The farm-to-table movement in the culinary world is nothing new to Denver. For years, Mile High City chefs have been working directly with local farms, utilizing Colorado’s bountiful harvest of fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and organically raised meats to create dishes that are eco-friendly, innovative and – most importantly – delicious. As the movement has continued to evolve, Denver has been at the forefront of the culinary scene – home to chef-owned restaurants, nationally renowned hotspots, and unique and innovative concepts, the city is deeply rooted in the transition to hyper-local cuisine. In Denver, local is always better.
Here are just a handful of spots to enjoy farm-to-table dining in some of Denver’s most popular neighborhoods.
From the recently renovated Denver Union Station to the city’s most historic block, Larimer Square, the dining options in Downtown Denver are some of The Mile High City’s biggest highlights.
1431 Larimer St., Denver, CO 80202
Featuring a menu inspired by Mediterranean ingredients and influenced by local and seasonal products, Rioja is Chef Jennifer Jasinski’s award-winning and much acclaimed eatery in Historic Larimer Square, and a mainstay on the Denver culinary scene.
1701 Wynkoop St., Ste. #155, Denver, CO 80202
Mercantile dining & provision is the culmination of Chef Alex Seidel’s two previous ventures, Fruition Restaurant and Fruition Farms. Mercantile represents the next evolution in Chef Seidel’s philosophy on approachability and transparency in dining. Beyond the seasonally-inspired fare served in a casual atmosphere and the marketplace offering artisanal goods, many of which are used in the restaurant, Mercantile helps bridge the information gap between farmer and consumer. In connecting the dots, the restaurant seeks to instill in guests an appreciation for how much effort went into producing each meal and how many hands were involved each step along the way.
1453 Larimer St., Denver, CO 80202
Osteria Marco is fresh, authentic Italian at its best. Located in the heart of Denver on historic Larimer Square, the simple pizza, panini and rotisserie menu features house-cured meats, cheeses and peppers; and seasonal bruschetta, soups and salads highlight fresh, local ingredients. Osteria Marco also boasts an outstanding wine list with more than 100 Italian varietals.
1400 Wewatta St., Denver, CO 80202
With a focus on serving local and seasonal ingredients, Coohills is the definition of farm-to-table. Located in the hip LoDo neighborhood, Coohills’ features a menu that is reminiscent of what visitors might find in bars and restaurants in Europe. Fresh crudo salads, homemade breads, cheese or pate selections or warm duck leg confit can be served before, during or even after plates of pasta and fresh seafood, roasted game and meats and locally-grown vegetables. Guests can take the farm-to-table concept one step further with a seat at the Chef’s Counter, where Chef-Owner Tom Coohill creates unique tasting menus right in front of them.
1215 20th St., Denver, CO 80202
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox pays homage to its home in the historic Airedale Building and a nod to its muse and master of the boudoir, Ophelia, through its innovative concept as a Gastrobrothel with fresh, interesting takes on shared plates, flatbreads, skillets and other craveable pub fare. The drink menu is lined with simple, handcrafted cocktails with fresh, local ingredients as well as four kegged cocktails and a 24-tap draft line of all-Colorado beers. Ophelia's also has a sunken stage that features live local music and entertainment.
1530 16th St. Denver, CO 80202
This farm-to-table bistro, located in the heart of downtown Denver’s 16th Street Mall, features a menu that evolves seasonally and reflects the simple and straightforward preparation of comfortable classics. The Kitchen is a restaurant built by a community of craftsmen, serving food and drink from a community of like-minded farmers, ranchers and purveyors for the sustainable enjoyment of the whole community
909 17th St., Denver, CO 80202
Panzano executive chef Elise Wiggins’ culinary inspiration may come mainly from northern Italy, but she is renowned for her deft use of fresh, local ingredients. On any given night, diners at this downtown Denver restaurant, located in the luxurious Monaco Hotel, will enjoy Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese, Coleman Beef, Summit Creek Lamb, Hazel Del Mushrooms, Palisade Peaches, Garfield Estate Wines and much more.
This culturally diverse neighborhood northwest of downtown Denver has experienced amazing growth over the past decade, and is overflowing with trendy restaurants, bars and shops.
2030 W. 30th Ave., Denver, CO 80211
This restaurant in the lower Highlands (LoHi) may be located in a former mortuary, but its “farm to street” cuisine is far from ghoulish. Chef/owner Justin Cucci’s culinary creations are inspired spins on global street food, with Colorado’s seasonal ingredients taking center stage. Even the restaurant’s talented mixologists bring locally sourced ingredients behind the bar, serving up unique cocktails to diners on Linger’s breathtaking rooftop patio.
1600 W. 33rd Ave., Denver, CO 80211
Following a “field to fork” mentality, Root Down prefers to stay as organic, natural and local as possible. The eatery, located in a stylishly renovated former gas station in the Highlands, prides itself on striving to solve the “Omnivore’s Dilemma,” creating a dining spot where all dietary needs will be accommodated, including vegetarian, vegan, raw and gluten free; also allergies or intolerances are always handled professionally by the kitchen team.
2413 W. 32nd Ave. (at Zuni), Denver, CO 80211
Duo is a hidden treasure for those seeking a special dining experience. Tucked away in the Highlands, the restaurant is passionate about supporting local organic farms and purveyors, featuring fine foods from across the Rocky Mountain Front Range.
3200 Pecos St., Denver, CO 80211
Inspired by European markets and food truck roundups, Avanti presents a modern-day food hall. Seven different restaurant concepts housed in one collective space created by modified shipping containers provide guests with an eclectic mix of affordable, chef-inspired cuisine, ranging from now-stationary kitchens that started out as local food trucks to nascent restaurants testing their concepts in a public forum.
RiNo (River North) Neighborhood
One of Denver’s popular arts districts, the RiNo neighborhood is quickly becoming a hotspot for established and emerging chefs, restaurants and food concepts.
2500 Larimer St., Ste. #101, Denver, CO 80205
Work & Class is a casual, full-service restaurant located in Denver's RiNo neighborhood, driven by the motto, "a square meal, a stiff drink and a fair price." A tribute to the working class, the restaurant strives to create an atmosphere that is unpretentious, fun and a bit irreverent. The menu focuses on Latin and American dishes, including an array of slow-roasted, braised, and rotisserie meats, creative sides, and freshly baked breads, and desserts. The bar program is marked by interesting small-batch spirits, craft beers and a well-curated wine list; and cocktails are created with house-made mixes.
3350 Brighton Blvd., #150, Denver, CO 80216
The Source is a highly curated European-style artisan food market in RiNo. Housed in an iconic 1880s ironworks building, The Source boasts a bakery, coffee roaster, taqueria, brewery, butcher, produce vendor, bottle shop, bank, florist, cocktail bar, cheese shop and design store. Acorn, a unique, wood-fired bar and grill located within the Source, boasts Chef-Owner Steven Redzikowski's eclectic, contemporary American cooking in an approachable, family-friendly format, alongside Beverage Director-Owner Bryan Dayton's ingredient-driven cocktails.
Notable Restaurants Around Downtown – Just outside of Downtown Denver, the restaurant scene still maintains its exceptional focus on high-quality, local cuisine with both iconic mainstays and newcomers.
38 S. Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
This magical South Broadway restaurant transports diners to another world – the design invokes a forest full of aspens, Colorado’s signature tree. The cuisine expertly blends European and Western flavors, as Executive Chef Travis Messervey creates menus with seasonal, local, and conscientious ingredients as much as possible. In addition to Beatrice & Woodsley’s plentiful garden-focused items, limited-dietary restriction menus are available upon request.
1313 E. 6th Ave., Denver, CO, 80218
Nationally recognized as one of America’s top ten new restaurants in 2007, the co-founders of Fruition Restaurant, Alex Seidel and Maitre D' Paul Attardi, didn’t just want to buy from local farms. They wanted to be a local farm. In 2009, Seidel and Attardi joined with several other partners to open Fruition Farm. The 10-acre farm, located south of Castlewood Canyon, provides eggs, greens, vegetables and herbs for the restaurant, as well as a sheep dairy to produce cheese.
225 E. 7th Ave., Denver, CO 80203
Rated by Zagat as one of the top restaurants in the nation, Mizuna is a special spot for food lovers. This intimate neighborhood joint provides cover for the biggest food laboratory in Colorado, a place where chefs have free reign to experiment with and explore the finest seasonal ingredients. At Mizuna, chefs are given wide creative berth. Every member of the team has input on a menu that changes monthly; each chef is empowered to order whatever ingredients seem best suited to their station, and the result is an inspiring marriage between science and epicuria. The open kitchen allows a peek at some of Denver's top chefs while a knowledgeable wait staff provides focused, attentive service.
609 Corona St., Denver, CO 80218
Table 6 is a classic American bistro, offering American comfort food with an eclectic, unconventional twist and a warm and inviting atmosphere. Chef Mike Winston prepares simple dishes from a menu that changes daily to take advantage of what is in season, delivered with an elegant style and grace. His nightly fare is complemented by a dynamic wine list, created by owner/sommelier Aaron Forman, which represents most of the flourishing wine districts from all over the world.