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Industry Experts on the Top Restaurant Standbys of 2014

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions running the gamut from meal of the year to top restaurant newcomers. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the 2014. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Readers, please do add your survey answers in the comments.

Adam Larkey

Q: What were your top standbys of 2014?

Amanda Faison, 5280 Magazine food editor

Colt & Gray and Basta really came on strong this year. They didn't do anything flashy or necessarily newsy, but my meals at those two spots were finely tuned, excellent, and memorable. I also spent countless hours at Cafe Max, and dined as often as possible at Work & Class and the Plimoth.

Andra Zeppelin, Eater Denver editor

I love Uncle. It's my go-to for a quick dinner or, even better, for takeout. El Taco de Mexico is always on my dining rotation. I take out-of-town guests to Acorn, my girlfriends to the RiNo Yacht Club, and my older daughter to Vert Kitchen. Williams & Graham is where I head for the best possible service experience in this town. Oh, and the breakfast sandwich at ReFuel has become a must-have on many mornings.

Ruth Tobias, Eater Denver and Thrillist contributing writer

An old Mitch Hedberg joke goes: "I don't have a girlfriend, I just know a girl who would get really mad if she heard me say that." I don't really have a restaurant standby, but there a few places that might call me out for saying so. I actually end up at Ace Eat Serve a lot. It's half a block from my house, it's got great energy, and I'm always saying that while the bar program get its due, the food is often underrated-I find it really comforting. Plus I crave the crisp chili oil more than any other condiment. Other than that, the city of Aurora is my standby.

Laura Saffioti, Eater Denver contributor

Oak at Fourteenth, El Taco de Mexico, Curry and Kebab, and after my third time in one week, Biju's Little Curry Shop.

Maya Silver, Dining Out Magazine writer

Linger, Lucky Pie, Guard & Grace, Rioja, and Vesta Dipping Grill.

Megan Barber, Curbed Ski editor

Neighborhood favorites remain Duo, Root Down, Linger, Old Major. If I ventured out of the neighborhood, it was to Acorn. Again and again.

Jess Hunter, Eater Denver contributor

Fuel Café, Acorn, Olive & Finch, Ste Ellie's/Colt & Gray, Cart Driver, Populist. Lather, rinse, repeat. The dependable, high-quality, low-maintenance options were my go-to during this busy year.

William Porter, Denver Post restaurant critic

I remain a big fan of Beast + Bottle. Tables is still a favorite in the Park Hill neighborhood. On a winter night, the bar at Locando del Borgo makes for a nice drop-in meal.

Adam Larkey, Eater Denver photographer

Work & Class, Sushi Den and Izakaya Den, the Force that is the Source (all of it), Linger and Fire on the Mountain.

Jeremy Kossler, founder of the Denver Burger Battle

Linger, Chop Shop, and Acorn.

Brittany Werges, 303 Magazine food editor

I found myself eating on South Broadway a lot this year. This area provided an easy-going spot to meet up with friends before a night out or after work. Gozo - and more recently Leña- have relaxed but sophisticated atmospheres that were always enjoyed by everyone in my party. Atticus with its cozy ambiance, great menu and awesome service was perfect for lunch year-round. I also stopped in at Cart-Driver quite often and I am so happy it is now open for lunch.

Katy Hume, Eater Denver contributor

Where we frequent the most: Acorn, Pizzeria Locale in Boulder, Cuba Cuba, Elway's, Sakura House, Buchi, Sushi Tazu.

Penny Parker, Blacktie Colorado writer

My top standbys were Lou's Food Bar, Racines, Shells and Sauce and Griff's for fast burgers.

Ashley Hughes, Eater Denver writer

Work & Class, especially with visiting friends and family. Hops & Pie is in our neighborhood and has been one of our staples too.

Rebecca Caro, Denver Post contributing writer

My top standbys this year were places I can go with my kids when I'm too tired and busy to want to cook. We love Park Burger, Maria Empanada, and Kaos Pizza, but grown up palates will appreciate reliable favorites like Comida and Dae Gee, which are consistent and never disappoint.

Grace Boyle, Eater Denver contributor

Boulder's Pizzeria Locale; you can never really go wrong there.

Pat Miller, the Gabby Gourmet

Shells and Sauce and the Highland Tap and Burger.

Lori Midson, Zagat Denver editor

Work & Class (there's just so very much to love, and it keeps getting better with every bite, plus it's so refreshingly unpretentious); Gozo (the porchetta is swine nirvana, and I dig the wine list); Devil's Food Cookery & Bakery (it's in my ‘hood, but even if it wasn't, you'd still find me there at least once a week); El Taco de Mexico (a favorite of mine year in and year out); Homegrown Tap & Dough (finally, South Gaylord Street has a new restaurant that's become my home away from home); Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant (no words...just go); Funny Plus (the spicy Korean fried chicken is simply stellar); China Jade (no one does hot pot like China Jade does hot pot); Café Brazil (quite possibly my favorite restaurant in Denver); Land of Sushi (my definitive go-to spot for roasted maguro collar, monkfish liver and everything raw); and the Plimoth (it's everything a neighborhood restaurant should be - and so much more).

Work & Class

2500 Larimer Street, , CO 80205 (303) 292-0700 Visit Website

Cart Driver

, Denver, CO (303) 292-3553


3459 Ringsby Court , Denver, CO 80216 Visit Website

RiNo Yacht Club

3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO (720) 485-5581


95 South Pennsylvania Street, , CO 80209 (720) 638-1859 Visit Website

Cafe Brazil

4408 Lowell Boulevard, , CO 80211 (303) 480-1877 Visit Website

Hops & Pie

3920 Tennyson Street, , CO 80212 (303) 477-7000 Visit Website

Vert Kitchen

704 South Pearl Street, , CO 80209 (303) 997-5941 Visit Website

Sushi Den

1487 South Pearl Street, , CO 80210 (303) 777-0826 Visit Website


15 Henry Thomas Drive, , LA 70124 (504) 218-5413 Visit Website

Ste. Ellie

1553 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202 (303) 477-1447 Visit Website

Maria Empanada

1298 South Broadway Avenue, , CO 80210 (303) 934-2221 Visit Website

The Populist

3163 Larimer Street, , CO 80205 (720) 432-3163 Visit Website

Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House

1610 16th Street, Denver, Colorado 80202 303-825-1021

The Plimoth

2335 East 28th Avenue, , CO 80205 (303) 297-1215 Visit Website

Root Down

8500 Peña Blvd, Denver, CO 80249 (303) 342-6959 Visit Website

Duo Restaurant

2413 W 32nd Avenue, Denver, CO 80211 303 477 4141


1452 Northeast Alberta Street, , OR 97211 (503) 335-3835


1431 Larimer Street, , CO 80202 (303) 820-2282 Visit Website


2030 West 30th Avenue, , CO 80211 (303) 993-3120 Visit Website


501 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO 80203 (303) 800-7705 Visit Website

cafe max

2412 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80206 303 333 0003 Visit Website

Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery

4990 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80220 (303) 525-9475

Lou's Food Bar

1851 West 38th Avenue , Denver, CO

Williams & Graham

3160 Tejon Street, , CO 80211 (303) 997-8886 Visit Website

Beast + Bottle

719 East 17th Avenue, , CO 80203 (303) 623-3223 Visit Website

Izakaya Den

1487A South Pearl Street, , CO 80210 (303) 777-0691 Visit Website

Colt & Gray

1553 Platte Street, , CO 80202 (303) 477-1447 Visit Website

Guard and Grace

1801 California Street, , CO 80202 (303) 293-8500 Visit Website

Old Major

3316 Tejon Street, , CO 80211 (720) 420-0622 Visit Website