It somehow seems a bit wrong to reveal just how staggeringly delicious these ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants in Denver are. Heaven knows we usually (and inadvertently) kill the things we love by blabbering to everyone about them. But let’s face it…the guys and gals at these hard-working haunts deserve to be recognized. I just hope they don’t become Denver’s next hot spots, or I’m going to really miss my favorite Pad See Ew.
1. Queen of Sheba, 7225 E. Colfax Ave.
For some of the most authentic, hearty, slow-cooked, distinctively flavored Ethiopian fare in Denver, check out this spot on East Colfax run by ONE very magical woman. Enjoy a unique selection of Ethiopian coffee, beer, or honey wine and sit back and relax as you wait for your finger-licking family-style platters of meat and veggie and injera goodness to be prepared. (Note: This is NOT a fast food restaurant and is, as I said, run by ONE woman, so be prepared to enjoy a leisurely meal).
2. Denver Ted's, 1308 Pearl St.
If you've got a craving for a hot (greasy) philly cheesesteak piled high with thinly shaved beef on a soft and chewy Amoroso roll imported from Philly, go to Denver Ted's in Cap Hill. Top your sizable sammie off with melted provolone, whiz, or even spray can cheese and a whole host of other toppings like peppers, mushrooms, and hot pepper relish. Wash it all down with a cold brew, then go home and take a nice long snooze. You've earned it!
3. La Abeja, 508 E. Colfax Ave.
This mom and pop Mexican joint is serving up some of the most authentic and delicious burritos, tacos, and enchiladas Uptown. And don't miss out on their traditional Mexican baked goods made daily in-house.
4. Sakura House, 1255 19th St.
For a HUGE steaming hot bowl of Japanese ramen at a great price, stop in at this hidden gem in LoDo, and slurp away at your heart's content on oodles of noodles in a rich, layered broth.
5. Kitchen Table, 1426 E. 22nd Ave.
This spot in City Park West is dishing up classic American comfort food and Kansas City style BBQ from scratch using all natural and organic products (whenever possible). For a hearty meal "cooked slow, served fast," have a seat at the Kitchen Table.
6. Jamaican Grill, 709 W. 8th Ave.
While we're on the subject of slow-cooked comfort food that satisfies the belly, let's talk about Jamaican Grill in Lincoln Park. One of the only joints in town offering mouthwateringly delicious, authentic Caribbean cuisine, including jerk chicken, oxtail stew, curry goat, and whole pan-fried red snapper.
7. Butcher Block Cafe, 1701 38th St., 5002 Washington St., & Commerce City
This family-owned business has been serving up some of the best no-frills, greasy spoon diner-style food in the Mile High City since 1979. If you've got a hankering for smothered burritos with hash browns, chicken fried steak with country gravy, or homemade carrot cake and cinnamon rolls, you've got to try the Butcher Block!
8. Pho 96, 2990 W. Mississippi Ave.
If rich, flavorful Vietnamese food and pho is what you're craving, look no PHOrther! They've simply got some of the most delicious pho, noodle bowls, rice plates, smoothies, and traditional desserts in town. Truly PHOnomenal!
9. Bourbon Grill, 1618 E. Colfax Ave.
Bourbon Grill is the perfect neighborhood spot for hefty portions of soul satisfying stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. Get in line, grab their famed bourbon chicken and mac & cheese, and gobble it up wherever you please.
10. Ethiopian Restaurant, 2816 E. Colfax Ave.
This cash-only, never-any-frills family-owned operation in City Park is serving up authentic Ethiopian food that's out of this world. Favorites include spicy lentils, cabbage, doro wat, and of course, injera. This husband and wife run treasure is the epitome of mom and pop Ethiopian cuisine. Don't miss it!
11. Thai Monkey Club, 102 S. Broadway, 4122 E. Colfax Ave., & 406 E. Colfax Ave.
Undoubtedly some of the most spicy, delicious, traditional Thai specialties in Denver (in my humble opinion). Their Thom Kha, Drunken Noodles, and Pad See Ew are just a few of their to-die-for dishes. (Note: Don't let the name fool you...there are no actual monkeys or clubs involved in this establishment).
Okay, Denverites, what are YOUR all time favorite ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants in Denver? Share ’em if you got ’em! (But we can’t promise not to tell).