First look: Chili Verde reopens in a new, much improved space on Federal
All photos by Lori Midson.
In February, brothers Hanzel and Eder Yáñez shuttered Chili Verde, their Mexican restaurant in LoHi that celebrated the cuisine of Puebla. The weather-beaten building, with its chipped white paint, had also suffered a fire, rendering the restaurant inhabitable for weeks. But on Saturday, the brothers, along with manager Custo Avalos, reopened Chili Verde in a new space at 2311 Federal Boulevard, in Jefferson Park. "The former building was really old and needed a ton of work, plus our lease was up, so it was a good opportunity for us to find a better building in a better location," says Avalos, adding that the lease was signed in March.
"There's a lot more street appeal here, we love the inside, and we're excited to be in a neighborhood where a lot of really great new restaurants have opened and will continue to open. This is an area that's definitely taking off, and we're looking forward to being a part of that energy," says Avalos.
The space, tinted lime green and white -- the same color palette as at the former Chili Verde -- is larger than the original and features light wood tables draped with white tablecloths, a fourteen-seat bar, rusticated red brick, a partially exposed kitchen and a side patio strewn with wrought-iron tables and chairs.
"There's still some work to do on the patio," stresses Avalos, "but when we're done fixing it up, it's going to be a really cozy place to hang out." And having the bar, he adds, is a huge improvement over the old space. "There wasn't really anywhere for people to just linger over a cocktail or a beer, because the bar was super-small, and while we're a family-friendly restaurant, it's nice to have a bigger, more visible bar area for people who just want to come in for a drink and a few appetizers," he notes.
Chili Verde's menu remains largely untouched, save for the additions of a new salad, a vegetarian tamale and a few crepes, but an entirely new weekend brunch menu will hit the tables next Saturday, and a happy hour that runs daily from 3 to 6 p.m. (and during the Denver Bronco games) headlines drink specials and $2 tacos, including carne asada, carnitas, pork belly, tinga and a vegetarian option. A small wine list strengthened by a glut of Mexican beers and numerous cocktails, including a dozen fresh-squeezed margaritas, round out the beverage board.
Here's a first look at the second incarnation of Chili Verde, which is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday.