pancho and jane tacos

A Plate Full of News Bites: May 31

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

BY Linnea Covington

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Each week we aim to bring you the top news stories, restaurant information, fresh menu items, events, and more. Have a tip? Please email us at info@diningout.com or ping us on Instagram, @diningoutmagazine

The 411

If you grew up in Denver in the 1980s, chances are the “best” seafood around came from Red Lobster. In light of the company filing for bankruptcy this past weekend, thank goodness we have other, better options (looking at you Stoic & Genuine, Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, and Fish N Beer). But what will that mean for the 578 restaurants, which span across 44 states and Canada, and the 64-million people who enjoy bottomless shrimp from the chain? The impact is yet to be seen. However, given Red Lobster purchases one-in-five of the lobster tails bought in North America, we expect a sea change.

Denver’s Sunday Vinyl and Aurora’s Traveling Mercies made the annual Esquire magazine’s best bars in America list. Not shocking given owners Bobby Stucky and Caroline Glover, respectively, are industry pros, but nice to see some recognition for the state. What do you think the best bar in Colorado is?

Dan Dan Noodles at Noodles Express. | Photo by Linnea Covington
Dan Dan Noodles at Noodles Express. | Photo by Linnea Covington

On a personally sadder note, Noodles Express ( 703 S Colorado Blvd., Denver, no website) may close come the end of August. A sign hanging in the restaurant stated the lease is up and the building owner has not confirmed if they will renew or not. One of the restaurant’s longtime employees said if they can’t secure another lease, the owners will likely retire. Launched at the beginning of the pandemic, if Noodles Express closes, we will lose one of the best Chinese restaurants in the state. 

The Great American Beer Festival announced plans to reduce the number of attendee sessions this year. What won’t be limited are the options. For the first time breweries will be able to serve other drinks made in house as well. The annual festival takes place in Denver on October 10-12 in the Colorado Convention Center.

Openings and Closings

Golden Moon Distillery is closing. | Photo by Linnea Covington
Golden Moon Distillery is closing. | Photo by Linnea Covington

The former Steuben’s Arvada finally has a new tenant. Spice Room officially opened in the space this month. It’s the company’s third venture. Also expanding, chef Johnny Curiel of Alma Fonda Fina plans to open another restaurant in Boulder this summer. The concept will have a similar feel to his first foray, and takes over what used to be the Masas restaurant space. 

Fans of the Mediterranean fast-food joint  Pita Pit can rejoice, the brand announced a plan to open over 10 locations in the Denver Metro area over the next five years. Denver will also get a taste of Italy with Rosso Pomodoro, the restaurant group’s first-ever location in the United States. Given the brand comes from Naples, expect Neapolitan pizza done in a flash. The concept, said a representative, will be similar to the now shuttered Pizzeria Locale.

Alma Fonda Fina owners Johnny and Kasie Curial. | Photo by Linnea Covington
Alma Fonda Fina owners Johnny and Kasie Curial. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Another hot ticket item, Pancho & Jane has officially opened in Golden. The concept comes from The Eddy Taproom & Hotel, and offers the town tacos, tequila, and an “outlaw” vibe. We are also excited to visit Little Arthur’s Hoagies, which announced a more permanent location debuting this summer inside the Out of the Barrel Taproom. Owner AJ Shreffler, former sous chef at Bar Dough, also plans on downsizing the giant sandwiches in order to lower the consumer cost. 

We also heard a verified rumor that something deliciously new is coming to the Denver Center of Performing Arts, but mums the word for now. 

As for closings, Golden Moon Distillery is liquidating its assets and closing shop. The award-winning distillery launched in 2008, churning out amazing gin, absinthe, whiskey, and more. 

On his social media, founder Stephen Gould touted, “The various events of the last several years, including the trade wars, COVID, the war in Ukraine, and a variety of more local external and political issues have all negatively affected both the company’s operations and our ability to raise the funds necessary to continue to pursue our business plan in the current economic environment.”

Season Specialties

bonnie brae ice cream and 7cellars wine collaboration
Try three flavors of wine ice cream. | Photo by Rachel Sailer Photography

Prepared food delivery service Little Spoon and Gelato Boy are teaming up to release a limited-edition flavor, Strawberry Banana Dream.  It will only be available June 7-9 at the Denver Gelato Boy locations. Also on the frozen sweet side, Bonnie Brae Ice Cream used John Elway’s 7Cellars wine to create a tasty line of ice cream. Get it now and throughout the month. 

The Bindery released a spring menu this week. Veggies play the star in Charred Cauliflower with cornichons, capers, garlicky yogurt, and mint. Using the season’s fresh snap peas, English peas, and pea tendrils, chef Linda Hampsten Fox created a shareable bite with whipped goat cheese and duck prosciutto. 

New Beers Pouring 

call to arms tea party
Indulge in a hard iced tea. | Photo by Call to Arms Brewery

Hit up Midtown and try the latest from Bruz Beers, a summer-friendly raspberry-lime blond and the pomegranate-tangerine blond. Both are perfect porch pounders given they only have 5.2-percent ABV.

Cheluna Brewing Company also goes fruity for the season. Now through the summer visitors can try the sangria blueberry and/or cherry hard seltzer. At 7-percent ABV, it’s stronger than most summer beers, but it’s also great over a tall glass of ice.

In the Berkeley neighborhood, Call to Arms Brewing Company has officially launched the Denver Tea Party. It’s a delightful hard iced tea made with organic black tea and Meyer lemon. Try it at the brewery or get cans to take home. Nearby at FlyteCo Brewing, a pink lemonade seltzer brings all the boys to the bar. 

Upcoming Events 

Vail Craft Beer Classic, June 14

Head to the mountains this Friday and Saturday to sample more than 50 local breweries during the eighth annual Vail Craft Beer Classic. While beer is the main event, expect plenty of pours of hard seltzers and ciders too. Tickets start at $49 and include unlimited samples, live music, and a chance to meet the brewers. Festival check in is at Solaris Plaza, right across from the stage. 141 E. Meadow Dr., Vail

Here’s the scoop from last week

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.
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