PorchDrinking’s GABF Dining Guide
Whether it’s your first time in Denver or you’re hosting friends from out of town, it’s not easy choosing from the bevy of amazing dining options available. We’re here to help. Continuing our Great American Beer Festival Preview, here’s our picks for the best food in Denver. There’s no shortage of options available, but we chose to highlight the top 5 spots for each category below.
Brunch: If there’s any one type of food most will immediately identify with Denver, it’s brunch. We do it right.
- Snooze: Ah, Snooze. Amazing brunch, but such a frustrating wait. Expect to stay in line for about 1-2 hours if you don’t arrive immediately after they open. If you are a patient soul, the breakfast burrito is mindblowing. They also have a fantastic selection of pancake/waffle options available. Snooze has two Denver locations: 2262 Larimer St near Coors Field; 700 N. Colorado in Congress Park
- Lucille’s: So let’s just get this out of the way – if the brunch is good, there will be a wait. Not a Snooze-wait, but you’re not going to get in immediately. Lucille’s is actually a pretty pleasant place to wait for a table, though. Order one of their delicious Bloody Mary’s or Mimosas while you gather around their fire pit on their front patio. The food is worth the wait – we recommend the Creole Omelet or Cajun Breakfast. Be sure to order a dish with one of their giant trademark biscuits. Lucille’s is located at 275 South Logan Street
- Denver Biscuit Company: A favorite amongst the Porch Drinking staff, Denver Biscuit Co serves up the best biscuits and gravy in town. Hungover? Try the Franklin (a biscuit smothered in gravy with fried chicken, bacon and cheese) and a side of sweet potato fries. You’ll thank me later. Denver Biscuit Company is located at 3237 E. Colfax inside Atomic Cowboy
- Duo: Right up there with Snooze as one of the best reviewed breakfast spots in the city, Duo is a bit more unique than the other options on this list. You won’t find an omelette or pancake section – the menu is compact and only features around 10 items. Best item is arguably the Baguette French Toast, served with ricotta cheese, fresh berries and honey instead of traditional maple syrup. Duo is located at 2413 W. 32nd Ave in the Highlands
- Dozens: One of the few exceptions to the “if the brunch is good, there will be a wait” rule. You can get in immediately or with minimal wait at practically all hours of the morning at Dozens. The food isn’t flashy – most of the menu consists of pretty straightforward egg dishes, but it’s done well. Dozens is located at 236 W 13th Ave
Lunch: Provided you’re still not full from brunch, you’ll probably need sustenance in advance of drinking dozens of one ounce samples at GABF. Look no further.
- Snarf’s: A straight-up sandwich place that doesn’t skimp on the quality ingredients. It can get crowded around lunch time, so this is a perfect spot for a mid-afternoon meal prior to the fest. If the weather is nice, be sure to take your food to-go and walk down to Cheesman Park, just a few blocks away. Snarf’s is located at the intersection of 11th and Ogden in Capitol Hill
- Vine Street Pub: One of the few breweries in the city where the food actually meets the quality of the beer. Fantastic sandwich options are available along with some amazing daily specials, including wraps and surprisingly unique salads. Did I mention it’s a brewery? Probably one of the more underrated places for beer in the city. Head’s up – this is a cash only establishment. Vine Street Pub is located at 17th and Vine in City Park West
- Tom’s Home Cooking: People will tell you that you need to have a “solid base” before heading into GABF or else your night will end prematurely. Tom’s offers the best base you could possibly hope for. Order fried chicken with mac n’ cheese and mashed potatoes (oh yeah, and the jalapeno corn bread, too), enter a food coma for the next several hours, and then you’re off to GABF well rested. Tom’s Home Cooking is located at 800 East 26th Ave in Five Points
- Steuben’s: Imagine the best pub-style fare without the terrible sports bar surroundings, and you’ll get Steuben’s. From fried chicken to green chili burgers to deviled eggs, the menu is wide ranging. It’s a good spot if you’re having difficulty picking a restaurant for a large group. Steuben’s is located at 523 East 17th Avenue in Uptown
- Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs: If you’re looking for a more traditional hot dog route, this is just about the best spot in Denver. Options on the menu include dogs styled around the offerings of regions/cities throughout the U.S. Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs is located at 3525 East Colfax Avenue in Congress Park
Dinner: For the nights that you’re not at GABF, you should take the opportunity to experience Denver’s vastly underrated dining scene.
- Fruition: Chances are if you do not have a reservation here already, you’re not getting in. That said, Fruition is widely believed to be Denver’s best restaurant. Meals are expensive, but you’ll be treated to a creative take on local ingredients. Fruition is located at 1313 East 6th Avenue
- Table 6: Less pricey than Fruition, but expensive nevertheless, Table 6 offers more playful takes on appetizers and main dishes while not compromising quality. A perfect example would be their In-N-Out inspired Animal Tots, which leverages high quality ingredients to make the most delicious fast-food homage you’re likely to encounter. Table 6 is located at the intersection of 6th and Corona
- Euclid Hall: If you’re a huge fan of Travel Channel shows Bizarre Foods and/or No Reservations, this may be the perfect spot for you. Their menu is jam-packed with more eccentric fare, such as Duck, Chicken, Goose – duck poutine with a sunny side up egg and an ounce of foie gras. Huge bonus for featuring arguably the best beer menu of any Denver restaurant. Euclid Hall is located at 1317 14th Street just off Larimer Square
- Root Down: The best of the recent farm-to-table trend to hit Denver, Root Down is best for groups who would prefer to share several small plates. Their appetizer menu and slider options will give you far more variety than a handful of entrees while also saving you the hit in the pocketbook. Root Down is located at 1600 West 33rd Avenue in the Highlands
- Pinche Tacos: A relatively new, low-priced entry onto the Denver food scene, Pinche offers fantastic takes on street tacos while also featuring one of the more comprehensive whiskey/tequila selections you’re likely to encounter in the city. Try the queso a la plancha while you’re there – grilled cotija cheese with an avocado and tomato salsa. Easily the best thing on the menu. Pinche Tacos is located at 1514 York St
Post-GABF: Here’s the most important category, right? You’ll need to know where you can go once GABF wraps up in order to soak up all of the alcohol you just consumed so you can then consume more alcohol.
- Illegal Pete’s: One of the few food options located on the 16th Street Mall that’s worth a damn, Illegal Pete’s offers a bonus in that it’s open until 2:30 AM. Walking distance from the Colorado Convention Center and offering some of the best burritos Denver has to offer (outside of Federal Blvd), this is the perfect post-GABF dining spot. Be sure to get your burrito swimming in green chili. Illegal Pete’s is located at 1530 16th St
- Biker Jim’s: Quite possibly the most famous member of Denver’s food scene due to an immense amount of attention from Food Network and Travel Channel, Biker Jim has upgraded from a cart on the 16th Street Mall to a snazzy restaurant near Coors Field. Best part about hitting up this location after GABF is your proximity to a number of amazing bars/breweries – Star Bar, Great Divide and Falling Rock are all within walking distance. While you really can’t go wrong when ordering, we reccommend the Alaskan Reindeer or Elk Jalapeno Cheddar. Biker Jim’s is located at 2148 Larimer Street
- Pete’s Diner: Open 24 hours, Pete’s typically serves as the last hurrah for a drunken evening. Pete’s is typically reserved for that moment in the evening/early morning where you pray anything that you ingest before bedtime will make for a more merciful morning. Let’s put it this way – if you’re given the option between Taco Bell and Pete’s for your “recovery” meal, and you don’t choose Pete’s – you’re doing it wrong. Pete’s Diner is located at 1962 E Colfax Ave
- My Brother’s Bar: One of the best burgers in town, My Brother’s Bar offers the best after-midnight menu in the city. Snag a short cab-ride from the Convention Center, order a JCB (jalapeno cheeseburger) and a basket of onion rings, and you’ll be ready to go for the rest of the evening. If you have trouble locating this place, just listen for the classical music being played outside. My Brother’s Bar is located at 2376 15th Street
- Fat Sully’s: There’s really nothing better than a huge greasy slice of NY style pizza after a long night of drinking. Need I say more? Fat Sully’s is located at 3237 E. Colfax inside Atomic Cowboy
There’s many more to choose from, so please leave any recommendations below in the comment section. Think of it as helping your fellow beer-aficionados.