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Updating The Eater Heatmap, January 2013

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It may be cold outside but Denver's dining and bar scene keeps getting hotter. New restaurants and bars that attract the crowds and make diners wait in line and get excited for great experiences open at a fast pace around the metro area. 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 January Heat Map is about - this dining and drinking moment in time.

IN: the Vesper Lounge, Tom's Urban 24
OUT: Pinche Tacos, Beehive

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 spectacular kimchi stew. In a modern decor with friendly service, Uncle is a great choice for a casual dinner packed with Momofuku-inspired flavors.

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.

The Populist

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The RiNo 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.

Vesper Lounge

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Frank Bonanno's new neighborhood bar, occupying the former Lancer Lounge space, is casual and comfortable but with elevated food and a killer bar program. Don't miss the Vesper, the house cocktail and give the crafted cocktails on tap a try.

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 putting out simple but creative dishes that attract neighbors and those in the know from food critics to Denver's best chefs.

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.
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.

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.

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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Only six months old, this LoHi eatery has become a HOT spot and a neighborhood favorite where American cuisine is served without the pretense in a casual yet vibrant setting. Don't miss the fried chicken.

Tom's Urban 24

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This new fast-casual diner restaurant at the corner of 15th and Larimer has the crowds buzzing around at all hours of the day...and night. Open 24h a day, with an extensive and eclectic menu, Tom's Urban 24 attracts with its hip design and comfortable vibe.

Uncle

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

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.

The Populist

The RiNo 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.

Vesper Lounge

Frank Bonanno's new neighborhood bar, occupying the former Lancer Lounge space, is casual and comfortable but with elevated food and a killer bar program. Don't miss the Vesper, the house cocktail and give the crafted cocktails on tap a try.

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 putting out simple but creative dishes that attract neighbors and those in the know from food critics to Denver's best chefs.

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.

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.

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.

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

Only six months old, this LoHi eatery has become a HOT spot and a neighborhood favorite where American cuisine is served without the pretense in a casual yet vibrant setting. Don't miss the fried chicken.

Tom's Urban 24

This new fast-casual diner restaurant at the corner of 15th and Larimer has the crowds buzzing around at all hours of the day...and night. Open 24h a day, with an extensive and eclectic menu, Tom's Urban 24 attracts with its hip design and comfortable vibe.

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