The highly anticipated Zeppelin Station will open its doors to the public March 12. Below, we have a first look at what to expect.
The 100,000-square-foot building is a workplace and “culinary concourse.” Stationed at the foot of the 38th and Blake stop on the RTD commuter rail line, the design is highly influenced by transportation culture. It’s on track for LEED certification, including indoor and outdoor spaces, soaring ceilings and loads of natural light.
The market hall lines the bottom of the space, with eight vendors, one bar at the bottom and one bar upstairs in the lofted space. Focused on international street food flavors, it truly is a walk around the culinary world.
Aloha Poke Co.
The Lowdown: We’ve seen a lot of poke come to Denver, but Aloha Poke Co. does something a little different. There are no upcharges for any ingredients, and bowls are priced in three ways according to size — $7.50 for eight ounces, $9.50 for 16 ounces and $14.50 for 24 ounces. This is the first Denver location for the Chicago-based company, but it is the team’s 12th store so far. However, they are on track to open 20-25 more across the country this year.
Don’t Miss: Although you can build your own, we know the house crunch bowl with ahi tuna will be an instant classic. It’s stuffed with jalapeño, cucumber, scallions, edamame, tobiko, crunch and drizzled with spicy aioli and the sweet and savory samurai sauce.
The Lowdown: Jared Leonard has always loved Texas-style barbecue. In fact, he started learning about the process from the Moe’s crew in the mountains years ago. After opening four unique concepts in Chicago, Leonard decided to open a Montreal meat concept inspired by his wife’s Canadian roots. The family has since fallen in love with Colorado and moved to Evergreen.
Don’t Miss: It’s all about the meat at Au Feu — from a two year-aged, 72-hour smoked ham to a brisket that’s cured for seven to 10 days. Don’t miss the poutine ($8), a true Canadian classic with twice fried, thick cut fries with cheese curds and gravy.
injoi Korean kitchen
The Lowdown: Chef Bill Espiricueta is behind this Korean concept (as well as Smok — set to open in the Source Hotel this summer). From bulgogi to bao buns, injoi kitchen is bursting with flavor. We look forward to the seasonal changes in the housemade kimchi, from apple in the fall to ramp in the spring. But, there’s one clear star of the show…
Don’t Miss: The Korean fried chicken is a true can’t-miss. Served as wings ($6), legs ($5) or tenders ($7), the chicken is breaded in a mix of cornstarch and flour, fried and smothered in your choice of sauce — spicy injoi sauce, extra hot house sauce, dry-rub Korean style or plain. The chefs have worked on developing the fried chicken recipe (for both injoi and Smok) for more than 15 months.
The Lowdown: The husband and wife co-owners of Spuntino opened Namkeen to pay tribute to wife Cindhura Reddy’s Indian heritage. “There was a lot of bouncing ideas back to India for family approval,” Reddy’s husband Elliot Strathmann explained.
This family affair became a true representation of Indian cuisine. The name translates to “salty, savory snack,” and the menu includes many of the spices you see lining the back counter.
Don’t Miss: The Aloo Samosa ($4 each) has a spiced potato and English pea inside with tamarind-date and cilantro-mint chutneys on the side. But, spice-lovers will need to order the Chicken 65 ($9, and Reddy’s favorite). It’s a Chennai traditional spicy fried chicken with curry leaves, green chiles, red onion, cilantro, lime and yogurt to cool it down.
Vinh Xuong Bakery
The Lowdown: The Huynh family opened their first banh mi shop in Vietnam in 1951. Now, with its third location in Denver inside Zeppelin Station, this rendition of Vinh Xuong bakery will have a slightly different menu, but will also include some of the freshly made Vietnamese favorites.
Don’t Miss: Sometimes things are the most popular for a reason, and that’s the case with the Grilled Pork Sandwich ($8.50) with a sweet pork loin marinated in lemongrass, grilled and served with pickled carrots and daikon.
No Vacancy — currently featuring Comal
The Lowdown: Every 90 days, you’ll find a new resident inside the stall called No Vacancy. Zeppelin already has people lined up to occupy the next three cycles, and the first is Comal. Made to help refugees gain experience and find jobs in the food industry, Comal featured different types of cuisine daily. For example, Silvia Hernandez has been with Comal since its inception, and she has worked her way up to become the manager of the Zeppelin Station space for the next 90 days. She will bring her favorites from Mexico City to the menu Tuesday through Thursday.
Don’t Miss: The menu varies daily, with Mexican Tuesday through Thursday, empanadas on Friday and Syrian on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Don’t miss that weekend hummus — it’s heavenly.
The Lowdown: Bryce and Giulia Licht have been gelato lovers for years, and you may have tried their other shop Fior Gelato in Boulder. However, Gelato Boy is an exciting next step for the couple because it pays homage to how they met. Bryce saw Giulia in a gelato shop in Italy in 2008, and he kept returning so often to run into and woo her that the locals called him “Gelato Boy.”
Don’t Miss: While they do offer gelato by the cup, cone or in a milkshake, we suggest trying The Gelato Boy ($7.25) for something really sweet. Similar to a gelato panino served in the south of Italy, this is a treat with your choice of gelato flavor stuffed inside a sesame donut from Vinh Xuong.
Dandy Lion Coffee
When: Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 8 a.m. through 7 p.m.
The Lowdown: You can’t have a proper food call without good coffee, and Dandy Lion Coffee Co. fills that tall order. From the son of the Vinh Xuong Bakery family Duc Huynh, Dandy Lion is embracing the educational aspect of coffee, allowing guest baristas or people to shadow the business.
Don’t Miss: You can find all of your classic favorites like an espresso, cortado or nitro cold brew. Or, try something with Asian influence like the Midnight in Saigon ($6.50) — a Vietnamese iced coffee with a double shot of espresso. If you’re looking for something sweet, order the affogato — a shot of espresso with Gelato Boy scooped right in.
Kiss & Ride
When: Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. until 9:30 (last call at 9 p.m.) and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. (last call at 12:30 a.m.)
The Lowdown: Zeppelin Station’s two bars are run by beverage director Michael Huebner and bar manager Lana Gailani. Kiss + Ride, at the bottom with the food stalls, is the more casual of the two. It’s intended to be a walk-up casual bar for a quick drink after work or while waiting for a train. There are transportation boards beside it that give estimated times for trains, Uber and more.
Don’t Miss: The cobbler cocktail is a delicious, low-alcohol treat with a sherry blend, plum, cinnamon and citrus.
When: Sunday through Thursday 4 p.m. through midnight (last call at 11:40 p.m.) and Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. through 2 a.m. (last call at 1:30 a.m.)
The Lowdown: Big Trouble is Kiss + Ride’s darker, sultry older sibling, sitting in the loft upstairs at Zeppelin Station. They’re describing this East-meets-West concept as a liquid holiday, and the team plans to have live music, guest DJs and more.
Don’t Miss: Big Trouble has the only High Ball machine in Colorado — which serves a classic Suntory Highball with Toki Japanese whiskey and soda blended together. There are also group cocktails like the “We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat” which serves 3-5 people with vodka, white port, Midori, makrut lime, lemon verbena and champagne.
The market hall vendors are open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. through 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Zeppelin Station is located at 3501 Wazee Street, Denver 80216. For more information, visit the website.
All photography by Amanda Piela.