Best new restaurant (2000)

The Biscuit

Sure, anyone with a few million or a bunch of sports figures as backers can open a fancy-schmancy restaurant that's the guaranteed Hot Spot -- until the next Hot Spot comes along, and business quickly cools. Denver's seen dozens of such restaurants come and go over the past two decades. But it takes real chutzpah for a big-time chef to quietly open a little place that serves only breakfast and lunch, a place that does just a few things but does them very, very well, a place that's more about the warm, thriving lifeblood of a city than the throbbing pulse of the moment. So a round of applause for Aubergine Cafe chef/owner Sean Kelly, who along with partners Hillary Gallagher Webster, a former Aubergine baker, and Luna coffee owner Chuck Rojo has opened The Biscuit. A small, unassuming spot that offers a couple of poached-egg dishes, a smattering of sandwiches, several salads and a lot of yummy baked goods, The Biscuit gives you a real taste of Denver. It's a spot for newspaper-reading, thought-gathering, conversation-rousing, coffee-quaffing and, of course, eating, eating, eating, from the snacking plate of Provençal olives and the flavor-packed pan bagnat sandwich to the pungent Caesar salad and the comforting chocolate pudding. Enjoy a cup of joe in the light-bathed dining area that's sided by a mahogany bar from a Minneapolis tavern, or head out to the umbrella-covered tables on the patio, where you can listen to the gentle hum of cars whizzing by and the low murmuring of folks relaxing over a game of checkers. In a city increasingly cluttered with cookie-cutter chains that have no connection to our past, the Biscuit is worth holding on to.

Readers' choice: Seorita's Cantina


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