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Updating The Eater Heatmap, December 2012

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Denver's dining and bar scene keeps getting hotter with new restaurants and bars that make diners wait in line and get excited for great experiences. Often Eater gets this question: Where should I go for a drink right now? Where should I dine this week? What's new, what's hot, where do the crowds flock to? That is what the December Heat Map is about - this dining and drinking moment in time.

IN: the Populist, Punch Bowl Social
OUT: Vietnam Grill, Adrift

Have any suggestions? Any vital omissions? Leave 'em in the comments or send 'em down the tipline.


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This Highlands Asian-fusion spot dishes out outstanding ramen dishes, noodles bowls, and a kimchi stew that is worth the trip alone. In a modern decor with friendly service, Uncle is a great choice for a casual dinner packed with Momofuku-inspired flavors.

The Populist

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The new RiNo neighborhood restaurant from Noah Price, owner of Crema Coffeehouse and chef Jonathan Power has opened with a splash in November. Try the fish rilletes and the braised beef cheeks and don't overlook the small but smart wine list.
Ace, a monster ping pong hall and Asian eatery from restaurateur Josh Wolkon, is one of the hottest restaurants to bounce onto the Denver dining scene. Everything from the sprawling outdoor patio to the unique Asian-inspired kitchen and bar program makes Ace the place to be scene.

Punch Bowl Social Food & Drink

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A gigantic space with three large bars, many lanes for bowling, a diner-like eating area, and a variety of games. Punch Bowl Social kicked the entertainment levels up to South Broadway and the lines outside the door on a Friday night are only the first sign of this spot's hotness.

Oak at Fourteenth

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Oak at Fourteenth reignited as a better version of itself over the last few months. Between the insane bar and cocktail program that Bryan Dayton is leading, complete with ice carved on premises and house-bottled sodas, and the daring dishes fired by Steven Redzikowski in the wood-fired oven, Oak at Fourteenth is the hot spot in Boulder.

The Squeaky Bean

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The rebirth of The Squeaky Bean is without a doubt one of the hottest openings of the year, and Johnny Ballen, chef Max MacKissock and bartender Sean Kenyon are showing Denver a playful and sophisticated way to dine. MacKissock's menu is inspired by the season, and much of the produce is coming from Squeaky Acre farm. Drop in for meal, or perch at the bar for one of Kenyon's pop culture-inspired cocktails.

Williams & Graham

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Williams & Graham, Sean Kenyon's LoHi speakeasy joint hidden behind a bookshelf, is one of the harder places to get a table these days, and no wonder. Between Kenyon's cocktails and chef David Bumgardner's food, it's rightfully a desirable place to visit.

Beehive

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This casual restaurant led by the talented chef Janice Henning offers unpretentious food made with locally sourced ingredients in a modern yet rustic setting. Expect to find comforting dishes like chicken ‘n’ rice complemented by farro and Hakurei turnips, house-made duck confit that changes its sides with the seasons, and Tuscan Ribollita soup, perfect for the colder weather.

Spuntino

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This may be Denver's best kept secret right now. Chef John Broening and pastry chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom (James Beard semi-finalist for multiple years) work the line at this small eatery six days a week putting out simple but creative dishes that attract neighbors and those in the know from food critics to Denver's best chefs.

Pinche Taqueria

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Pinche Taqueria, the brick-and-mortar extension of the Pinche Tacos food truck, just shouldn't be missed. The tacos here are flat-out amazing, and the bar offerings don't lack either. Pinche also offers brunch tacos on weekends. Go hungry. Go thirsty. Go now.

The Kitchen Denver

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The Kitchen, a Boulder farm-to-table staple, recently opened a location in LoDo. While it's very similar to the Boulder digs, The Kitchen Denver offers an exclusive sustainable seafood bar and 10 kegs wines by the glass. There's also a fantastic happy hour here.

Central Bistro and Bar

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New to the LoHi hood, Central Bistro and Bar is a collaboration between chef Lance Barto and real estate developer Isiah Salazar. As one of the most anticipated opening of 2012, Central Bistro and Bar strives to serve true American cuisine without the pretense.

Uncle

This Highlands Asian-fusion spot dishes out outstanding ramen dishes, noodles bowls, and a kimchi stew that is worth the trip alone. In a modern decor with friendly service, Uncle is a great choice for a casual dinner packed with Momofuku-inspired flavors.

The Populist

The new RiNo neighborhood restaurant from Noah Price, owner of Crema Coffeehouse and chef Jonathan Power has opened with a splash in November. Try the fish rilletes and the braised beef cheeks and don't overlook the small but smart wine list.

Ace

Ace, a monster ping pong hall and Asian eatery from restaurateur Josh Wolkon, is one of the hottest restaurants to bounce onto the Denver dining scene. Everything from the sprawling outdoor patio to the unique Asian-inspired kitchen and bar program makes Ace the place to be scene.

Punch Bowl Social Food & Drink

A gigantic space with three large bars, many lanes for bowling, a diner-like eating area, and a variety of games. Punch Bowl Social kicked the entertainment levels up to South Broadway and the lines outside the door on a Friday night are only the first sign of this spot's hotness.

Oak at Fourteenth

Oak at Fourteenth reignited as a better version of itself over the last few months. Between the insane bar and cocktail program that Bryan Dayton is leading, complete with ice carved on premises and house-bottled sodas, and the daring dishes fired by Steven Redzikowski in the wood-fired oven, Oak at Fourteenth is the hot spot in Boulder.

The Squeaky Bean

The rebirth of The Squeaky Bean is without a doubt one of the hottest openings of the year, and Johnny Ballen, chef Max MacKissock and bartender Sean Kenyon are showing Denver a playful and sophisticated way to dine. MacKissock's menu is inspired by the season, and much of the produce is coming from Squeaky Acre farm. Drop in for meal, or perch at the bar for one of Kenyon's pop culture-inspired cocktails.

Williams & Graham

Williams & Graham, Sean Kenyon's LoHi speakeasy joint hidden behind a bookshelf, is one of the harder places to get a table these days, and no wonder. Between Kenyon's cocktails and chef David Bumgardner's food, it's rightfully a desirable place to visit.

Beehive

This casual restaurant led by the talented chef Janice Henning offers unpretentious food made with locally sourced ingredients in a modern yet rustic setting. Expect to find comforting dishes like chicken ‘n’ rice complemented by farro and Hakurei turnips, house-made duck confit that changes its sides with the seasons, and Tuscan Ribollita soup, perfect for the colder weather.

Spuntino

This may be Denver's best kept secret right now. Chef John Broening and pastry chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom (James Beard semi-finalist for multiple years) work the line at this small eatery six days a week putting out simple but creative dishes that attract neighbors and those in the know from food critics to Denver's best chefs.

Pinche Taqueria

Pinche Taqueria, the brick-and-mortar extension of the Pinche Tacos food truck, just shouldn't be missed. The tacos here are flat-out amazing, and the bar offerings don't lack either. Pinche also offers brunch tacos on weekends. Go hungry. Go thirsty. Go now.

The Kitchen Denver

The Kitchen, a Boulder farm-to-table staple, recently opened a location in LoDo. While it's very similar to the Boulder digs, The Kitchen Denver offers an exclusive sustainable seafood bar and 10 kegs wines by the glass. There's also a fantastic happy hour here.

Central Bistro and Bar

New to the LoHi hood, Central Bistro and Bar is a collaboration between chef Lance Barto and real estate developer Isiah Salazar. As one of the most anticipated opening of 2012, Central Bistro and Bar strives to serve true American cuisine without the pretense.

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