Home » FOOD AND DINING » 26 Things We Love About Denver, Boulder, and Beyond (#17-24)

26 Things We Love About Denver, Boulder, and Beyond (#17-24)

Including Squeaky Bean, Stoic & Genuine, FATE, 24 Carrot, Etai's, Denver ChopHouse, and more

Bean Acres Farm

Bean Acres Farm

17: Bean Acres Farm at The Squeaky Bean

Just because winter is here doesn’t mean we have to turn a cold shoulder to farm-fresh foods. In fact, restaurants like The Squeaky Bean {303.623.2665; thesqueakybean.com} tell us otherwise. Bean Acres Farm, a Squeaky project, operates on the grounds of Warren Tech, a vocational high school in Lakewood. Fitting, since The Squeaky Bean is all about education. As such, they regularly lead educational programs for students and the public on the farm grounds. For instance, students from the Warren Tech culinary program come to the farm to learn about seed starters and transplants—the underlying science behind how things grow. Students also visit the farm to carry out projects in agriculture, energy, and even greenhouse construction. Partner Josh Olson hopes other Colorado schools will get in on the action and plan field trips throughout the year. “We hope it will snowball into a living lab,” he says. For those of us who prefer to eat the fruits of their labor, keep an eye out for two winter farm dinners in 2016 that will showcase greenhouse-grown ingredients like chard, tomatoes, Chinese red noodle beans, and micro-greens. The ultimate goal is to host more dinners to raise money to support a CSA program, providing students and families of Warren Tech with fresh produce. Currently, dinners are scheduled for January 18 and February 14. Call the restaurant to make reservations.

S&G's Oysters

S&G’s Oysters (c) Marc Piscotty

18: Oysters at Stoic & Genuine

Oysters are a way of life at Stoic & Genuine {303.640.3474; stoicandgenuine.com}, and the lead-up to winter is the best time of year for the bivalves, says Chef Jorel Pierce. “They’re storing up fat and energy for the winter yielding the plumpest and creamiest oysters.” His recommendations this winter? One: The European Belons, a flat oyster species harvested from a native population in rural Maine. Two: From the West Coast, the Stoic Genuines reflect the increase in salinity in the South Puget Sound during the winter. Three: The Chesapeake Bay Stoic Standards are full and meaty through the winter. Pair any of these oysters with a granita, sauce, or mignonette from Stoic & Genuine’s ever-changing list, lately featuring Citrus Chile, Cucumber-Tarragon, and Aperol granitas, as well as ponzu sauce and Champagne mignonette.

FATE Brewing

FATE Brewing

19: New Digs and Fresh Cans at FATE

Boulder is never short on good beer, but we have a sweet spot in our steins for FATE Brewing Company {303.449.3283; fatebrewingcompany.com}—the beerchild of Mike Lawinski. The restaurant- cum-brewery launched in 2012 as an ambitious combination of a full production brewery and full-service restaurant. Needless to say, we’ve relished both the brews and the gourmet eats that FATE has crafted over the last three years. And while the anchor facility remains on Arapahoe, the brand recently took over the old Avery spot just down the road—the perfect location to grow their beer production. Good timing, too: Brewing operations at FATE’s original Boulder brewery produced 750 barrels of beer in their inaugural year, nearly doubling that amount in year two. As of November 2015, FATE is on track to produce approximately 2,250 barrels of beer in its third year. What’s more, they’ll be adding to their canned beer inventory, and yes, the old taproom will be given new life as a neighborhood watering hole.

20: The Gold-Plated Beverage Program at 24 Carrot Bistro

If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path this season, then you’ll strike gold with 24 Carrot Bistro {303.828.1392; 24carrotbistro.com}. Located in Old Town Erie, this modern American farm-to-table restaurant serves lunch and dinner in a rustic wood-and-brick space with a bar area that might remind you of a Western saloon. Yet, the beverage program here is nothing short of innovative. Bar Manager D.J. Reimer produces a score of housemade cocktail ingredients, like botanical bitters, tinctures, foams, and liqueurs—made by concentrating or steeping individual ingredients like botanicals, roots, herbs, and spices. One of the most popular orders? The Swillen Swine, made with bacon fat-washed bourbon (bourbon emulsified with bacon fat for a smoky, rich accent). In fact, umami cocktails are kind of 24 Carrot’s thing, so keep an eye out for tinctures, bitters, and spirits infused with fun savories like pink peppercorn or rosemary. In the new year, get ready for the first batch of Prohibition-era cocktails, currently aging to perfection in oak barrels.

Etai's sandwich

Etai’s sandwich

21: Catering at Etai’s Bakery Cafe

Surely, you’ve savored a sandwich at the hands of Etai’s Bakery Cafe {etaiscafe.com}, yes? If you haven’t, then you haven’t lived. We first gave our appetites to this lovable Colorado concept when it was Udi’s (né 1994). A few years ago, the company rebranded, but the food remained as delicious as ever—including their catered feasts. What’s great about the catering here is the versatility; get a small-scale breakfast delivered for your friends, cater an entire business conference with fresh sandwich and veggie trays, grab boxed lunches for a group picnic, or assemble fruits and sweets for a delectable (and hassle-free) treat. What’s more, they happily cater to specialty diets and folks with allergies. It’s been our go-to for gatherings for quite some time, and will be for as long as we get hungry.

22: ChopHouse: The Host with the Most

Finding the perfect venue—be it for a staff party, with THE MOST rehearsal dinner, or corporate board meeting—is a challenge. And working with a venue can be even more challenging, with sky-high room fees, inadequate A/V capabilities, and often rigid menu options. That’s why we love the private dining options at Denver ChopHouse & Brewery {303.296.0800; chophouse.com}. To make guest events stand out in the past, they’ve brewed custom beers, changed their permitting to allow cigar smoking, and even brought in ice for a summer hockey party—basically their bounds know no limits. Since the ChopHouse is located in the former Union Pacific Building, its three private dining rooms feature train motifs. The Caboose Room (capacity 130), has its own bar and four huge flatscreens, so it’s perfect for everything from large sit-down dinners, to Broncos and Avalanche victory parties, to a wedding reception with a band. The newly renovated Box Car Room (capacity 75) features three glass walls and looks out onto Coors Field. And then there’s the über-private Club Car Room (capacity 30), which can also be connected to the Box Car for a double-chambered affair. The ChopHouse doesn’t charge a room fee, and offers a full banquet menu with everything from passed appetizers and buffets, to plated duos of lobster and prime steak, to barbecues with beer and baseball. And if you’re thinking big, the ChopHouse also allows restaurant buyouts to accommodate over 700 of you and yours.

Avanti Food & Beverage

Avanti Food & Beverage

23: All That You Want at Avanti

We knew we would fall head over heels in love with Avanti Food and Beverage {avantifandb.com} from the moment we learned about the unique concept. It turns out seven food concepts under one roof is not too good to be true. Cooking and serving out of shipping containers, Brava! brings the pizza; BiXo offers tastes of the Mediterranean; Poco from the folks behind Pinche Taqueria dishes up Mexican tortas; Quiero Arepas stuffs deliciousness inside masa buns; Souk Shawarma is your gyro hero; Farmer Girl serves up seasonal flavors; and MiJo is all about the Asian noodle bowls. Pair that astounding culinary diversity with a Dogfish Head-focused bar and arguably the best rooftop patio in the city, and now we’re really talking. This summer, some of the tenant leases are up for these temporary food concepts, and while we love the current offerings, we’re also excited to see if any new flavors take up residence at Avanti. And pencil in April on your calendar, when Core Power will begin hosting free yoga classes on the rooftop deck! Check Avanti’s Facebook page for details on days and time.

Toohey & Sons Farm at the Union Station Farmers' Market

Toohey & Sons Farm at the Union Station Farmers’ Market

24: It’s Raining Market, Hallelujah!

You can never have enough markets, and Denver is gaining more by the second. From farmers’ markets, to food halls, to secret bazaars, there is no shortage of places to stock up on high-quality local products. You might argue that The Source {thesourcedenver.com} pioneered the trend when it opened in 2013 inside an expansive 1880s machine hall in RiNo. Vendors like Babettes Artisan Bakery, Boxcar Coffee Roasters, and The Proper Pour share real estate with award-winning restaurants like Acorn and Comida.

If you’re a surreptitious garden enthusiast, you’ll want to check out Le Jardin Secret, held on Saturdays from June through September in the Bistro Vendôme courtyard in Larimer Square. This French-inspired market draws chefs and other foodies looking to stock up on the nest local products around from vendors like Grateful Bread Company and The Truffle Cheese Shop—all while sipping on a mimosa.

And soon, Denver’s market scene will get three exciting additions. The Union Station Farmers’ Market will offer local goods in the plaza in front of the Denver Union Station this summer. The brainchild of Chef Alex Seidel of Mercantile Dining & Provisions, the market will feature only actual producers, which is why the growers-only Boulder County Farmers’ Markets—with nearly 30 years of experience under its belt—is stepping in to run the show. The market will take place on Saturdays from 9am-2pm and run June 4 through October 22.

The upcoming Stanley Marketplace {stanleymarketplace.com} is also on its way this summer, nestled right between the Stapleton and Aurora neighborhoods. The 100,000-plus-square-foot indoor/ outdoor space will feature both restaurants and markets, including Mondo Market—a gourmet grocery—Rosenberg’s Bagels, Comida Cantina, Sweet Cow Ice Cream, and the Denver Biscuit Company. We hope Stanley Marketplace has room for a few apartments so we can just go ahead and move in amongst all these great eats.

Finally, Jeff Osaka—who has been busy taking over the city with his amazing ramen and sushi—will open The Market at The H.H. Tammen Building {2669 Larimer Street}—next spring. This 12,000-square-foot food hall will showcase 13 food-and-beverage vendors, including a deli, cheese/salumi shop, produce stands, and fish market. Sweet-tooths will be more than sated with an ice cream parlor, candy store, and dessert emporium. No, we’re not joking about the dessert emporium.

Read up on Things We Love, #25 >>>