What: Coastal cuisine inspired by the beach-culture of the area north of San Diego.
Where: 94 Rampart Way, Denver
When: Happy hour is available all day on Mondays, Tuesday-Saturday 3 p.m.-6 p.m. & 9 p.m.-close
Pros: This happy hour menu has a ton of options for both food and drinks but the highlight is definitely the fresh seafood that’s shipped in daily.
Cons: Unless you live or work in Lowry, the location is a bit out of the way.
There are countless reasons to love Colorado, but one thing we’re missing in the Mile High is, of course, the beach. While no one’s quite figured out how to bring the salty breeze and crashing waves to the Rocky Mountains, you can (thankfully) still eat like you’re sitting ocean-side.
North County has been opened in Lowry as part of the dining-centric Hangar 2 complex for two months. But what’s making this restaurant stand out is that it is all about the beach life – minus the actual ocean (although one wall is covered in seascape wallpaper). The bar is lined with 100 tequilas and in the kitchen, tortillas are handmade daily for the signature al pastor taco. This is comfort food for sure, but served up with an elevated level of attention to detail.
Take the house-bottled Adult Sodas ($1 off at happy hour), available in varieties like the Paloma and Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade. Each one comes adorned with a handwritten label that tells you the bottle’s batch number and date of bottling. It’s these kinds of little details that make a trip to North County feel special.
While a lot of restaurants often serve up smaller versions of its regular menu eats for happy hour, North County has happy hour food that’s more than enough for a meal. While you can score small snacks like the Chicken Empanada for $3, you can also order up items like the Mussels & Fries to share with a friend – you’ll get a heaping serving on special for $10. To complete your experience, add on a boozy beverage like the Strawberry Margarita ($6), Sangria ($5), or any draft beer for $1 off.
The highlight here, though, is definitely the oysters. While North County does serve them raw, during happy hour it offers deals on the fried and chargrilled versions. The Fried Oysters ($10) are addictive in a light but crispy batter and the Chargrilled Oysters ($2/each) are packed with the bold flavors of lemon garlic herb butter, roasted poblano peppers, smoky bacon and Jack cheese.
Not a seafood fan? There’s plenty for you too, including spicy Jalapeno Pickles ($4) served in a jar and creamy, chorizo-spiked Queso Fundido ($8) alongside a properly greasy paper bag of warm chips. Or go for the popular coastal classic Carne Asada Fries ($9) piled high with steak, cheese, guacamole, pico and crema.
In addition to the regular happy hour menu, North County also offers daily specials like Taco Tuesdays with all tacos for $1 off including the slow roasted pork on the Da Baby El Pastor and a changing selection of both fresh and saltwater fish.
Dining options in many areas outside of downtown Denver have been a bit limited in the past. But as the city’s dining scene continues to rapidly expand, the offerings in the suburbs are changing. With a commitment to fresh ingredients and its laid back atmosphere, North County is giving diners a reason to venture to other areas of town like Lowry.