“It all started in a back alley,” Mark Shaker said while standing inside the now 100,000 square-foot Stanley Marketplace. Shaker is a partner in the Stanley development, and he reminisced on the three years it has taken to develop the space. “We were drinking beers in an alley nearby and realized how badly we needed a neighborhood hangout.”
In three short years, the former Stanley Aviation building in Aurora has become what Shaker describes as a “hangout on steroids,” filled with an eco-system of 54 local, like-minded businesses ready to serve the Aurora-Stapleton community.
Among the 54 businesses are nearly 20 food and beverage vendors, and Shaker says they’re confident they’ve found a mix of Colorado’s best.
“Stanley will offer a wide array of delicious dining options, from some of Colorado’s best chefs and brands, all in one convenient location,” said Shaker. “We’re confident no one will leave this marketplace and food hall hungry.”
Here’s everything you need to know about eating your way through the new and delicious Stanley Market, including what’s already open and what’s to come.
The Lowdown: Annette is a new restaurant concept from chef Caroline Glover, previously a chef at Acorn and The Spotted Pig in NYC. Focused on locally-sourced ingredients, this self-titled “scratch-to-table” menu is full of inventive snacks and wood-fired favorites that change often depending on what local flavors are in season.
Don’t Miss: Its fresh take on a classic comfort food — Sunchoke Gratin with haystack mountain raclette and parsley.
Cheluna Brewing Co.
The Lowdown: When he’s not working as an ER doctor, Javi Perez is brewing beer. He has turned his almost 30-year hobby into what is now a brick-and-mortar production brewery and public taproom. Cheluna Brewing Co. will offer 10-12 of its German-Mexican blend beers on rotation.
Don’t Miss: Its Coco-Xoco Porter is a can’t-miss. The brew is medium-bodied and infused with cacao, vanilla and toasted coconut. Bonus: the toasted coconut in the beer is toasted by Miette et Chocolat, the chocolate shop inside Stanley Market.
The Lowdown: The beloved Mexican street food-inspired restaurant has two locations, one in Longmont and one in Denver, as well as a food truck. Comida in Stanley Market will be the third outpost for owner Rayme Rossello. If you love simple small plates that pack a serious punch, you’ll love Comida.
Don’t Miss: The bacon-jalapeño griddled tacos! (P.S. We’ve written about them before, and there’s a reason — Rossello is married to the founder of Colorado’s beloved Tender Belly Bacon. Score.)
Denver Biscuit Company
The Lowdown: Denver Biscuit Co. has a bit of a cult following behind its first three locations and food truck. However, its fourth location in Stanley Market will be a first for the brand — what’s usually a shared-space with Atomic Cowboy and Fat Sully’s will be entirely dedicated to Denver Biscuit Co. And yes, that means biscuits all day, everyday. “We’ve been coming to the Stapleton Farmer’s Market for awhile now,” Office Manager Kelly Fontaine explained. “We’re excited to expand in this neighborhood we already love and know so well.”
Don’t Miss: Although chicken biscuit lovers should dig into the Franklin or Ellsworth, we love The Sherman with Tender Belly bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and a fried egg, if you please.
Glazed & Confuzed
The Lowdown: This shop had us at doughnuts and the punny name. Glazed & Confuzed has been dishing organic doughnuts in Denver since 2012, and the Stanley Market location opened April 20. Founder Josh Schwab said, “It has been my dream to combine my passion for fresh, gourmet food and my love for donuts into a successful business. I’m here to show you, Colorado, that there is more to donuts then just glaze and sprinkles!”
Don’t Miss: Girl Scout cookie fiends will love the Confused Samoa, a caramel-glazed doughnut topped with toasted coconut and a rich chocolate drizzle.
Infinite Monkey Theorem
The Lowdown: This popular urban winery is opening its third outpost in Stanley Market. Known for its kegged and canned wine, Infinite Monkey Theorem prides itself as “back alley wine making at its finest.” Occupying the only third-floor space in the market, Infinite Monkey Theorem hopes to be the spot where market visitors bring their to-go food by and hang out.
Don’t Miss: The new canned, dry-hopped sauvignon blanc is the first of its kind and worth a taste (or two). Also, you can get discounted wine if you attend a yoga class at Kindness yoga downstairs.
The Juniper Pig
The Lowdown: This butcher shop is focused on humanely-sourced meat and takeaway options to grab for lunch or cook for dinner. Think sandwiches, salads, rotisserie chicken and more.
Don’t Miss: The chicken salad sandwich ($9) with with rotisserie chicken, apples, celery, grapes, crispy pancetta and pistachio vin.
Logan House Coffee Company
The Lowdown: If “community” is the common thread that holds Stanley Market together, “unpretentious” would be a close second. Similar to many vendors in the market, small-batch coffee roasters Logan House Coffee Co. strive to create a cozy environment for anyone to enjoy. “We just want to create a great cup of coffee for everyone,” founders Andre Janusz and Brooks Gagstetter explained. “We want everyone to feel comfortable here.”
Don’t Miss: Its liquor license will allow the shop to serve coffee-based beers it’s creating in collaboration with local breweries! Bring on the buzz.
The Lowdown: Transport yourself to Argentina without leaving Aurora when you take a bite of anything at Maria Empanada. Founder Lorena Cantarovici named the restaurant after her mother Maria, and she has based the menu off of many dishes from her upbringing— think fresh empanadas, savory tarts and authentic Argentinian desserts. She lovingly described it to us as “all the flavor without the spice.”
Don’t Miss: Obviously, all the empanadas are killer, and we would pour her chimichurri on anything.
Miette et Chocolat
The Lowdown: If Maria Empanada transports you to Argentina, Miette et Chocolat takes you straight to a french patisserie. Each piece of chocolate, small cake, tart or other dessert is a work of art — almost too pretty to eat. Don’t miss the big display window to watch all of the sweet creations in the making.
Don’t Miss: Hand-painted, colorful renditions of classic chocolate bars or more inventive flavors like the champagne, mango and cilantro candy bar.
The Lowdown: Chef Jose Silva — formerly at Sushi Sasa and more — has joined owners Charlene and Robert Thai to bring affordable sushi to Stanley Marketplace.
Don’t Miss: That miso soup and a Misaki roll makes for the perfect lunch.
The Lowdown: Cheese die-hards, this one’s for you. Mondo Market has traditionally been a gourmet grocery, but the shop is adding prepared dishes and pastas to its Stanley Market location. You’ll still find old favorites like salumi, cheese and more. “Our big rule is it has to be outstanding,” co-owner Nicolas Farrell said. “We want to add to the culinary community and grocery scene in the neighborhood.”
Don’t Miss: Unique to its Stanley Market location, the pasta is pretty freaking great. You can even make your own from its list of fresh pastas, veggies, sauces and cheese.
Mr. B’s Wine and Spirits
The Lowdown: Sip while you shop thanks to Mr. B’s Wine and Spirits. Its liquor license will allow market guests to carry beverages from shop to shop, as long as you don’t enter another location serving alcohol. Its downtown Denver location boasts more than 700 types of wine, 500 beers and 600 spirits, and we expect nothing less from this exciting new location.
Don’t Miss: The secret scotch room it’s building in the Stanley’s former safe.
Rolling Smoke BBQ
The Lowdown: We knew we loved the Rolling Smoke BBQ boys from the moment they introduced themselves. “We like to say we smoke it all,” co-founder Wade Williams told us with a grin. He wasn’t kidding — every single hot item on the menu has been smoked just outside of the Stanley Market Building, even the mac and cheese. This is the first brick-and-mortar location for the former food truck-only BBQ joint.
Don’t Miss: Burnt ends. The end.
Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen
The Lowdown: With the motto “Mile High Kosher Style,” Rosenberg’s Bagels dishes out New York-style bagels, specialty fish, sandwiches and more. “I don’t even think these guys need an introduction,” Mark Shaker joked. “It’s a Denver staple.”
Don’t Miss: Mini bagels for your inner indecisive flavor picker. Hint: all of them.
The Lowdown: Here’s some math we can get behind: salad + pizza = Sazza. “Clean food is our concept,” co-owner Jeff Rogoff explained. The team plans to use a half acre of Stanley Market land to grow produce and spices to infuse into its fresh pizzas, salads, and more. This is Sazza’s second location, offering new categories like appetizers and “sazones.”
Don’t Miss: The seasonal fruit dessert pizza with brown sugar butter, seasonal fruit, streusel and sweetened mascarpone icing.
Stanley Beer Hall
The Lowdown: Stanley Beer Hall epitomizes the team’s original dream— to provide a good, simple neighborhood hang-out. The restaurant offers a modern take on traditional bar food. “Our food is focused around great beer,” Executive Chef Anna Walter said. “It’s just really good, well-made beer drinking food.” The Beer Hall offers 30 draft lines, including 25-28 rotating beers — with an emphasis on brews from Colorado and the West Coast — as well as cocktails on tap.
Don’t Miss: The roasted buttermilk chicken. Topped only with natural jus and herbs, it’s anything but boring.
Sweet Cow Ice Cream
The Lowdown: Sweet dreams are made of Sweet Cow Ice Cream. Now opening its sixth location, this local scoop shop serves some seriously delicious small-batch ice cream. “We’re big on community, so we jumped at the chance to join this collection of Colorado business coming together under one roof,” Director of Operations Steve Bell said. His team scoops 24 different flavors every day.
Don’t Miss: The German Chocolate or Cookies and Cream, which has enough Oreos in it to be completely mocha-colored.
The Lowdown: “We still feel like the kid who shouldn’t be at the cool kids table,” Yellowbelly co-founder Barry Davis explained, half-jokingly. “We’re in the company of restaurants that we’ve looked up to forever and now we’re here with them — it’s just surreal.” Modesty aside, the chicken joint is opening its third location in Stanley Market and has nothing to feel inadequate about —the menu is delicious and perfect for families looking to grab a bite in-store or to-go.
Don’t Miss: The West Vail sandwich with fried chicken tenders, house made “Super Ketchup”, lettuce, pickles and a toasted brioche bun.
If that doesn’t get your stomach growling enough, food lovers will also love popping by shops like Savory Spice and Zero Market. Savory Space is a home cook’s paradise with more than 400 freshly ground herbs and spices to take home and get cooking, while Zero Market offers all the tools you need to lead a more waste-free life inside and outside of the kitchen. No matter what food you fancy, we think Yellowbelly co-founder Davis said it best: “The Stanley Market team did an insanely good job of curating a great group of people. We can’t wait to see where it goes.”
What are you most excited to see at Stanley Market? Let us know in the comments.
Stanley Marketplace is located at 2501 Dallas St, Aurora, Colorado is opened from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.