hand holding beer vail craft

A Plate Full of News Bites: June 21

BY Linnea Covington


The summer solstice has come, and with it days will slowly get darker. Worry not, the brightness of the season carries on, especially in the Colorado restaurant scene. New pop-ups launched this week, and an award-winning chef will open a new spot. As Pride Month continues, so do the rainbow foods, drinks, and fun. 

Dive into the scene, and send us any tips via Instagram or by emailing info@diningout.com.

The 411

Last week we reported Jim Pittenger, known as Biker Jim, was sued by Ball Arena’s owners for allegedly failing to pay the $868,000 sponsorship agreement. Pettenger started the gourmet sausage company in 2005 with a little cart just off the 16th Street Mall. In 2020 he partnered with a peer, giving control of the business, who he claimed was responsible for the contested sum.

biker jims hot dog
A gourmet hot dog. | Photo by Biker Jim’s

Now, Biker Jim’s is losing the Jim. The chef, in a heartfelt note on Facebook, announced, “I don’t feel like this is Biker Jim’s anymore, and I can no longer be a part of it. So, I am stepping away from the place that I have spent the last third of my life building and loving.” The future of the brand is unclear, but it’s certainly losing the heart. 

After a two-month battle between Historic Denver and Monfort Companies over the legendary jazz club El Chapultepec, the two came to an agreement. Known as The ‘Pec, the venue closed in 2020 after around 90 years in business. Monfort, who also owns the Colorado Rockies baseball team, bought it in 2022. After an assessment, the company decided to knock it down after realizing how run down it was. Now history will be preserved on the corner as the new building will sport an ode to the old, while also debuting a fresh start. 

Finally, after the departure of chef Russell Stippich from Bar Dough last month (to move on to the upcoming Osteria Alberico by Frasca Hospitality Group), the restaurant has a new executive chef. Welcome Stefy Devita, who has worked with the Creative Culinary Group in some of the company’s other kitchens. The goal, said the chef, is to pay homage to the restaurant’s past talent while also bringing the idea of family and sustainability to the table. 

Openings and Closings

wood table with sandwiches on white plates at Leven Deli
Everything is made in house at Leven Deli Co. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Since 2018 Leven Deli Co. has rocked the sandwich scene, and now it’s poised for growth. We originally hinted at the openings of Leven Supply and Leven at Block 162 in our interview with head baker Doug Anderson when he took over our social media, but now we have a timeline. Look for the expansion for fall 2024 and early 2025. 

Joshua Pollack and the Rosenberg’s team also expand with the testing of a new concept. Enter RosenBurger’s, a Friday and Saturday night pop-up inside the Five Points bagel shop running from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. now through Labor Day. The focus is on steamed burger sliders a la White Manna in New Jersey, which started the trend in 1939, long before White Castle offered eater the briefcase of tiny burgers. 

Dana Rodriquez announced the opening of Carne in the former Il Posto spot in RiNo. Unlike her recently closed Mexican-focused spot Cantina Loca, Carne will be a global steakhouse and opens this summer.

chef christian graves at farmers market
A picture of chef Christian Graves at the farmers’ market back in his Citizen Rail days. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Kimpton Claret Hotel, launching soon in Denver’s Belleview Station, announced Christian Graves as executive chef of its food and beverage concepts. This includes the Italian-driven Saverina and Halo, a rooftop bar on the 19th floor. Graves, formally of Citizen Rail, will serve global-inspired small bites on the roof deck, which has a stunning 180-degree views of the Rocky Mountains.

On the closing side, Charlie Calogero Puma, owner of Enzo’s End Pizza (3424 E. Colfax Ave., Denver) announced he was closing the restaurant at the end of the month unless someone wants to buy it. He offers the brand including recipes for $20,000, though equipment and location are not be part of the deal. 

On the Menu 

Starting today and through Sunday, LoDough Bakery at Dairy Block churns out rainbow croissants stuffed with berry jam and other Pride-themed treats. A portion of each purchase will go to One Colorado.

ice cream sandwich at yampa
Yet an ice cream sandwich. | By Yampa Sandwich Co.

Yampa Sandwich Company has a new, limited-time sandwich offering for summer snacking. Head to one of the eight locations for the Florentine Fresco, created by Yampa’s co-founder Pete Boniface, aka Sandwich Pete. It’s made up of capocollo, genoa salami, balsamic vinaigrette, fresh arugula, roasted red peppers, and an artichoke ricotta cream, all on a baguette. After a popular run, the sandwich shop has also added the Pork Carnitas Torta to the permanent menu. Don’t miss the debut of a new ice cream sandwich either. 

Is it an opening or new dish? Hard to tell, but given the Summer Spritz Garden at The Source is a limited bar held in partnership with Aperol, we’ll go for seasonal specialty. Find the orange-tinged pop-up at The Woods, a rooftop spot with dazzling views. It’s open the same hours as the restaurant, and will go until July 21.

New Beer Tappings

A three-barrel pilot system at FlyteCo Brewing aims to create experimental, limited-run beers.  Tapping now is the Smooth Skies Oatmeal Stout and Call Me Dragon IPA, made with Juicy Fruit gum. TRVE Brewing celebrates 12 years of making beer with a new brew dubbed the TWELVE Cold IPA. It’s a decocted IPA brewed like a lager, with just a pinch of the dark arts.

flyte co beer and food
Check out the new beer program at Flyte Co. Brewing. | Photo by Dustin Holstein

In beer news, at the Vail Craft Beer Classic over the past weekend, three Colorado beers garnered “best beer of the summer” status. In order of first, second, and third place, we’re celebrating Danico Brewing’s Lost Hills Pistachio Cream Ale, Something Brewery’s Peach, Please!, and Launch Pad Brewery’s Strawberry Moon American Blonde Ale. Get a pint now while these beers are still in season. 


Head to Lakewood this Sunday, June 23 for Color Me Bonita! Casa Bonita Sip & Paint, a unique art and beer adventure at WestFax Brewing Co. Buy the $40 tickets here to reserve your spot. Also on Sunday is a super-sized drag brunch complete with bingo at The Dairy Block from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Eat and drink while playing mini golf. | Photo by Puttshack Denver
Eat and drink while playing mini golf. | Photo by Puttshack Denver

On Tuesday, June 25, Puttshack Denver hosts Putt for Pride from 5 to 8 p.m. Twenty-percent of each 9-hole golf game booked with the code PRIDE2024, will be donated to It Gets Better, a nonprofit organization with a mission to uplift, empower, and connect LGBTQ+ youth around the globe. Plus, you can eat and drink while literally puttering about. 

Get into the Korean groove at the Havana Street Night Market on Saturday, June 29 from 6 to 10 p.m. Expect food, drink, live performances, a k-pop dance showcase, and music by DJ Innaseoul. It’s at Leezakaya (2710 S. Havana St., Aurora). 

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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.