Last week we shared our list of the ten best tiny restaurants in Denver; To the Wind Bistro came in as the smallest, at only nineteen seats. We only considered full-service eateries for that list; many smaller counter-service and fast-casual restaurants in the metro area serve up good food with far fewer seats than that. And what about places with no indoor seating? Walk-up windows are not common in the city, but there are a few that service the pedestrian community, whether they're strident striders or late-night drinkers looking for an easy place to grab a bite. Here are five legit locations where you can leave the car behind and hoof it over for a meal.
Grandpa's Burger Haven 23 South Federal Boulevard 303-936-4463 Grandpa's may be a bit of a cheat: The old-school burger joint actually has a door. But the door only opens to a glassed-in foyer where you still need to step up to the window to place your order. There are no indoor tables or stools; if you want to eat here, you'll have to hang out at the picnic table in the parking lot. But at Grandpa's, it's really all about the burgers, anyway -- big disks of beef squashed between fluffy buns with only the most rudimentary of toppings. At least the setup here gets you out of the elements, and the burgers are big enough that you can always use one as an umbrella on a rainy day -- or as a seat cushion at the picnic table.
Tacos Rapidos 2800 West Evans Avenue 303-935-0453 There are a few Tacos Rapidos around town, slinging overstuffed tacos in large, leathery corn tortillas. The spot on West Evans Avenue near Federal Boulevard has no indoor seating, just two drive-up lanes and a walk-up window in the front. Those on foot may find the arrangement a little dodgy; you have to cross at least one of the drive-up lanes to place your order -- which can be a little tricky late-night when drive-through customers may have other things on their minds. If the tacos don't hit the spot for you, have a go at the carne asada fries or nachos, either way a loaded mess of chewy beef, caulk-gun guacamole and yellow shredded cheese. Perfect for the discerning pedestrian.
Keep reading for more walk-up windows...
Bourbon Grill 1618 East Colfax Avenue 303-355-3821 Bourbon Grill is an institution on Colfax, serving sweet and tangy chicken, sandwiches and mostly-Southern sides for years through its red-framed window onto Denver's most vibrant and iconic stretch of pavement. It's the perfect location for a walk-up-only joint to offer cheap and filling fare, as the sidewalks of Colfax host a continuous stream of locals, colorful characters, business people and vagrants with a pocketful of wadded-up singles. While much of the street is going upscale, or at least trendy, Bourbon Grill clings to Colfax's gritty past and dishes out a touch of urban soul with each container of chicken.
Fat Sully's Pizza 141 South Broadway 303-393-1515 When Fat Sully's opened on South Broadway in 2013, it was just a window open to the sidewalk, dishing the same pies already known to fans of the Colfax location inside Atomic Cowboy. Shortly thereafter, Atomic Cowboy put a second location next to the walk-up window, letting you get your slice either outside or in. A covered patio with bar stools has since been added, so now you chow down in the shade or hit the sidewalk with slice in hand. Fat Sully's also caters to the late-night crowd, serving until 2 a.m. weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
Tifamade Cantine 2800 block of Umatilla Street (behind the Truffle Table) Tifamade Cantine is the brainchild of sandwich maven Tiffany Iung, who at one time could be seen pedaling around town on her pink bike peddling sandwiches and other treats from a reclaimed suitcase strapped to the back. Her new digs are positively palatial in comparison: a lunch window open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, serving a sandwiches, slalads and snacks from a rotating menu -- although the owner says she always keeps her beet salad sandwich on the list. There's a bench against the wall, a perfect spot for enjoying a fresh treat on a sunny LoHi day.