Milepost Zero Sees Local Chefs Bring Conjoined and Corresponding Concepts

In only a few short years, Denver has flourished into a city of food halls. From iconic incubators like Avanti to restaurant group-specific entities like the recently opened Grange Hall, food courts and conglomerates have indeed become a vital part of the way locals like to dine. In late September, Milepost Zero — Ballpark’s answer to the booming trend — completed its relatively slow rollout, firmly cementing McGregor Square as a real destination for all kinds of interrelated entertainment.

Milepost’s overall orchestration comes courtesy of Sage Restaurant Concepts, with the group overseeing the bar program and extensive self-serve beer, wine and cocktail wall. From there, it’s mostly local chefs filling the stalls with both familiar and fresh concepts from Troy Guard, Misaki and Golden Mill‘s Jesus Silva and Boychik‘s Charlie Troup and Chase and Melissa Devitt. Chicago classic Buono Beef rounds out the food offerings, adding a hint of outside flavor amidst the decidedly homegrown choices.

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Each of the local chefs currently operates two stalls, each with a conjoined kitchen and largely overlapping staff. Guard opted to open Little Chingones — which serves a pared down list of favorites from his popular RiNo location. Next door is Tiny Giant Sushi, a fresh concept that sees Guard focusing on relatively conventional rolls, nigiri and several tiers of omakase.

Troup and the Devitts have used their space to open Atomic Chicken and Field Greens, an appropriately greasy fried chicken joint and a wholesome concept serving smoothies, açaí bowls and robust salads. “We got the ying and yang thing going,” said Troup. “Chase kinda had this fried chicken concept in his head for a bit,” he continued, noting that Field Greens was intentionally developed to provide something of a symbiotic foil to the patently heavy game-oriented food. “I love the idea of having the two next to each other … Internally we call it Atomic Greens.”

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Silva — who has been working in restaurants since he first got a kitchen job at the age of 10 in his home city of Monterrey, Mexico — has in the last several years proven to be one of the city’s most dynamic masters of the stall. After the success of Misaki in Stanley Marketplace, Silva has most recently gone on to open Tacos Al Chile, Sushi Sora and Republik of Chicken at Golden Mill, with plans to add additional concepts to an upcoming food hall in Westminster in spring 2022. While there is no distinct connection between Silva’s additions — Pulpo Creamery and Tora Sushi and Ramen — each is a great representation of the breadth of the chef’s talent. “They said I needed to ice cream if I wanted to take the space,” laughed Silva.

Tora is clearly the main focus, recycling a concept Silva had established at Broadway Market and adding poke, pho and several gluten-free options. While the menu currently veers towards tradition, Silva says he plans to add more experimental items — think birria and green chili ramen — as the winter gets into full swing. “One of the best parts about doing Japanese food and not being Japanese is I can look in all these different directions,” the chef said.

As Milepost continues to build its identity into and amidst all the surrounding bustle, the clear vision of the involved chefs will surely help to make it much more than merely a post-game attraction. “I think this place is going to be one of the most popular markets around town,” Silva said.

Milepost Zero is located at 601 19th St. Suite 150, Denver.

All photography by Adrienne Thomas.