On September 12, My Neighbor Felix opened in LoHi. The new undertaking from Lotus Concepts — the team behind ViewHouse — is a sprawling temple devoted to carefully-sourced, pan-Mexican fare. The brainchild of chef Jose Guerrero — a graduate of the Alberto Perez Gonzalez Restaurant Group in Puerto Vallarta and part-owner of the ViewHouse franchise — the new concept was designed to interpret the regional cuisine of Mexico through the lens of its culinary megalopolis. It highlights a range of recognizable dishes featuring quality meats, fish and an impressive vegetable presence.
While Felix’s detailed interior and more sophisticated menu lends the place a certain ritz, the volume, scope and uproarious atmosphere are all clear extensions of ViewHouse’s conceptual underpinnings. Music booms from a neatly-ornamented DJ booth near the bar, with the enormous interior designed by Agatha Jane being supplemented by an additional 145 seats of patio and street seating. “We always knew we wanted to do an elevated Mexican concept,” said Lotus Concepts CEO and President Francois Safieddine.
While not explicitly a locavore destination, My Neighbor Felix has done a good job of including local meats and produce to clear effect. Corner Post Meats, Red Bird Farms, Smith Farms and a growing list of Colorado purveyors are all used across the menu. “I can’t stress enough the importance of how much we geeked out and how many people we met in the process,” smiled Guerrero. “We’re not going to compromise quality or recognizability,” continued the chef.
Despite their simplicity, the house-made goddess hibiscus chips are one of the menu’s finest offerings. Available accompanying a trio of salsas ($8), guacamole fresco ($10) or a queso fundido skillet ($10) the crisp morsels are reminiscent of popcorn, the subtle floral hints popping best when unadorned. While the traditional fare — including tacos, empanadas, burritos, enchiladas and larger shared dishes — all hits, Felix perhaps shines brightest in its less expected corners. The mixed green salad ($13) — with kale greens, adobo-agave sauce, shredded cabbage, pumpkin seeds, spicy Japanese peanuts, dried mango, green grapes, avocado, queso fresco and charred jalapeno vinaigrette — has all the freshness and complexity to easily go head-to-head with any of its more robust peers.
The drink program is tackled with a level of enthusiasm that could easily land it as the star of the show. A neatly-curated selection of tequilas and mezcals — generally ranging from between $7 – 30 with the occasional $50 – 100 outlier — are available in one or two-ounce pours. Original cocktails, including the green chili infinity ($13) — with St. George’s green chili vodka, tropical Red Bull, fresh lime juice and aperitivo select — and the cabana coffee ($13) — with Rumchata, Jack Daniel’s Honey and cold brew from Corvus Coffee — are cut from the same volume-tested cloth that has made ViewHouse a success. The margaritas — a clear engine of the whole operation — are at first glance a collection of classics. Though a closer inspection will reveal the kind of detail-oriented approach that could very well establish the place as the seat of an ongoing neighborhood-wide bacchanal. The customary frozen margarita ($12) is refashioned with El Jimador blanco, strawberry-banana, fresh lime juice and the left-field and utterly-inspired addition of carrot. The Vapor Margarita ($13) — listed involving an ambiguously-described “rosemary bubble” — is a delight to the senses and an elegant reminder of just what can’t be duplicated in a year of home-bar creations.
The LoHi spot is set to be just the first for the hastily growing brand — with locations in Centennial and Colorado Springs already in the works.
My Neighbor Felix is located at 1801 Central St., Denver. It is open Monday – Thursday from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. – 12 a.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
All photography by Adrienne Thomas.