Denver's River North Art District, more commonly called RiNo, is characterized by its industrial, sometimes-gritty setting, but that hasn't prevented the area from becoming a true hotspot for restaurants and bars. It's also known as the home to numerous art galleries, studios, breweries, and the Source—Denver's answer to an artisan food market. Our updated guide captures a moment in time for this neighborhood's ever-changing dining scene, with 15 places, ordered alphabetically, to choose from.Read More
Where to Dine in the Hot RiNo Neighborhood
There's something for every taste from tacos to ramen and burgers.
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Housed in the Source, Acorn came to Denver via the crew behind Boulder’s OAK at Fourteenth. In the industrial setting you’ll find a contemporary American menu of small plates. Bryan Dayton’s impressive craft cocktail program has something for everyone, including booze-free and low-alcohol concoctions.
Comida was born out of a food truck and now boasts a location in the Source, as well as Longmont. The menu of Mexican street food features tacos, tortas, tostadas, and quesadillas. Happy hour is popular and also available all night on Mondays—try a $5 pineapple-habañero margarita and a Tender Belly hot dog with queso fundido for $4.
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Communal dining is the emphasis here, from community tables to dishes made for sharing. Choose from a variety of small plates, or opt for the seven-course chef’s tasting menu at $75 for two people.
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Hutch & Spoon
This cafe is a perfect spot to drop by for a snack or to catch up with a friend over a meal. The casual board ranges from breakfast sandwiches, to salads and lunch sandwiches like turkey with cranberry chutney on sourdough. Check out owner Tracy Zimmer’s decorative spoon collection mounted on displays around the space.
Work & Class
The motto of this hotspot is a “square meal, stiff drink, and fair price.” The working class philosophy is boosted by chef Dana Rodriguez’s cuisine, with dishes like lamb pozole and peppers five ways. The meat selections are served in quarter-, half- and full-pound portions, including braised short ribs and rotisserie chicken, either rosemary or Jamaican jerk style.
This urban taqueria from chef Troy Guard offers Mexican food with a twist—think pig-ear nachos and octopus tacos. On the quirky drink menu you’ll find libations like the Urban Legend (tequila, Mexican Coke, and Pop Rocks), or the Panther Milk shot, a combination of pisco and citrus with ceviche essence.
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Sister restaurant to Los Chingones, Sugarmill is helmed by pastry chef Noah French. This sweet spot’s signature dessert is the Noahsphere, a hollow chocolate shell filled with candied nuts, chocolate brownie, marshmallows, and vanilla mascarpone cream, which is then topped with hot caramel poured tableside. But even though sugar is the main draw, there’s also a savory menu to balance things out.
Americatus New-World Italian
After a slight name change from Amerigo Delicatus, Americatus still serves a well-edited menu of new-world Italian cuisine, but without the former market component. Build a platter from the numerous meat and cheese offerings, and look for simple but fresh pasta preparations.
As a neighborhood tavern, you expect a variety of beers on tap and typical bar fare—which Will Call does have—but in a unique twist, a variety of arepas dominate the food menu. The Venezuelan corn flatbreads feature fillings like ginger black bean paste, plantains, and chicharrones.
As a complement to the next-door music venue of the same name, Meadowlark Kitchen is an ideal spot for a late-night meal, with New American fare that changes often. One constant, however, is the decadent burger: a custom beef grind topped with cheddar sauce, candied bacon, an onion ring, and poached egg, all piled on a brioche bun.
Brand-new on the scene, Nocturne is a jazz and supper club inspired by similar venues of the 1940s. While the live music plays each night, you can sip on cocktails, wine, and bubbly, plus make a meal out of small bites, or opt for the six-course tasting menu.
Biju's Little Curry Shop
The fast-casual trend plays out here with the curry styles of southern India, where chef and owner Biju Thomas grew up. Build a bowl by choosing a protein or veggies, and then selecting options like rice, crunchy veggies, and other condiments with varying spice levels.
Small but mighty, Cart-Driver comes from chef Kelly Whitaker of Basta in Boulder. This venue within shipping container space takes orders at the counter, then turns out wood-fired pizzas, oysters, and other small plates. Batched cocktails and Prosecco on tap are the highlights where adult beverages are concerned.
This subterranean ramen shop led by chef Jeff Osaka serves great tonkotsu and chicken kara age that will make you want to return. It is open for lunch and dinner.
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Park Burger RiNo
The RiNo outpost of this locally-grown mini-chain attracts burger fans who come for the classic offerings of Park Burger and stay to watch sports on the big screen tvs. Bonus: The airy space features garage doors, perfect for enjoying summer Colorado evenings.
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