Category Archives: Restaurant & multiple restaurants

Pizzeria Locale One of the Best ‘Small Chains’

Restaurant trade site likes Colorado chain.

Pizzeria Locale, a casual spin-off of Boulder’s heralded Frasca Food and Wine, got a shout-out from RestaurantBusiness.com in a roundup of “20 Small Chains Poised to Break Out.” The first Locale next door to the mother ship is a table service spot, but the newer locations follow a fast-casual format with lower prices but still with the high food standards expected at a place that Frasca co-founder. chef Lachlan Mckinnon-Patterson, has set up and oversees. Pizzeria Locale is a joint venture with Colorado-based Chipotle. Here’s what the site wrote about Pizzeria Locale in a piece on small chains with fewer than 20 locations:

“The Denver-based build-your-own pizza concept made headlines three years ago when it got funding from Chipotle. It’s since expanded the brand—which cooks pizzas in two minutes in a 900-degree oven—into the Midwest, with restaurants in Kansas, Missouri and Ohio. The chain’s method of differentiating in the saturated pizza segment: a focus on southern Italy, from the ingredients used to the house creations.”

Kudos for Denver’s Señor Bear

Pan-Latin food and dynamite drinks earn LoHi eatery honors.

Whenever Zagat lists the best restaurants in select cities, Denver is always one of them. Here’s the shout-out in the site’s “Hottest Restaurants in 15 American Cities” post about Señor Bear, the site’s choice for the Mile High City. The “powerhouse team” referred to is headlined by Max McKissock, Blake Edmunds and Juan Padro and Katie O’Shea Padro. For McKissock, it’s a bit like old home week, since he was the chef at The Squeaky Bean, when it occupied the LoHi space.

Denver: Señor Bear
Built by the powerhouse team behind Bar Dough, this bright, breezy, instant destination in LoHi showcases the flavors of Latin America — from Peru to Puerto Rico — in both food and drink.

Must-order: Start with a pisco cocktail and any of the elegantly executed dishes comprising the mariscos section of the menu, including mofongo with shrimp and crab (pictured).

Insider tip: If you’re noise-sensitive, ask to sit on the patio — the small dining room can get extra-festive.

3307 Tejon St.; 720-572-5997

Biju’s in Boulder

Denver-born South Indian restaurant resides in Whole Foods.

I’d heard all sorts of good things about Biju’s Little Curry Shop in RiNo, but have not yet gotten there. It’s actually come to me with a small food counter inside the big Whole Foods. The offerings are limited and each dish comes in a bowl, but the Chicken Vindaloo so spicy, so well-balanced, so all-fired delicious that I may never order anything else there.

Half a dozen hot main dishes, Basmati rice and condiments..
Chicken vindaloo, ready to take to the cashier,
Basmati rice on the bottom, then a large spoonful of spicy vindaloo — large chunks of moist chunks of chicken thigh, some fresh cabbage, crushed padacam and other fresh vegetables and a bit of yogurt. I was able to eat about half, and brought the rest home.

Biju Thomas opened his first fast casual restaurant in RiNo and his second in Berkley.  Guy Fieri shot an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” that was broadcast a bit over a year ago. There are now outposts in Whole Foods Markets in Boulder and Tamarac. A perfect fit, I’d say.

Price check: Entrees, $9.45-$13.45.

Zomato has not yet found Biju’s, whose Boulder locaition is iInside Whole Fooes at Biju’s Little Curry Shop, 2905 Pearl Street, Boulder.

Happy News of 3 Reopenings

Conor O’Neill’s, Rosenberg’s & The Campus Lounge comeback tales.

reopeningjpgI recently posted news of the shuttering of two longtime metro area standbys, Boulder’s Conor O’Neill’s and The Campus Lounge in Denver, but couldn’t bear to write about the devastating fatal fire that closed Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen in Five Points. These three are or soon will be back. I suspect there won’t be Grand Reopenings (that was all I could find online), but the reopenings of these favorites will be grand.

Conor O’Neill’s reopened just a week after it closed, thanks to a deal struck with the Irish pub’s landlord.  The Irish pub rehired staff who rushed to put back everything they had taken down just a few days earlier. The new owners of The Campus Lounge in Denver’s Bonnie Brae area say they are keeping the name, the horseshoe bar and even the landmark sign but are redoing much else.

Rosenberg’s is to rise again in mid-October, having satisfied their loyal customers and perhaps finding new ones with a pop-up at the Slow Food Famers Market in The Source in RiNo and elsewhere , and also donated money, time and effort to various good causes.

Denver Five to Cook at NYC’s James Beard House

Left to right: John DePierro, Kevin Morrison, Dana Rodriguez, Wine Director Ryan Fletter, Pastry Chef Alicia Luther, Darrel Truett,and Mixologist Gerard Collier
Left to right: John DePierro, MiJo; Kevin Morrison, KTM Restaurant Group; Dana Rodriguez, Work & Class; Wine Director Ryan Fletter, Barolo Grill;  Pastry Chef Alicia Luther, Black Eye Coffee;  Darrel Truett, Barolo Grill, and Tacos, Tequila and Whiskey  mixologist Gerard Collier.

This elite team of Colorado culinary compatriots has made an indelible mark on the Colorado dining scene with their bold, inventive fare. The group (five chefs, two “beveragists”) celebrates the collective’s ninth Beard House anniversary with an eclectic menu that highlights the evolving traditions of the Mile High City. If your pockets are deep your your appetite robust (and you are or will be in New York), the dinner costs $175 for the general public and $135 for Beard members.

The James Beard House is at 167 West 12th Street, New York; 212-627-2308. Go to the next page for the menu

Continue reading Denver Five to Cook at NYC’s James Beard House

Steuben’s & Park Burger on National List

The Daily Meal includes Denver eateries on best burger list.

DailyMeal-logoI scan every list of “best” and “top” restaurants for Colorado entries. If there is one, it is usually in Denver or occasionally Boulder, but hardly ever in the mountains.  As for the rest of the Rocky Mountain region, those sites do not seem to realize that New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana even exist. Tsk-tsk on coastal provincialism. Enough of that and on to The Daily Meal’s selection of “The 101 Best Burgers in America 2016 .” Steuben’s — a fun Denver spot with Boston roots — makes the list, as do Park Burger’s four locations.

Steuben’s

Opened in 2007, but named in honor of a famous restaurant and nightclub co-proprietor Josh Wolkon’s great-uncles owned in Boston for several decades in the middle of the last century, Steuben’s is a neighborhood diner serving American regional specialties. Representing Colorado’s neighbor, New Mexico, the menu presents what is regularly named the best green chile (or chili, as Steuben’s puts it) cheeseburger in Denver. Said to be inspired by the classic version at the Owl Bar in San Antonio, New Mexico, it’s a fat burger patty topped with American cheese into which green chile strips seem to melt. Lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, and mustard ornament the burger, which is served on a challah bun.

Park Burger

With four Denver locations, Park Burger has made a name for itself by serving fresh-ground, high-quality Angus beef from Harris Ranch on custom-baked buns. The most creative (and delicious) burger on its menu is the Croque Burger, a third-pound patty that’s given a deep crust and topped with ham, Swiss cheese, and a fried egg. Rich yet not overly so, all the components play perfectly off of each other

 

Tastes of Thailand at Aloy

Freshness stressed at stylish Ballpark restaurant.

027I was fortunate to attend an opening party at Aloy Modern Thai in the cold grasp of last winter.  The flames in the double-sided fireplace and the piquant cuisine  from a very warm country provided a welcome contrast to the nippy outside. There were so many courses and so many paired adult beverages that I hit the wall before the end of the feast, The many dishes were so very good, but I was really on overload. Read my post to see what awesome abundance came to the table. At the time I wondered how sisters Bo Bean and Arisa Chanchokpong who own this restaurant and another in Boulder stay so slim. Several months along and meeting them again, I still wonder.

I was therefore delighted that Visit Denver hosted its most recent media reception in this welcome and wonderful restaurant. Rather than the overwhelming inaugural dinner, there were select small plates. With an opportunity to savor came the full impact of the restaurant’s commitment to super-fresh ingredients, especially the seafood and vegetables that are so important in Thai cuisine. Ten local farms are credited on the men for for supplying sustainable ingredients.

Aloy's Mai Tai made with a Thai spirit called Mehkong, Triple Sec, lime, an orange/almond syrup made in-house orgaet and Aztec bitter.
Aloy’s Mai Tai made with a Thai spirit called Mehkong, Triple Sec, lime, an orange/almond syrup called orgaet made in-house  and Aztec bitters.

Continue reading Tastes of Thailand at Aloy