Like many of the breakout chefs and sommeliers in the area, Steven Redzikowski (chef) and Bryan Dayton (somm) came up under Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson at Frasca Food & Wine before breaking out on their own, and their mini-empire now includes two restaurants—Oak in Boulder, and Acorn in Denver. The menu at Oak—which is their original spot—is decidedly new American, with sophisticated but accessible dishes like a Boulder-roasted chicken with butternut squash gnocchi, a scallop risotto with satsuma oranges and paprika, and a sweet fennel sausage (served with peppers and arugula) that they make in-house. Oak is right on the corner of 14th and Pearl Street, so it’s the perfect place for a restful lunch while you’re exploring downtown, though it’s plenty dressed up for a date night out, too.

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