If you live in or around Denver, you’ve probably come across the well-known Denver Food Scene social media accounts. With 168,000 followers on Instagram and 464,100 on TikTok, Denver Food Scene is very influential in the Denver Metro Area. Whether it be highlighting the newest hot spot eateries, old classic bars or special events, many Denverites count on Denver Food Scene to have enticing recommendations to try.
While many in Denver are familiar with the Denver Food Scene accounts, few know the face behind the magic of it all. Although she likes to keep her identity semi-private, 303 Magazine was able to get on the phone and chat with Yesenia Chinchilla, the creator of Denver Food Scene. Chinchilla filled us in on what, in her opinion, the true Denver food scene is like and how she fell into the role of being Denver’s go-to food scene girl. Plus, we couldn’t end the interview without asking some of her personal favorite places to eat in the Mile High City.
It all started when now 30-year-old Chinchilla made the move from Utah to Denver seven years ago. Originally, Chinchilla was a hobbyist recipe blogger focused on reposting and sharing some of her favorite recipes. When she moved to Denver, Chinchilla was inspired to get out, explore and grasp a deeper understanding of the city, thus hatching the beginnings of her well-known Denver Food Scene social media presence.
“Once I was in Denver, I started eating out a lot more and exploring the city so that’s kind of what the motivation behind the page was — just getting me out there to see more of the city and what it had to offer,” she said.
While she navigated her way through Denver, Chinchilla gradually solidified her niche in the foodie world. As she continued to gain clout among Denverites and eateries around the city, Chinchilla was eventually able to transform her hobby into a full-time gig.
“Thanks to partnerships that have come along through the years, this is something I’m able to do full time now which is so exciting,” she said.
Chinchilla describes Denver’s rapidly growing food scene as having lots of fusion and cultural mixes.
“What I like most about Denver’s food scene are the fusions and cultures,” she said. “I love exploring different cultures and trying different things that maybe I wouldn’t have tried before.”
Chinchilla has tons of restaurants in the Denver Metro Area that she highly recommends. Two of her favorites include Pho & Bar and Necio.
Pho & Bar
Where: 1600 E 17th Ave, Denver
Hours: Open Monday – Sunday, 1 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Closed on Tuesday
The Lowdown: Pho & Bar, which opened up in 2020, is making some of Denver’s finest Vietnamese cuisine. Located in Denver’s exciting Uptown neighborhood, Pho & Bar has one simple mission: to bring an enjoyable dining experience to the Denver area. While most of the dishes at Pho & Bar are served with a twist, all of the recipes are grounded in techniques and flavors that have been past down for years. To start, Chinchilla recommends the Vietnamese Pork Egg Rolls ($6.95) or the Pho Rolls ($10). For your main course, there are a variety of Pho Bowl options including Rare Beef ($12), Grilled Shrimp ($14) or, for the non-meat eaters, Tofu ($12). The Banh Mi Sandwich ($10) is another hot ticket item that is mouth wateringly good. If you’re looking for more options, Pho & Bar also offers a variety of Vermicelli Noodle Bowls and Rice Bowls.
Necio Mexican Kitchen
Where: 4001 Tejon St, Denver
Hours: Open Tuesday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Closed on Tuesday
The Lowdown: Necio is a family-owned Mexican kitchen located in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood. Inspired by authentic Mexican cuisine from South, Central and Northern Mexico, the flavors at Necio surely pack a punch. At Necio they are passionate about keeping the vibrant Mexican experience alive for the people of Denver. Their passion, culture and tradition is apparent when you take your first bite at Necio. Chinchilla says to immerse yourself in the Mexican experience with a super fresh and tasty Ceviche ($14) or the more glutenous Mexican Fries ($10) to start. If you’re looking for a healthier entree, the Ensalada Remolacha ($12) is a home run. At Necio, you can choose from a plethora of Tacos a La Cart ($4 – $4.50), one of the many traditional Necio Quesadillas ($8 – $11) or one of the popular Chef Specialties including Tampiqueña ($26), Molcajete Mar & Tierra ($35) or the Chile Rellenos ($16), to name a few. To close it all out and satisfy your sweet tooth, Necio offers a kick-ass Flan ($9), traditional Sopapillas ($9) and other delectable treats as well. Every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday at Necio where they serve any tacos for just $2 a piece. On Sundays, Necio welcomes you to enjoy a tasty Mexican inspired brunch with the option of pairing your meal with Bottomless Mimosas ($23).
As Chinchilla continues to manage her Denver Food Scene accounts, she hopes to continue to grow her already large following. Next time your looking for a new place to try, make sure to check out Denver Food Scene on TikTok and Instagram for food and booze recommendations in and around the Denver area.