With so much Denver dining activity now centered in northern neighborhoods like RiNo, LoHi, and Berkeley, the southern half of the city sometimes seems to fly quietly under the restaurant radar.
Recently, however, several Denver chefs and restaurateurs have been expanding their reach southward and giving diners new reason to head for Washington Park, South Broadway, and other areas on the south side of town. These recent additions include a mix of original spots and outposts of established favorites from other parts of the city.
From gourmet rotisserie chicken and top-notch ramen to quirky and sometimes sexually-suggestive donuts, here is a look at six spots worth crossing First Avenue for.
1. For rich noodle bowls and pops of flavor: Though this bright Pennsylvania Street spot has the same name and ramen dishes as Chef Tommy Lee’s first Ramen restaurant in Highland, it is far from just a duplicate. Rather Uncle II, which opened in July, offers a greatly-expanded menu that includes dishes like celery salad with XO sauce and short rib Penang curry. There is also an expanded ramen selection and a whole bunch more seating (Uncle II is twice the size of the original).
2. For wine and bruschetta: Wine bar chain Postino‘s new location in Baker is now open and pouring plenty of vino in a window-filled space that is over a century old. Diners can expect standbys like soups, salads, and paninis as well as the the beloved bruschetta that comes in 12 varieties. Snacks like olives, chicken skewers, and crispy cauliflower are a nice complements to the bruschetta boards, which come in varieties like burrata and bacon or sweet and spicy jam with goat cheese (diners can choose four types of bruschetta per order). Wine, including several varieties available only at Postino, is served by both the glass and the bottle.
3. For knock-your-socks-off rotisserie chicken: It’s not often that a James Beard Award-winning chef opens up a restaurant built around a supermarket staple. But that’s just what Mercantile chef Alex Seidel did with Chook, which opened last year on Old South Pearl Street in Platte Park. The undisputed draw here is the chicken (diners can chose from quarter, half, and whole birds) served with gravy, chimichurri, piri-piri, or macha sauce. Sides like potato wedges, charred vegetables, and mac & cheese round out the meal. Chook also offers beer, cocktails served in pots, and Attimo wines on tap.
4. For a sugar fix: Even Denverites who have never been to VooDoo Doughnuts are still likely to recognize the iconic pink boxes that carry these zany, and sometimes risqué, doughnuts. With this new location on South Broadway, its now easier than ever for Denverites who live on the south side of town to grab fan favorites like the Oh Captain My Captain, a yeast doughnut topped with vanilla frosting and Captain Crunch cereal. There is also the recently-debuted Cannolo, a tube-like doughnut stuffed with cream cheese filling.
5. For wings and a view of the game: Popular Buffalo wing spot Fire on the Mountain expanded to its second Denver location on South Logan Street in August. The menu, like at the Highlands original, is, of course, focused on wings— both bone-in chicken (no boneless wings here) and vegan seitan. Both types can be ordered slathered in one or more of the 12 sauce varieties, which include raspberry habanero, spicy peanut and Jamaican jerk. There is also a solid selection of munchies, salads, sandwiches, and burgers, plus fried Oreos for dessert.
6. For a traditional taste of Paris: Cafe Marmotte, a four-year-old favorite for French fare in West Washington Park, isn't new per se. But it merits a mention thanks to a new menu focusing on traditional French cuisine that was unveiled last month by the restaurant’s new owners, who also own Bistro Georgette in LoHi food hall Avanti Food & Beverage. That menu is heavy on classics like foie gras, moules frites, and coq au vin, although there are also less standard dishes like a pumpkin ravioli. But interested diners shouldn’t wait too long to stop in; Cafe Marmotte will be replaced by a new Italian restaurant in early 2020.