and Filipina grandmother. That translates to the likes of juicy, 12-hour-smoked carnitas; soy- and garlic-kissed chicken adobo; and Hatch-green-chile-smothered everything, including deviled eggs. Try the lumpia, with tender ground pork shoulder fried in a delicate pastry skin, and don’t pass up dessert. The ube ice cream is a purple-yam-infused treat that gains a luscious, cheesecakelike flavor from a drizzle of balsamic glaze and toasted cotija cheese crumbles.

3. The Green Collective

The Green Collective toasts. Photo courtesy of Emily Teater

2158 W. 32nd Ave., Suite 11, Highland
The Green Collective is helping Denverites nourish their bodies, one serving of superfood-packed sustenance at a time. At the three-month-old fast-casual spot, diners fuel up on a kaleidoscopic array of toasts, salads, juices, smoothies, and other good-for-you breakfast and lunch options. You can’t go wrong ordering any of the toasts, but we’re partial to the version that’s crowned with tangy red pepper spread, chicken salad dressed with olive oil and vinegar, and crunchy microgreen tendrils. Or try the toast layered with a generous smear of dreamy, whipped-tofu-enriched vegan chocolate hazelnut spread, sliced bananas and strawberries, and drizzled honey. The items on the menu, developed by owners Allison and Jamie Rifkin and chef and nutrition expert Lauren Egdahl, are free of refined sugars and enriched with as many whole, organic ingredients as possible. Eating healthier never felt—or tasted—so good.

This article was originally published in 5280 July 2021.
Patricia Kaowthumrong
Patricia Kaowthumrong
Patricia joined the 5280 staff in July 2019 and is thrilled to oversee all of the magazine’s dining coverage. Follow her food reporting adventures on Instagram @whatispattyeating.