If a restaurant is small, regulars-only, and specializes in dishes that keep locals coming back for more, you know it’s bound to be good. These unassuming restaurants in Denver are proudly serving some of the best pizza, barbecue, burgers, and other homemade eats in the Mile High City. Get down to these neighborhood haunts the next chance you get, and they’re guaranteed to have you hooked after just one visit.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. The Butcher Block Cafe
For more than 30 years, loyal customers have been flocking to the Butcher Block Cafe at 38th and Wynkoop, to joyously devour their divinely delicious homemade cinnamon rolls and other home-cooked meals made from scratch.
2. My Brother's Bar
With no sign out front, no website to speak of, and food served up to-go style without a plate in sight, it's safe to say that My Brother's Bar just may be our city's most undercover local haunt. Denver's oldest watering hole dishes out juicy burgers, piping hot onion rings, cold brews and a whole lot of history at 2376 15th Street in LoDo.
3. Hong Kong Barbecue
The crispy roast duck dishes (and everything else for that matter) at Hong Kong Barbecue on South Federal are utterly legit and extremely delicious. Take a culinary tour of China with their sizzling roasted meats, pan-fried noodles, hot pots, curries, and more, and be sure to save room for dessert because their fried dough served up with a sweetened condensed milk dipping sauce is off the charts.
4. CoraFaye's Cafe
CoraFaye's new location in Aurora may look fancier than their previous digs, but you can expect the same stick-to-your-ribs down-home soul food this family-owned joint has been dishing out for years, using recipes passed down through four generations. Find them on the second floor at 16251 E. Colfax Avenue slinging Southern fried chicken, frog legs, smothered pork chops, mac ‘n cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, fried okra, cornbread, and basically an comfort food you could possibly crave.
5. Jerusalem Restaurant
For over 35 years, this family-owned operation in University has been providing Mile Highers with some of the most delectable Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine in town. Falafel, shawarmah, sheesh kabobs, baba ghanouj, hummus...you name it, they've got it, and they're dishing it out until 4 or 5am daily!
6. Burrito Giant
Don't let the flashy exterior mural fool you, because Burrito Giant at 38th and Utica in the Highlands is the epitome of no-frills. They're slinging cheap, delicious smothered burritos (in styrofoam containers), gym equipment, art work, and more at this funky spot, so get on down and check out their two-for-one burrito happy hour from 2 to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
7. Bourbon Grill
There's no doubt the smoke billowing from Bourbon Grill on East Colfax signals scrumptious soul food just like Mama made. From Texas barbecue and cajun chicken to shrimp chips and teriyaki wings, they've got all the comforts of home at Bourbon Grill.
8. Thai Monkey Club
Wonderfully authentic Thai cuisine at three locations in Denver - two on East Colfax and one on South Broadway. They've got all of your favorites, including tasty Tom Kha, perfectly seasoned Pad See Ew, and intricately rich curries.
9. Masterpiece Delicatessen
Whether you dine in or carry out, Masterpiece Delicatessan is undoubtedly one of the Mile High City's most delectable sandwich spots and a great place to grab breakfast or lunch - especially if you're looking for to-go fuel for an outdoor adventure or picnic in the park. Check them out at one of their three locations in LoHi, Lowry, and Uptown.
10. Ragin' Hog BBQ
It can be hard to find authentic southern-style barbecue in the Mile High City, but Ragin' Hog boasts some of the best in town. From hot links and burnt ends to baked beans and collard greens, they've got it all, including a creamy, heavenly homemade buttermilk pie just like grandma used to make. (You can find them in the Safeway shopping center on Lowell Boulevard.)
11. Blue Pan Pizza
In case you were wondering where to find THE best pizza in Denver, now you know! This tiny, tasty spot in the Highlands specializes in Detroit Style deep dish pizza, as well as classic Italian, New York slices, and Chicago cracker thin, featuring fresh, high-quality ingredients and served up by friendly, attentive staff. Check their website for killer daily and weekly specials, family deals, and happy hour.