First look: Mile High Italian Deli opens in Highland

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All photos by Lori Midson.

The concept behind Mile High Italian Deli, a small, 800-square-foot storefront in Highland, is sandwiches, panini, salads, and, on Saturday, pizzas, the latter of which is an extension of Mile High Pizza Pie, a pizza joint that rose -- and fell -- downtown, after the landlord threatened to raise the rent through the roof. That increase in dough resulted in owner Howard Ellis selling the spot in September of last year following a four-year run -- and inking a lease on the former In Season Local Market, which he operates with business partner Dino Marchig, whose grandmother owns the space, along with Cebiche next door.

See also: LYFE Kitchen -- where everything is under 600 calories -- opening in Park Meadows

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First look: Le Rendez Vous opens in Cherry Creek

All photos by Lori Midson.

It's been fifteen years since Olga moved to Denver from Russia and began a career as an accountant. But the grind of crunching numbers all day, plus working for other people, she says, wasn't giving her the fulfillment she was looking for. "I was a CPA and working in the corporate world, but I dreamed of working for myself and doing something unique -- something that lent itself to spending time with friends and having a good time," she notes. And late last week, on Friday, that dream became a reality when she opened Le Rendez Vous, a restaurant and Champagne lounge in Cherry Creek.

See also: First look: A charming new Maria Empanada opens on South Broadway

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First look: A charming new Maria Empanada opens on South Broadway

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All photos by Lori Midson.

It's normal for a restaurant owner to be nervous on opening day -- even if it's not your first rodeo and you've assembled an experienced staff. There's often chaos, flared tempers and a general reaction of palpable fretfulness. But this morning, at the new Maria Empanada, the vibe was pure joy. Five minutes before opening the doors at 11 a.m., owner Lorena Cantarovici gathered her staff in a circle, wiped the tears from her eyes and quietly thanked her staff (more times than most of us get thanked in a week) for "creating a little bit of Argentina on South Broadway."

See also: Maria Empanada relocating to the former Buffalo Doughboy space

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First look: Michael Bortz's City Bakery Cafe opens today

All photos by Lori Midson.

Despite the fact that it wasn't even open, zealous bread heads -- 250 of them to be exact -- rose to the occasion yesterday, forming long lines at master baker Michael Bortz's City Bakery Cafe, the restaurant-retail offshoot of City Bakery, Bortz's bread-baking emporium in north Denver, which supplies loaves of lovely bread to numerous local restaurants. The Golden Triangle cafe, located in the former home of Lenny's Sub Shop, spent the past few days doing trial runs -- and turning out sandwiches and baked goods for free to eager neighbors -- and today, at promptly 11 a.m., City Bakery Cafe opens to the public.

See also: Baker Michael Bortz opening City Bakery Cafe in the former Lenny's Sub Shop on Lincoln

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First look: John Holly's Asian Bistro opens on South Gaylord Street


John Holly's Asian Bistro, which already boasts a duo of outposts across the city, including one in Lone Tree and a second in the Harvard Gulch neighborhood, just upped the count to three with this week's opening in Washington Park, taking over the former Japon space at 1028 South Gaylord Street. The interior, which owners Cichi Shi and Andy Huang completely gutted, save for the bar area overlooking the streetscape, is pure modern Zen and serenity, with one wall devoted entirely to a water feature bobbing with sparkling bubbles. The menu, which includes a comprehensive sushi syllabus, is complemented by familiar Chinese dishes, a smattering of Thai curries and a few Korean and Singaporean plates. And if your pockets are deep, there's braised abalone, too: $108 for eight ounces; $208 for sixteen ounces. John Holly's is open for lunch and dinner daily, and if you live in the Wash Park 'hood, delivery is free with a minimum order of $15.

Here's a peek at the space and some of the dishes to look forward to.

See also: Restaurant Japon will soon close in Wash Park - and relocate to a new location next year

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Sneak peek: The Kitchen Next Door opens today in CitySet

All photos by Lori Midson.
CitySet, the impressive restaurant project in Glendale at the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Cherry Creek Drive, just got another big culinary boost thanks to Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Musk. Today they opened The Kitchen Next Door Glendale, the second outpost of the original spot in Boulder that resides adjacent to the Kitchen Upstairs and the Kitchen, the duo's flagship restaurant. The Kitchen also boasts a location in Denver -- and later this summer, will have a third at Union Station and a fourth in Fort Collins.

See also: The Kitchen's Hugo Matheson on escapism, a contrary vegan and fair wages

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Sneak Peek: Work & Class opens Wednesday in RiNo

All photos by Lori Midson.

Early last spring, Delores Tronco and her boyfriend, Tony Maciag, both of whom are Denver restaurant industry veterans, signed on the dotted line, inking a lease that would make them the owners of their own restaurant -- a restaurant, says Tronco, whose name is also synonymous with the Justice League of Street Food, that was built on a leap of faith. "There is no backup plan. Tony and I put everything we have on the line, even clearing out our savings account to do this, but we believe in this restaurant, so we took the leap, leveraging everything we had to take a good, calculated risk," says Tronco, adding, too, that while she and Maciag had financial assistance, there's no rich uncle harboring gold coins in a safe. "We have no angel investors. Everyone who helped us get this restaurant open -- they're all friends, family members and people that we've worked with who did this because they believed in it and wanted to invest money in something that was more personal than the stock market."

The culmination of their efforts will be unveiled to the public on Wednesday, when Tronco, Maciag and chef-partner Dana Rodriguez, the former exec chef of Bistro Vendome, open Work & Class in a 1,468-square-foot space at Broadway and Larimer, a mixed-use shipping-container project that's pioneered by Denver-based Gravitas Development Group.

See also: Dana Rodriguez, chef of Bistro Vendome, will become exec chef-partner of Work & Class

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Monsoon, a new upscale Indian restaurant, gives relief to the chain-saturated suburbs


If you live in Denver, Monsoon, a new Indian restaurant that's way the hell out in Aurora, is a trek, but its location, on the east side of Southlands shopping center, is a welcome addition to that chain-ganged suburb. And if what I ate while I was there is indicative of its future consistency, then I'll be a regular.

See also: Ten best Indian restaurants in Denver

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Exclusive First Look: The POST Brewing Co., a brewery and chicken house, opens Thursday in Lafayette

All photos by Lori Midson.

Back in December 2012, we broke the news that Dave Query, the mastermind behind Big Red F, the Boulder-based restaurant group that operates numerous restaurants throughout the state, including Lola, Jax and Zolo Grill, was opening a brewery and chicken joint in Lafayette. And on Thursday, Query, along with a veteran team of pros, including beer master Bryan Selders (the former lead brewer of Dogfish Head), Big Red F culinary director Jamey Fader and chef-partner Brett Smith, formerly of Zolo Grill, will unleash POST Brewing Co., an homage to cluck and craft beer, in the old VWF hall in Lafayette.

See also: Exclusive: Dave Query and Big Red F opening a brewery and chicken joint in Lafayette

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First look: Boone's Tavern unveils a remodel -- and new menu

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All photos by Lori Midson.

While Table to Tavern, a new restaurant group that's a partnership between the owners of Pour Kids (Boone's Tavern and HandleBar Tavern) and Paradigm Restaurants, the crew that owns Table 6, continues to put the finishing touches on Atticus -- their first joint restaurant concept that will open in February at the corner of Downing and Evans, just adjacent to Boone's -- they've also been hard at work remodeling Boone's, which now sports a new interior, along with a new menu.

See also: Atticus, a new restaurant from Table to Tavern, will open by the end of the year adjacent to Boone's Tavern

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