The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
Dining at Cherry Creek’s beloved, award-winning Barolo Grill isn’t a typical Tuesday night proposition for most Denverites. Which is why its owner, Ryan Fletter, and culinary executive director, Darrel Truett, opened Chow Morso Osteria, a more casual version of Barolo, in the former Squeaky Bean space in LoDo this past September. There, in the stylish dining room or perched at the Carrara marble–topped bar, you can tuck into traditional carbonara or Bolognese (previously only available for Barolo’s in-the-know regulars) and sip on spritzes—or even grab an espresso to go—on a much more frequent basis. Most dishes cost less than $15, and even a steak entrée comes in at $28. Chow Morso’s new regulars are in on a secret, too: The grilled flatbread sandwiches (“piadina”), stuffed with the likes of prosciutto and mozzarella or grilled seasonal veggies and served with a side of pasta salad, are an ideal lunchtime option at about $13 apiece.
Colorado’s chilliest winter days practically demand warming up with a big, steaming bowl of pho—and our new favorite spot to do so is Boulder’s year-old Pho Kitchen Bar & Grill. Vietnamese-born owner Hoa Nguyen’s long-simmered beef bone broth is so beautifully balanced and soul-nourishing, we’d happily sip it straight. The addition of bouncy rice vermicelli and lime-juice-marinated strips of steak or ultra-tender brisket add heft. Meanwhile, a side of fragrant Thai basil, incendiary slices of raw jalapeño, and crunchy bean sprouts lend vibrancy to each bowl. Even the small serving—which is actually quite massive—will likely fill you up, requiring a return visit to Pho Kitchen’s sleek, two-story dining room to sample its fantastic rice paper wraps, lemongrass noodle bowl, and sweet and savory stir-fried shaking beef.
What could be more delightful than when an ambitious yet unpretentious restaurant opens in your own ’hood? Bonnie Brae residents are the lucky ones, then, to have Brightmarten, co-owned by Rioja and Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen alums Jake Grant, Wade Nelson, Josh Prater, and Jared Riggs. The group opened its “everything from scratch” kitchen on South University Boulevard this past April, and they’ve been sourcing Colorado pigs, cows, chickens, and produce ever since for their butchery and, well, everything-else programs. Sausages, breads, condiments, and even Burrata are made in-house, and the resulting dishes arrive at your table as house-cured pork chops or decadent braised short rib stroganoff over homemade egg noodles. Weekday lunch service began in November, and weekend brunch is a mimosa-fueled carb fest. Even kids are in for a surprise: There are toy dinosaurs hidden throughout the restaurant, just waiting to be discovered.
Boulder’s Suerte Tequila has a new tasting room—in Mexico.—CS
I-70 traffic screwing up your powder day plans? We suggest swapping skis for a surfboard and planning a trip to Suerte Tequila’s six-month-old tasting room, El Conejo, in balmy Sayulita, Mexico. Since the Boulder-based tequila brand’s spirits are made in a remote area of Mexico’s Jalisco region, Suerte is considered a liquor importer to the United States—and federal regulations dictate that importers can’t open stateside tasting venues. As such, the tourist-friendly, laid-back beach town of Sayulita felt like the perfect place for Suerte to turn visitors on to its meticulously crafted tequilas. “We wanted to create a space where people could have a full-on Suerte experience,” co-founder Laurence Spiewak says. And with a direct 3.5-hour flight from DIA to Puerta Vallarta (plus an hourlong cab ride to Sayulita), it could plausibly take less time to get there than it does to drive to Crested Butte. We’ll save you a hammock.