new burrito bowl at Cherry Cricket

A Plate Full of News Bites: June 14

Grab a serving of the latest restaurant, bar, and chef happenings each week. 

BY Linnea Covington


It’s the middle of June and summer menu items are popping off. We also celebrate big wins at the James Beard Awards and a cidery making waves. Construction has one favorite pizza spot closed, while another continues to work on its kitchen. Head to some fun events this coming week, and make sure to check out the new beers pouring. 

The 411

After years empty, the iconic La Vista Motel on East Colfax Avenue has been taken over by developer Nathan Beal. The plan is to convert the building into a new, but nostalgic, motel. The building has a history dating back to the 1950s. Once the space completes next year, expect 23 guest rooms, a coffee bar, and a 1960-style cocktail lounge.

Also on the hotel side, the country’s first carbon-positive hotel Populus named Ian Wortham as executive chef of the two restaurants, Pasque and Stellar Jay. Curtis Landrum joins as director of food and beverage. Both men previously worked together at Tavernetta, so it’s a tasty homecoming for the pair. 

red top rendezvous patio
Hoping we can enjoy this patio soon. | Photo by Red Tops Rendevous

Red Top Rendezvous temporarily closed due to construction outside the restaurant. It’s unclear when the Detroit-style pizza place will be able to host diners again inside or on the amazing patio. Jim Pittenger, known as Biker Jim after his restaurant Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, is being sued by Ball Arena’s owners for allegedly failing to pay the $868,000 sponsorship agreement. Pittenger, who no longer runs the company, claimed it should have been paid by the new CEO.

Jessie’s Smokin’s NOLA has moved to a new home in Parker at  11061 S. Parker Road. The restaurant still serves the same menu of New Orleans delights such as muffuletta sandwiches, red beans with rice, and fried catfish. 

Cart-Driver expands with a new portable pizza oven. Dubbed Cart-Driver Catering, the restaurant will bring the pizza oven wherever you want to serve piping hot pies. It can serve 50 to 100 people. The restaurant also continues to plug away at repairs to its LoHi kitchen, which has kept the location closed for months. 

A big shout out to chef Matt Vawter of Rootstalk in Breckenridge, who just won Best Chef: Mountain 2024 at the James Beard Awards. Kelly and Erika Whitaker  of Id Est Hospitality also scored at the awards, taking home the Outstanding Restaurateur title this year. 

snow capped sider
The new Snowcapped Cider tap house is opening soon. | Photo by Snowcapped Cider

Another name on the award circuit, Kari Williams’ Snow Capped Cider, took home 20 metals from the 7th Annual CiderCraft Awards this year. The cidery also announced the grand opening of its taproom and wine bar, set to launch on July 4th.

Openings and Closings

We are excited to share that Vine Street Pub & Brewery has officially reopened after years of will-they-won’t-they news after it closed during the pandemic in 2020. The neighborhood hot spot is known for a great beer program and solid casual American fare. In other restaurant re-opening news, El Chingon Bistro is back on track in LoHi after closing due to unpaid taxes. 

The team behind  Angelo’s and Carboy Winery will close Logan Street Restaurant and reopen the space as a Mexican concept dubbed Pancho Poncho. The shift is slated to happen June 19.  The Gaylord Rockies has also given its restaurants a revamp. Now guests can enjoy eats and drinks at Embers Lodge Bar and the Fortunate Prospector inside the hotel and event center. 

Huckleberry Roasters softly opened in Larimer Square on Sunday, June 9. It’s the sixth location of the local coffee shop, which has been slinging beans since 2011. 

Try a bump of caviar. | Photo by Holden Photography
Try a bump of caviar during Champagne Tiger’s GABFFF. | Photo by Holden Photography

Champagne Tiger recently signed a lease and will be debuting its first brick and mortar spot later this summer. Run by Chris Donato, the pop-up is known for the Great American Bubbles and French Fry Festival, as well as stellar drag queen performances around town. Champagne and caviar is also a favorite of Donato’s, which we wrote about here

On the Menu

Since 1945, The Cherry Cricket has churned out one of the best burgers around, and now it’s adding a new iteration of the dish to the menu. Enter the Burger Bowl, a bread-free meal served with lettuce, tomato, pickles, steak frites, Cricket sauce, and any of the toppings available on the regular burgers. 

Whispers of Summer may sound like a romance novel, but it’s the sweet tale of Die Die Must Try’s newest slush. The name comes from Ceres’ Whispers of Summer fruit juice, the crux of the Singapore staple. Learn more about boba and teas here

New Beer Tappings

Beer tapping at hops and pie
Head here for great pizza and special beer tappings. | Photos by Hops & Pie

Settle in with a low-key Westy Light Lager from WestFax Brewing Co. in Lakewood. The airy brewery also taps the Mountain Drema Double IPA, a boozy bottle with notes of peach and apricot. 

On June 20, Hops & Pie hosts Colorado’s first Dark Lord Day, featuring eight extremely limited and hard-to-find 3 Floyds Brewing beers. Taps start pouring at 11 a.m., and include Dark Lord, Zombie Dust, Gumball Head, Zombie Ice, and more. 


7cellars wine and bonnie brae ice cream collaborate
Enjoy the tasty collaboration between John Elway’s 7Cellar wine and Bonnie Brae Ice Cream at the Ice Cream Social this week. | Photo by Rachel Sailer Photography

Downtown, the Limelight Denver hosts a free Summer of Country pop-up series starting Saturday, June 15 with Zach Bryan from 12 to 4 p.m. The next show is Friday, June 28 with Morgan Wallen from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Kenny Chesny from 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 27. Bonus, prepare for the shows with a custom hat experienced thanks to Hats by Parker Thomas and a complimentary whiskey tasting with Laws Whiskey House before the concert.

Bring the kids to Bonnie Brae Ice Cream for an epic ice cream social complete with kids’ crafts. Tickets are $5, and the event runs from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18. While there, check out the John Elway wine ice creams.

Head to a barbecue on the Rioja patio on Wednesday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m. It runs $125 per person and includes a full spread of lamb ribs, brisket, sour orange chicken, marble potato salad, smoked pork deviled egg, ice cream sandwiches, and more. Reserve tickets via OpenTable here.

Join the grand opening of Rosso Pomodoro on Thursday, June 20. Anyone who comes before 2 p.m. will get $5 pizzas, and the first 50 through the doors earn a free pizza every month for a year. 

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Linnea Covington

Linnea Covington is the managing editor of DiningOut. She comes to us with a long background in food, restaurant and drinks journalism. Over the last two decades she’s written for tons of publications including Denver Post, Washington Post, Forbes Travel Guide, 5280 Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Times, Time Out New York and more.