Slice of Life

Tom's serves up down-home fare, spiced by the flavor of Colfax.

Tom's soups all begin with a commercial base, which isn't necessarily a bad thing (half of the so-called fine-dining establishments in town do the same), but by the end of the day, the pots could use a little thinning with water or milk. We tried the soup of the day -- tomato with vegetables and beans -- and the slightly salty base gave the fresh veggies and big chunks of tomato a nice edge. The potato chowder was also appealing in a down-home way, chock-full of skin-on potatoes and corn, with a sort of Thanksgiving-turkey flavor thanks to a liberal sprinkling of thyme and parsley. And the green chile was sweet and spicy, with a cornstarchy sheen and a big chunk of pork; a few warmed tortillas made for some happy dipping.

The fried items were deliciously greasy, as they should be at any true diner. The aforementioned Balls of Fire contained red jalapeños and melty cream cheese. For the fish and chips, two long, thin planks of cod had been evenly coated in batter and fried until golden; the side of Texas toast was pure heaven, drenched in sweet butter and grilled. The salt-and-pepper-pelted fried chicken was crunchy on the outside and moist inside; the three pieces came with real mashed potatoes covered in a thick, salty white gravy that would have been at home on biscuits, too. But the real star of our meals was the quintessential diner plate of "old-fashioned" meatloaf: a thick, juice-oozing slab of meaty, oniony, peppery loaf, paired with more mashed potatoes covered with a dark, beefy gravy this time, as well as watery steamed zucchini and yellow squash (what else?) and slices of sourdough bread.

Sadly, Tom's milkshakes were awful. Served lukewarm, they tasted like nothing more than chocolate milk with whipped cream and seemed to contain no ice cream at all. Desserts were a much more sweet-tooth-satisfying deal. Although Rick's grandma's apple nut cake isn't offered all the time, it proved a dense, chewy delight. And the pies, baked (but not made) on the premises, were uniformly gooey and sweet inside their lardy crusts, just the thing for eating warm with a cup of joe.

Nothing could be finer than dinner in this diner: Tom Messina inside Tom's.
Q Crutchfield
Nothing could be finer than dinner in this diner: Tom Messina inside Tom's.

Location Info


Tom's Diner

601 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Central Denver


Hours: Open 24/7

BLT: $4.25
Silly Philly: $6.25
Balls of Fire: $4.50
Soup: $2.50
Bowl of green chile: $3
Fish and chips: $7.50
Fried chicken: $6.95
Meatloaf dinner: $7.25
Milkshake (medium): $3.25
Apple nut cake: $2
Slice of pie: $2.25

601 East Colfax Avenue

So stop by Tom's for a slice -- of life, as well as pie.

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