Torta Grill opens on East Colfax...to a cluster of habitual addicts

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Lori Midson
You're back!" booms Steve Clifton, diverting his eyes away from the flattop just long enough to greet a customer who's on his third day straight of tortas. "It's been like that ever since we opened," says Clifton, who, along with his wife, Ardeni, took over the former Pineapple Grill at 1818 East Colfax last week and reopened the diminutive space as Torta Grill.

"This is our first restaurant, and it's been one helluva learning experience, but it's going gangbusters," says Clifton, who unlocked the doors last Friday, only to encounter a man -- a different man than the third timer -- shifting his feet in anticipation. "The first guy who we served came back on Saturday morning with a bunch of people, and we've had repeat customers every single day, which is all we can ask for."

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Lori Midson
Clifton, whose wife is from Mexico City, where you'll bump into carts selling tortas on every street corner, says they spent nearly a year looking for a space in which to replicate the gargantuan sandwiches that define Mexican street food -- and rather than choosing a storefront on Federal, where there's already a high concentration of taquerias turning out tortas, they wedged themselves inside an East Colfax shoebox with exactly five stools, an open kitchen, natural fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices and a menu that mimics what you'll find on Federal.

"I don't think enough Americans know what a torta is," claims Clifton, who jokes that it's the "new burrito." And, his mission, he says, is to make sure that urban neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, which doesn't have a large Hispanic presence, get a taste of what they may be missing. "We wanted to be in a neighborhood that's a melting pot of cultures, which is one reason why we picked this space. It's central, there's a lot of foot traffic and unless you go a long way in either direction, there's no place else to get a torta," he says.

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Lori Midson
And speaking of those tortas, they're certainly worth a repeat visit. The bread, baked by a woman north of Denver who owns a panaderia, is split and buttered, slapped on the flattop, smeared with ripe avocado, lardy beans and mayonnaise, strewn with onions, streaked with an inferno of chipotle chiles or jalapeno jelly, and stuffed with cheese, pork, breaded steak, chroizo, ham or bacon (or all of the above, if you get the especial, which also comes heaped with a hot dog) before it collapses into your lap from the weight; there's a vegetarian version, too, spilling over with scrambled eggs, nopales, cheese and crushed red peppers.

Be prepared to wear it.

Torta Grill is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more info, call 720-420-0964. The joint also delivers.



Location Info

Torta Grill

1818 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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10 comments
Charlie
Charlie

I need more food that is Baked, Split, Buttered, Slapped, Smeared, Strewn, Streaked, and Stuffed, before Collapsing and Spilling Over!  Wow!

Lori Midson
Lori Midson

The majority of vegetarians eat eggs; vegans, to the contrary, do not. If you need more clarity, an egg is not an animal (the egg isn't fertilized, so it's a waste product.) Comprende?

Charles Robbins
Charles Robbins

I work a few doors down at the Squire from these folks and can only say great things about them. The food is amazing and a bang for the buck. I come from Southern California, where mexican food is abundant, but they put a special touch on everything. I waited patiently for a month to get a taste of what they were going to provide and was more than overwhelmed with their results. The fresh juices and fruit cocktails are great and refreshing on top of the amazing tortas that they make. Do not become impatient with the time it takes to receive your order, they cook to order and have only 4 people working at max. They're well worth the wait and as I think they become more accustomed to the "fax" of life, they will get faster. This is custom food at a very unorthodox price and approach of friendliness. Steve and Ardeni are a welcome sight to the neighborhood and I encourage you to give them a chance.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Was the sister restaurant to the Bourbon Grill, which is still open just a few blocks west @ Colfax & Park Ave. Good street food, good value.

Mike
Mike

Picked up dinner from there again - twice in 2 nights, it really is addictive and delicious.  It's nice having so many choices of places to eat in this area, but there is nothing like their menu around here.  The Pablo is our favorite so far, with pork loin, ham, and pinapple with the jalapeno jelly.  Their horchata is delicious as well!

anonymous
anonymous

Just had lunch from here (I had the Pablo with pork, pineapple and bacon) and it was outstanding! The husband and wife are super friendly, and offered me a free sample of their fantastic pineapple juice. I will definitely come back and highly recommend any and all to try it!

IVAN GARCIA M.
IVAN GARCIA M.

ESTOY LISTO PARA PODER SABOREAR ESAS TORTAS, PARA UN GRAN COMENSAL COMO YO SERIA UNA GRAN EXPERIENCIA. FELICIDADES CUÑAO...

Joey B
Joey B

Super psyched to try this place.

neighbor on colfax
neighbor on colfax

This place is super yummy!!  We saw your article pop up while deciding what to have for dinner, and off we went walking the 4 blocks from our house.  It is really cute, husband and wife and her Momma.  Very authentic and delicous, the sandwiches are perfect with the toppings and the bread, and the juice is all fresh squeezed.  They are working on getting a menu online, but the 2 sandwiches we shared makes me think every choice is a good one.  Can't wait to go back, congratulations!

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