First arriving in the Mile High City from Connecticut, I wasn’t too keen on what the cuisine was like out West, and I certainly didn’t want to venture too deep into a place I wasn’t familiar with yet. So, that left me looking for places around local hubs, like Union Station. This iconic transportation building has been in Denver since 1939 and is the largest train station in the West. Despite being a travel center, the building hosts a Hotel as well as several other restaurants and attractions. If you’re a Denver newbie like me and need some grub-guidance around a central area, this article is for you.
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Hours: Monday – Friday (7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.) Saturday – Sunday (6:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.)
Address: 1701 Wynkoop Street, Denver CO 80202
The Lowdown: If you arrive in Denver in the early morning, the only logical solution would be to get breakfast at Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. Located conveniently inside Union Station’s walls, Snooze offers a wide variety of unique takes on common classics. The restaurant prides itself on sourcing ingredients locally, and only serving food from farms that share the same values as them through its “Snooze Approved” initiative. The restaurant has been open since 2006 and its customer base is just as loyal as ever. Get a classic Breakfast Burrito ($11.75) or go rogue and try a Pancake Flight ($12.50). Either way, there’s an option for everyone at Snooze.
Thirsty Lion Gastropub
Hours: Monday – Wednesday (11 a.m. – 10 p.m.) Thursday – Friday (11 a.m. – 11 p.m.) Saturday (10 a.m. – 11 p.m.) Sunday (10 a.m. – 10 p.m.)
Location: 1605 Wynkoop Street, Denver CO 80202
The Lowdown: This restaurant was my first dining experience out West, and I certainly was not disappointed. Designed as an elevated sports bar, this restaurant has a vast selection of bold-flavored food and drinks. With a bar in the center of the establishment, everything is centered around being social and having a good time, perfect for getting to know people in the city. The gastropub also has vegetarian options, so no problem if you want to watch the game while being environmentally conscious, the Spicy Fried Cauliflower ($9.95) is the perfect wing substitute.
Hours: Monday – Thursday (11 a.m. – 10 p.m.) Friday (11 a.m. – 11 p.m.) Saturday (9 a.m. – 11 p.m.) Sunday (10 a.m. – 10 p.m.)
Location: 1701 Wynkoop St. Denver
The Lowdown: It’s Tapas time. Ultreia, a loose translation to “onward” referring to the encouragement of the Pilgrims on their Camino de Santiago, this restaurant sends the cuisine of Union Station into the next decade. With another success from the Crafted Concept Group, Ultreia offers an extensive menu of small bites influenced by the flavors of Portugal and Spain. Guests can sign up to be a part of the Supper Club, where they enjoy an Iberian feast with pairings of wine. Or, attend happy hour and enjoy Bacon Wrapped Dates ($4) with a refreshing glass of Sangria ($6). Located inside Union Station as well, a traveler can have one last delicious meal before their journey onward.
Hours: Sunday – Wednesday (4 p.m. – 12 a.m.) Thursday – Saturday (4 p.m. – 2 a.m.)
Location: 1750 Wewatta Street, Suite 140. Denver
The Lowdown: Born in New York City, this mezcal and tequila bar offers the flare you’re looking for in your Saturday night in Denver. Committed to staying true to its roots in Mexican hospitality and tradition, Ghost Donkey sets itself apart by also incorporating “city swagger,” according to its website. The happy hour prices are unbeatable, starting with $4 Cervezas and Mole Chicken Nachos for just $8. With an unbeatable atmosphere and good proximity to central places, this bar is a certain stop on your evening barhop.
Jinya Ramen Bar
Hours: Monday – Thursday (11 a.m. – 10 p.m.) Friday – Saturday (11 a.m. – 11 p.m.) Sunday (11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.)
Location: 1710 Wynkoop St. Denver
The Lowdown: Jinya opened its first US location in California, and has now spread across the states for its intimate care and attention to every aspect of the food. Named after a Samurai soldier, the restaurant is serious about the relationship between noodles and broth. As the slogan says, “No ramen, no life.” This place is great for a Lycheetini ($9), and the staff makes a great effort to make good relationships with their customers. With great food at a reasonable price, Jinya is perfect for a meal before a concert at the Ball Arena. It’s right across from the station’s front doors, a perfect place to eat some Salmon Poke Tacos ($7) and watch the street life.