It's no secret 2014 was a huge year for Denver dining. Mile High's booming scene has added not only depth, but breadth and variety to diners' options. One example of this breadth is the surge in restaurant-market combos seen today. Grab-and-go offerings are proving to be viable and desirable options in many areas; Denver's hottest examples of this are shown here.
MERCANTILE DINING & PROVISION: Chef Alex Seidel's culinary journeys, be they through his flagship restaurant Fruition or through Fruition Farms, an artisanal sheep dairy and creamery, Seidel knows what Coloradans are looking to eat. In his latest project at Mercantile in the newly remodeled Union Station, local ingredients and forward-thinking entrees are the stars of the show. Guests can choose Mercantile for dinner in the 75-seat dining room or can look to the market at Mercantile for ready-to-go salumi, hand-crafted cheeses, and assorted picked and jarred delights.
BLACKBELLY MARKET: Blackbelly opened in 2011 when Chef Hosea Rosenberg brought to life his dream of creating his own growing space, Blackbelly Farm, and using the ingredients and livestock raised there to fuel Blackbelly Catering. His Boulder-based business has now expanded to do everything from food truck events, full seated dinners at the new restaurant, and assorted catering gigs, maintaining a conscious selection of locally grown and purchased-as-needed ingredients and dubbing Rosenberg's project locavore-friendly in the truest sense of the world. The full scoop on Blackbelly and details on locations and menus can be found on its website.
SARTO'S AND SARTO'S PANTRY: Owners Taylor Swallow and chef Brian Laird are no strangers to the Mile High dining industry. With the highly anticipated opening of Sarto's in Jefferson Park in late 2014, a hint of Italian flair embellished the neighborhood. Featuring an authentic cicchetti bar, house-made pastas, and new yet authentic takes on proteins from quail to lamb to chicken, Sarto's was a great addition to the community. Sarto's Pantry, the grab-and-go market, offers Sarto's specialty soups, salads, sauces, pastas, pizzas and more.
CART-DRIVER: The team behind the successful Basta in Boulder did it again with this quaint, efficient and flavorful addition to Denver's dining scene. Whether guests are looking to savor their lunch break, enjoy a date (they have Prosecco on tap), or grab something quick to satisfy the whole family, Cart-Driver's menu satisfies a variety of needs. A small but fun selection of items, including double zero flour, is available and may grow.
OLIVE & FINCH: "Casual, inexpensive, but still healthy and fresh and flavorful," was the idea behind chef Mary Nguyen's Uptown café. A variety of nutrient-packed juices, local-ingredient-packed salads, and flavor-packed sandwiches compile the menu at this eatery. Guests have the option to stay for lunch, grab a quick coffee, or select from the available miscellaneous items from specialty sauces to various biscotti and other pastries.
SUGARMILL: When chef Troy Guard and pastry chef Noah French came together to concoct Sugarmill in RiNo, something magical happened. Featuring a menu that changes with the hour, pastries and breakfast options, salads and sandwiches, full on entrees and to-die-for pastries are all offered Monday through Friday at Sugarmill, with dinner service on Saturdays. Guests can also pick up items like granola, biscotti, and other treats for later cravings.