Food Lab Boulder
1825 Pearl A, Boulder
Boulder has steadily grown to become a foodie destination, in-part because of its long history of serving farm-to-table fare, but also due to its high concentration of talented chefs. A newer addition to the city’s culinary scene, Food Lab makes itself at home as a community-driven cooking school. Founder and owner Casey Easton describes the space as “inviting and not-intimidating,” offering a place for couples, friends, families, and companies to bond over the communal act of cooking. The three-hour-long classes are totally hands-on, and range from pasta-making to paella with the last thirty minutes or so reserved for dining together. Easton’s taste for interior design is evident in the chic, industrial, bright space, which makes coming here for a cooking lesson even more fun.
1651 Broadway, Boulder
Boulder's original natural foods store has an extensive selection of organic produce, premium versions of just about every item you can think of, a great selection of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly products, plus a slew of gluten-free products (including a whole case dedicated to gluten-free pastry). Locals and out-of-towners alike come for the shop's deli and sushi stand at lunchtime; and their wine shop is a must-stop (they offer happy-hour tastings, 5pm to 7pm, on Tuesdays and Fridays).
2418 W. 32nd Ave., Highlands
Everything in this family-run, neighborhood LoHi café is amazing, from their breakfast pastries (prepared fresh on-site each morning, they typically sell out quickly) to their coffee, to their flour-less apricot oatmeal bars. Their egg sandwich, served on toasted brioche—which you can customize with add-ons like bacon, Swiss, or arugula—gets a special shout-out. The space itself is as charming as you would expect, and the absence of WiFi fosters a community vibe you didn’t realize you were craving.
4301 Pecos St., RiNo
This local coffee roaster began without a brick and mortar shop open to the public, but soon expanded into this flagship space thanks in part to a successful Kickstarter campaign. True to their creed, you’ll find some seriously good coffee inside, as well as a comfortable, bright space with colorful accents and outdoor seating. If you’re interested, you can also sign up to take one of their coffee workshops, which are designed to teach everything from brew methods and extraction basics to milk steaming to sensory evaluation.
1575 Central St., LoHi
Hands down, Masterpiece Deli makes the best sandwiches in Denver, and on Saturday and Sunday mornings, you'll find lines out the door for the many hangover-curing items on their menu. The guys here (the same people who are behind Old Major, just up the street) care deeply about sourcing, finding the very best cured meats and cheeses, many of them imported. While the breakfast sandwiches (you can pick from a bunch of different meats) are a universal favorite, we also love the Italian, the Cubano, the smoked turkey and brie, and—so heavy but so absolutely, definitively worth it—the 12-hour braised beef brisket. The original's in LoHi, but they also have a location in Uptown.
Marczyk’s Fine Foods
5100 E. Colfax, Park Hill
Pete Marczyk is something of a hero to Denver foodies. His tiny, long-standing, homegrown grocery store stocks locally grown produce, imports the very best cheeses (plus a selection of great local options), and bakes their own breads, but Marczyk is probably best known for being one of the area's best butchers, as he does everything in-house and flies in gorgeous cuts of fish. The deli section has excellent sandwiches and delicious pre-made foods, and on weeknights in the summer (check the calendar) they grill hamburgers on the sidewalk outside. There's a second location up the street, too.
5126 E. Colfax Ave., Park Hill
This cooly masculine café is a hipster-esque mash-up of concepts done really well: It's part coffee house and minimalist whiskey bar, part retail space—and, in the back, a members-only event-space (you can join the club for just $10 a month) that doubles as a work station for local freelancers and entrepreneurs. Also available to members Tuesday through Saturday: the Bellwether barbershop.
1111 Broadway St., Downtown
This dreamy Denver coffee shop was opened by barista, Elle Taylor—her dad's birthstone is amethyst, which is not coincidentally an apt name for the brightly lit, chicly decorated space. The coffee game here focuses on mainstay local roasts (i.e Commonwealth Coffee), as well as a rotating line-up of specialty options. Photos: Paula Klimas, shop photographer
3233 Tejon St., The Highlands
Like many great specialty spots, American Cultures started as a food truck before landing in a permanent brick and mortar spot, which is on the first floor of a residential building in The Highlands neighborhood. The kombucha taproom serves an impressive array of flavors, and then there's the crowning kombucha float—topped with organic frozen yogurt (only in Denver...). You can also come here for a quick breakfast and cold brew.
3350 Brighton Blvd., RiNo
Culinarily—and culturally—speaking, The Source is probably one of the most important developments Denver's seen in the past few years. Occupying a spacious former brick foundry, it's packed with some of the best restaurants and food vendors in town, and topped off with a few office spaces (Slow Food makes their Denver headquarters here), so depending on when you arrive, you'll see people going out for drinks or dinner, doing their daily shopping, or heading to work. Right when you walk in, you'll find Comida, a Mexican spot with a great happy hour and tacos, and Acorn, the Denver restaurant from Oak owner/chef Steven Redzikowski that's easily one of Denver's top fine dining establishments. There, ask for a seat in the mezzanine, which has beautiful views of the mountains during the day. People drive from across town for the baguettes and ciabatta at Babette's bakery, and you can see cuts of meat hanging through the plexiglass from her next-door neighbor, Western Daughters Butcher. Across the way, there's a small-but-mighty art gallery, Svper Ordinary, and Mondo Market, where you can pick up spices, oils, vinegars, and other pantry items. Meanwhile, in…
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