Introducing the DiningOut Tastemakers

BY Steph Wilson


All day, every day, we speak of nothing but restaurants and bars with those who live and breathe it, who eat it and drink it like it’s their livelihood. Some are chefs, some are owners—and some are both. Some cook, some serve, some mix cocktails or curate wine or brew beer. Some are writers, some are influencers, and some are marketers. They all have their own perspectives on the dining scene in Denver, but collectively those personalities add up to one important commonality: a love for the food and drink industry in Colorado. And because of that love, they are deep wells of insightful knowledge about where—and what—to eat and drink in Denver. 

So we scoured Denver’s culinary scene to assemble a panel of experts, people we consider to be true arbiters of taste. The DiningOut Tastemakers, we’re calling them. We asked them if they’d be down to share some of that insider knowledge with us (along with news about what they’ve got cookin’), and they’re totally down. So we’re giving each of them their own page on where we’re aggregating their thoughts on all sorts of topics, from their top 5 spots of 2022 to the best burgers in town—and there’s so much more to come. 

How do we get this info? We text them, duh. And if they’re not elbow-deep in whatever delicious thing they’re cooking up that day, they send us their thoughts on all-things burgers, beers, and beyond. And we get hungrier and hungrier as their answers roll in. How could we not when we hear from DiningOut Tastemakers like restaurateur Paul C. Reilly about Marczyk Fine Foods’ burger, which he says is only available on select Fridays during the summer—and it’s so worth the wait. “They mix the trim from their dry age program into a Niman Ranch patty. Bacon aioli? Good to go.” 

Tastemaker Natascha Hess of Ginger Pig turned us onto ThankSool Pocha K-Pub, which brings a taste of Korean nightlife culture to Aurora. Nearby spot The Pork-Let got a shoutout from Chris Nicki of Hank’s Texas Barbecue. “The Tornado Fried Rice with Spam is delicious and my go-to, as well as the katsu pork. I am working my way through the wing flavors and have yet to find one that isn’t amazing.”

Carrie Baird rates Glo Noodle House as one of her top 5 restaurants of 2022 because it’s a “fun little spot. Good food, good drinks.” Both she and Blake Edmunds of Culinary Creative Group (A5 Steakhouse, Ash’Kara, Tap & Burger, so much more) list Lucy’s Burger Bar among their favorites, citing the Juicy Lucy as the must-try menu item “because it has exploding cheese…duh.”

Derek Figueroa of Seattle Fish Co. thinks that La Pasadita is the “perfect hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant. Small, inexpensive, family-owned, great chips (which is one of the true measures of good Mexican food). Dana Query, co-owner of the Big Red F Restaurant Group behind Jax Fish House, The Post Chicken & Beer, and other such places, recommends Seoul ManDoo, because: “Huge Korean dumplings, need I say more!!”

Yes, say more, please. Tell us all the things. We’re hungry for more.

While they ponder their answers to the latest question we’ve posed to the group, you should go check out the lineup of DiningOut Tastemakers. Click through to their individual profiles to read their bios and find out what made their individual lists of the top 5 restaurants of 2022 and the top 3 burger spots in town, not to mention their favorite places to grab a drink or two around town. We’ll be updating their pages as their answers to our weekly queries come in, so bookmark the page and check back often to learn about the standout places that have captured the attention and delighted the tastebuds of the top culinary minds in Denver. There’s so much deliciousness in store.


Steph Wilson

Steph Wilson is a writer, editor, and creative maximalist in Denver. She makes magazines for a living and throws color around the world like confetti for fun.

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