The ten best new restaurants in Denver
Hundreds of restaurants opened in metro Denver last year, including everything from little neighborhood sandwich shops and upscale taquerias to ambitious and strikingly decorated American spots. And which was the best new restaurant to open in 2013? That's what we'll reveal in the Best of Denver 2014, which hits the streets on March 27. To whet your appetite for that unveiling, we've come up with our list of finalists, the ten best new restaurants -- restaurants that have opened within the last twelve months -- in Denver (and yes, that's metro Denver)...presented in alphabetical order. (And keep reading for the five finalists for Best New Restaurant chosen by Westword readers.)
See also: Ten best new Denver bars of 2013
3350 Brighton Boulevard
Bryan Dayton and Steven Redzikowski, the team behind the acclaimed Oak at Fourteenth in Boulder, signed on early to put a second restaurant in the Source. And Acorn, which opened this past September, doesn't fall too far from the original Oak. The space is different, of course: Acorn takes full advantage of the ultra-urban, industrial-chic feel of the Source, with plenty of exposed brick, metal ducts and graffiti - but little of the warmth of the Boulder original. But the menu embodies the same "wood-fired seasonal cooking" that's made Oak one of Boulder's most inspiring -- and popular - restaurants.
2) Beast + Bottle
719 East 17th Avenue
Brother-sister duo Paul and Aileen Reilly opened Beast + Bottle last March, and although they'd already run Encore together, this spot in the Uptown neighborhood is the restaurant "conjured in our heads since we were kids," Paul explains. It's a seasonally inspired farm-to-fork operation, a nose-to-tail restaurant -- and while you might think Beast + Bottle has come a little late to that party, rather than seeming passe, the restaurant feels expansive, quirky and worldly, as the menu travels from Colorado to Maine to Italy to North Africa in the span of twenty dishes.
3) The Curtis Club
2100 Curtis Street
Created by musician-turned-restaurateur Scott Bagus in the former home of the Old Curtis Street Bar, the Curtis Club exudes a vibe that would be hard to imagine outside of the West. Walls are decked out with cedar-fence wood, horseshoes hang by the tin ceiling, and a mural of a lake backs the bar. In other towns and in other hands, such touches might verge on kitsch; here they feel like a part of our heritage. "I was going for the Old West, but with a classy feeling," explains Bagus. Welcome to the mild, mild West.
4) Harman's Eat and Drink
2900 East Second Avenue
Edward Harman was a pioneer in what would become Cherry Creek, and Harman's eat & drink is exploring new culinary territory in that now-upscale neighborhood. Legendary Colorado restaurateur Mark Fischer, whose first foray into the Denver dining scene was Phat Thai, determined early last year that the Asian-fusion concept wasn't working, and after a quick renovation, he rebranded the space as Harman's, a comfortable, New American restaurant designed as a regular hangout for the neighborhood.
1552 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO