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Brider, the casual offshoot of Acorn and Oak at Fourteenth, has joined our regular rotation of favorite spots. We’re crazy about the Thai-inspired roasted sweet potato and avocado salad (add rotisserie lamb) and the kimchi-studded porchetta sandwich, but there are times when you just want a breakfast sandwich. And luckily for all of us, Brider serves its version—egg, aged cheddar, and a house-made English muffin—all day long. (Don’t ignore the side of chef Steven Redzikowski’s hot sauce.) And no matter what time you eat, finish off your meal by nabbing an apple fritter—if there are any left. 1644 Platte St., 303-455-3084
This four-month-old restaurant, bakery, bar, and market in RiNo offers a little bit of everything. Need a cheese and charcuterie board (check) or a kale Caesar salad (of course)? How about a freshly baked tahini-laced chocolate-chip cookie? You’ve come to the right place. The warehouse space is home to a compact market stocked with goods including local preserves, mustard, kombucha, fresh eggs, and bar after bar of chocolate from companies such as Ritual Chocolate and Zingerman’s. Bonus: Go for dinner and enjoy live music three nights a week. 3040 Blake St., 303-298-6821
Vital Root is the latest addition to chef-restaurateur Justin Cucci’s Edible Beats empire. The treehouse-esque space is crowded with Cucci’s characteristically quirky touches (vintage lunch trays serve as a backdrop for the patio’s herb garden), but the menu takes the health-conscious leanings of his other restaurants further, eschewing meat and “white foods” (sugar, flour, and rice) altogether. Dishes like the coconut dosa and chilled carrot-ginger soup with chamomile oil are so flavorful you’re apt to forget they’re also healthy. Best of all, most everything can be had for less than $13—and in under 10 minutes. 3915 Tennyson St., 303-474-4131
After almost a century in business, Gaetano’s could probably survive on nostalgia alone. But the patrons packing this red-sauce joint flock for the food, which is as good as ever. Classics like calamari fritti and chicken Parmesan won’t surprise anyone, but Gaetano’s executes them to crispy, golden perfection. And then there’s the deceptively simple clams aglio e olio. A light glaze of olive oil, white wine, garlic, and chile coats each al dente strand of house-made linguine, and the littleneck clams add a fresh, briny bite. It’s time to rediscover this old-school Italian spot. 3760 Tejon St., 303-455-9852