Mizu Izakaya

If you’re type A, you’re going to love Mizu Izakaya, LoHi’s four-month-old Japanese hot spot. First, you’ll get to decide where to sit: on a pillow-backed bench, in the lounge, at a high-top, or perhaps at the sushi or cocktail bars. Next, you’ll receive an extensive sake list (try the silky Hakutsuru Sho-Une Junmai Dai Ginjo), a menu of classic and creative cocktails, and a beer and wine list that goes beyond IPAs and Chardonnay. And while the food offerings span sushi, ramen, and charcoal-grilled and fried items, owner Hong Lee’s decision to employ (and encourage collaboration between) French-trained and Japanese izakaya chefs means you can’t make a bad pick. The menu delights with innovative dishes such as pork belly with house-made kimchi and a lashing of cream; crispy-juicy “kara age” (deep-fried) frog legs; and the Mizu sushi roll with a rich salmon-shiso filling and bright topping of cilantro and ginger. 1560 Boulder St., 720-372-7100, mizudenver.com

American Grind

The first clue that American Grind isn’t a standard burger joint is the fact that there’s no Heinz in sight. Since it opened last December, every condiment—mustard, mayo, ketchup, pickles—has been made in-house. The fries are hand-cut and the grass-fed beef, burger buns, and produce hail from local purveyors (Western Daughters, Rolling Pin Bakeshop, and Valley Roots and other farms, respectively). The team behind the Way Back restaurant launched this new eatery, a former food truck, in LoHi’s Avanti Food & Beverage to support a local—or, at least, regional—food system. But they did take one page from the typical fast-food playbook: pairing their burgers with ice cream (made with local ingredients such as Method Coffee, of course). Avanti Food & Beverage, 3200 N. Pecos St., 720-269-4778, americangrindco.com

Pierogies Factory

From Latin empanadas to Chinese jiaozi to Tibetan momos, we’ve yet to meet a piece of stuffed dough we don’t like—and the half-moon beauties coming out of the fast-casual Pierogies Factory, which opened two years ago in Wheat Ridge, are no exception. Poland native Cezary Grosfeld makes his savory dumplings in various flavors, including classic potato and cheese, tangy sauerkraut and mushroom, and even spinach with feta. We like ours in the traditional style, sautéed and topped with caramelized onions and sour cream; Grosfeld also offers toppings such as green chile, mushroom-cheese sauce, and roasted garlic-parsley butter. You can round out your order with a “golabki” (cabbage roll) or a comforting bowl of “rosol” (chicken and egg noodle soup), but whatever you do, don’t leave without a few packages of frozen pierogi for the next time your dumpling craving hits. 3895 Wadsworth Blvd., 303-425-7421, pierogiesfactory.com

Weathervane Cafe. Photograph courtesy of Sonia Rincón

Foodie Follow Of The Month: @weathervanecafe

Whether you like waking up to caffeinated beverages, homemade scones, latte art, or dreamy, sunlit coffeeshop corners, the Weathervane Cafe’s Instagram feed is sure to become your favorite way to start the day.

This article was originally published in 5280 April 2017.
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.
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.