13 New Restaurants and Bars Heating up the Denver Metro Dining Scene, Summer 2022

Whether you’re craving French cuisine, Mexican favorites, or veggie-forward bites, there’s always something fresh and delicious to savor in Colorado’s culinary world. This season is no exception, thanks to the arrival of a bounty of new food and drink concepts over the past few months in the Denver metro area. Here, 13 spots you should pop by in the coming weeks (and beyond).

This is a snapshot of the best new restaurants in Denver, updated quarterly. See a running list of the best new restaurants and bars of 2022 here. See the best new restaurants of 2021 here.

Point Easy
Beautiful roasted carrots and melon salad at Point Easy. Photo by Patricia Kaowthumrong

One-month-old Point Easy’s farm-to-table menu of shareable plates, house-made pastas, and cocktails will make you wish you lived in the Whittier neighborhood. Andy Bruch and Dan Phelps’ white-walled restaurant—which has big windows, a sprawling bar, and black and gray accents—invites guests to connect with family and friends in a casual, inviting space over feasts produced with thoughtfully sourced ingredients, many of which are local. Build your own spread with the likes of lemon-shallot-vinaigrette-dressed squash salad, guanciale-studded bucatini all-amatriciana, and thick, juicy grilled pork chop with duck fat apples. The fare is complemented by an equally well-curated beverage list with 10 wines available by the glass, a collection of featured spirits, and tasty cocktails like the Palisade peach G&T and pistachio daiquiri. 2000 E. 28th Ave.

A picture of a stone bowl of molcajete at Ni Tuyo
A molcajete at Ni Tuyo. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Heading into the cooler months, there’s nothing that warms our hearts and stomachs quite like a molcajete, a piping-hot stone bowl of Mexican meats and veggies stewed in chile sauce. Luckily, the team behind Adelitas and La Doña Mezcaleria launched Ni Tuyo this summer to sate Denverites’ appetites for the bubbling cauldrons, which feed three to four guests and cost $30 to $36 each (which includes tortillas and a round of chips and salsa). Try the classic Cielo Mar Y Tierra variety, filled with steak, chicken, shrimp, panela cheese, green onions, and nopales served in a spicy tomato sauce. 730 S. University Blvd.

manila bay
The bangus sisig, chopped deep fried milk fish, at Manila Bay. Photo by Patricia Kaowthumrong

Eateries dedicated to the cuisine of the Philippines are a rarity in the Denver metro area, but fans can now dig into staples—crispy lumpia, citrusy pork sisig (minced pork sautéed with spices and onions), aromatic garlic fried rice—at five-month-old Manila Bay in Aurora. The expansive restaurant, housed in a former Village Inn, has plenty of seating and an adjacent bakery that serves pastries, buns, cakes, and other treats from Goldilocks and ice cream from Magnolia (both brands born in the Philippines). Before you venture over to the sweet shop, order the beautifully presented bangus sisig, chopped lime-kissed deep fried milk fish, and the lechon kawali, fried pork belly with a vinegar-kissed sauce. 13800 E. Mississippi Ave.

Casual, modern Mexican-inspired bites from chef Javier Sanchez (formerly of Tamayo and Osaka Ramen) are the draw at Capitol Hill’s Wild Taco, a three-month-old bar and restaurant from the team behind Barbed Wire Reef. Snag a seat near the wall of artificial roses emblazoned with the words “Go Wild For A While” to devour platters of tacos in styles such as bulgogi (ground beef seasoned with tamari, garlic, and ginger), po’boy (masa-fried shrimp with Cajun remoulade), and Buffalo (skirt steak with chimichurri and melty queso Chihuahua cheese). Don’t miss the carrot and beet margs, refreshing sippers made with fresh juices. 215. E. 7th Ave.

Nurture has been a popular health-forward haven since opening in May 2020. This past June, the wellness marketplace added a dinner option to the lineup of breakfast fare at Nest Cafe with Rewild, a vegetable-focused concept helmed by executive chef Juan Tapia, formerly of the Clayton Members Club in Cherry Creek. Ingredients are sourced locally from farms and ranches like Hazel Dell Mushrooms and Rock River Bison, and each dish is thoughtfully layered with seasonal touches. Try the plum burrata salad with grilled stone fruit, house-made cheese, and a refreshing mint reduction, or the roasted carrots set atop a creamy labneh dusted with jalepeño ash. 2949 Federal Blvd.

This month, FlyteCo—a morning-to-night, aviation-themed coffee shop, brewery, and restaurant—took flight in the 164-foot former Stapleton International Airport Control Tower and adjacent building. Enjoy a smooth Fogged Out hazy IPA with platter of walleye fish and chips on the deck, which has breathtaking views of the surrounding area, or challenge your crew to a game of bowling, air hockey, or mini golf (features kept from the space’s three-year stint as Punch Bowl Social) while you nosh on pizza and knock back bourbon-infused Danger Zone cocktails. Look for flight-influenced touches such as air control audio in the bathrooms and memorabilia like the full-size replica of a Boeing 737 fuselage, courtesy of a partnership with nearby Wings of the Rockies Air and Space Museum. 3120 Uinta St.

At two-week-old Next Level Burger, patrons can dig into fast-casual burger joint staples with a plant-based, sustainability-forward twist. Popular offerings include house-made umami mushroom and quinoa patties and Beyond Burger options with a bevy of hearty fixings, from tempeh bacon and onion rings to coleslaw. Pair the jalapeño-cream-cheese-stuffed Ghost Pepper Popper Burger on a pretzel bun with a side of organic fries or tots, which you can also get smothered with house-made BeerChz sauce, grilled onions, and other extras. Next Level, a chain established in Oregon in 2014, also has an extensive lineup of Chik’n sandwiches, tenders, and nuggets, house-made soy or coconut soft-serve and shakes, and loaded Beyond Brats. All are well-seasoned substitutes for their dairy- and meat-forward counterparts. 1605 E. Evans Ave.

LoHi lacked a destination for French cuisine until Tim and Lillian Lu turned on the ovens at Noisette this month. There, the husband-and-wife team serve elegant renditions of bourgeoisie-style specialties (home-cooked comforts) in a romantic, light-drenched space adorned with amber velvet banquettes, pastel accents, and antique floral dishware. Highlights include the crispy-skinned magret de canard, flash-seared duck breast atop a pool of foie-gras-infused sauce; dauphine aux escargot, balls of airy potato choux pastry dough studded with diced snail and accompanied by herb aïoli; and pêche Melba, a beautiful riff on the classic with a fresh-fruit-encircled dome of white chocolate and vanilla ice cream coated in raspberry glaze. Lu’s exquisite pastries and chocolates will also be available at the adjoining bakery, set to open soon. 3254 Navajo St., Ste. 100

Inside Everyday Pizza. Photo by David Williams

Earlier this month, the team behind Somebody People—Sam and Tricia Maher and head chef Art Burnayev—started slinging plant-forward pies at Everyday Pizza in the Ballpark neighborhood. While nothing is specifically billed as vegan, there’s no meat or dairy in sight, and pizzas are instead topped with local, seasonal veggies (see: the shishito pie topped with hemp cream and fried shallots) and come with thoughtful dipping sauces like chile aïoli and dairy-free tzatziki. Also try the stellar lineup of pastas and small plates—we like the hearty roasted lion’s mane mushrooms. 2162 Larimer St.

In 2008, brothers Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen (pronounced “van-lou-inn”) and Laura O’Neill began selling scratch-made scoops out of their truck in New York City. Since then, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream has blossomed into a beloved frozen treat brand with pints shipped nationwide and storefronts in six states—including Colorado, where the company debuted an outpost in Boulder earlier this month. Van Leeuwen specializes in French-style ice cream, which is creamier and richer than standard frozen creations due to the addition of twice the egg yolks. Indulge in a cone crowned with mounds of chunky praline butter cake or velvety honey comb, or one of the equally tempting vegan flavors such as churro and fudge. 1750 29th St., unit 1304 (an outpost in Denver’s Larimer Square will open on September 15)

A picture of a lighted sign that reads "Eat Pizza" inside Freedom Street Social
Inside Freedom Street Social. Photo by Riane Menardi Morrison

Situated in the Candelas community between Arvada and Boulder, seven-week-old Freedom Street Social further proves that food halls are taking over the metro area—and the eateries within this 12,000-square-foot gathering place are bringing some fresh faces to the northern suburbs. Osito, the fast-casual version of RiNo’s Mister Oso, serves up tacos, empanadas, and queso next door to the new home of Lea Jane’s Hot Chicken, and early risers can wake up with farm-to-table breakfast fare by chef Tajahi Cooke at the BKFST Club. Also keep an eye out for the Supper Club, a twice-monthly dinner collaboration between Cooke and rotating guest chefs. 15177 Candelas Parkway, Arvada

Chef-owner Scott Schaden opened Terra this past May to highlight Colorado’s regional cuisine using as many local ingredients as possible. Browse the menu to see the region where they’re sourced, like the Front Range–grown salad of spring greens, goat yogurt vinaigrette, and seeds, or butter squash tortellini with black garlic brodo and pickled peppers from the Four Corners region. Pastas and breads are made in house with Dry Storage milled grains, which you can enjoy in the form of the satisfying lamb barbacoa sandwich smeared with orange mojo sauce and topped with charred onions and coriander leaves. 891 14th St., Ste. 100

Student-friendly eats bound in the area surrounding Denver University, and Tea ’N Mi, which opened this summer, fuels the young minds of tomorrow with Vietnamese dishes that go well beyond what the name implies. Crispy fried tofu bites served with wasabi-soy dipping sauce make the perfect snack, and large-portioned entrées like noodle and rice bowls are available until 10 p.m. But don’t sleep on the filling banh mi sandwiches—of which there are eight protein options to choose from, including beef, shrimp, and dried shredded pork—and the array of Vietnamese coffees and milk teas. Look for sweet refreshers mixed with syrups like cucumberesque winter melon or purple-hued taro. 2058 S. University Blvd.

Patricia Kaowthumrong

Riane Menardi Morrison

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