Nothing screams, “Delicious!” like an eatery that’s been slinging the same delectable dishes for decades and earned its rank at the top of the food chain. With trendy new spots popping up all over town (and dropping off the map just as quickly), there’s something to be said for these Mile High haunts that have managed to persevere over time. Great food, a warm ambiance, and a quality experience is what you can expect from these remarkable oldest restaurants in Denver that are still at the top of their game after all these years. They don’t call ’em classics for nothin’!
1. The Palace Arms
Established in 1892, the historic Brown Palace Hotel is a tried and true Denver landmark, and its fine dining restaurant, the Palace Arms, is just as much of a Mile High tradition. While you can expect to pay a pretty penny, you can also expect nothing short of excellence.
2. Wynkoop Brewing Co.
Wynkoop Brewing Co. was founded back in the day when the now hip and happening LoDo neighborhood was nothing more than a sketchy ghost town. In 1988, Governor John Hickenlooper and three of his pals founded what has now become a Denver institution and been dubbed "Colorado’s O.G. Brewpub." In fact, you can pretty much thank Wynkoop for Coors Field, Larimer Square, Union Station, the revitalization of LoDo, and the Mile High wellspring of craft breweries.
3. Gaetano's Restaurant
In 2012, this landmark 1930's eatery was bought out by the Breckenridge and Wynkoop family of restaurants, who have diligently preserved the rich history and heritage upon which it was founded. Ralph and Mamie Smaldone and their three mobster sons (aka restauranteurs, entrepreneurs, bootleggers, and gamblers) would most certainly be proud.
4. Barolo Gril
For over 20 years, Barolo Grill in Cherry Creek North has been dishing out award-winning Northern Italian cuisine, with an emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients sourced from regional farms and artisans. It's a little on the pricey side, but save this spot for a special occasion, and I promise your "handmade pinches of pasta" smothered in brown butter and parmesan will be well worth the penny-pinching you did to deserve it.
5. El Taco De Mexico
You don't have to break the bank to get good eats, and this no-frills, family-owned, female-run operation on Sante Fe is a testament to that truth. Many Denverites will tell you this joint serves the best chile relleno, smothered burrito, and green chile in town, and I suggest you see for yourself!
6. White Fence Farm
White Fence Farms in Lakewood boasts down-home cookin', a laid back atmosphere, and (arguably) the best fried chicken in the metro area. With made-from-scratch vittles like pork chops, biscuits, mashed potatoes, and gravy (and the fact that they actually have a petting zoo on site), White Fence Farms is the perfect spot for your next gathering of friends and family.
7. Lechuga's Italian Restaurant
This North Denver staple has been a neighborhood favorite for over 50 years and is still cranking out traditional Italian dishes using the same family recipes as the day it opened. I suggest you stop by and scarf down as many of their original sausage cannolis as possible ASAP!
8. Gold Hill Inn
Another family-run restaurant that hasn't changed much since the early 1960s is the historic Gold Hill Inn. This one-of-a-kind eatery perched atop a mountain just outside of Boulder offers three and six course menus, beer, wine, a full bar, and a total escape from the lights and noise of the city. (They also offer live music on occasion so be sure to do your homework.)
9. The Fort
The incomparable Fort Restaurant in Morrison is so deliciously steeped in history that we wrote a
dedicated solely to its greatness. Established in 1963 but modeled after a Colorado fur trade fort built in 1833, this eatery promises a one-of-a-kind dining experience that you won't soon forget.