Ten Denver Eateries That Exemplify the Slow Food Movement

Rare black garbanzo beans, one of Eric Skokan's favorite ingredients to harvest on his restaurant's farm.EXPAND
Rare black garbanzo beans, one of Eric Skokan's favorite ingredients to harvest on his restaurant's farm.
Linnea Covington

Slow Food Nations is coming to Denver July 14 through July 16; the goals of the international organization are to "prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life, and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us." But even before the Slow Food gathering arrives in Denver, there are plenty of ways to pay homage to culinary culture and support good food all over the city. You may run into slow-food products without even trying; producers like Grateful Bread, a leader in the artisan food movement, are found in many of the city's best restaurants. If you're in town for Slow Food Nations or are just looking for thoughtful, well-made food, pay a visit to these ten eateries.

The Spring Vegetable Preservation Board at Beast + Bottle.
The Spring Vegetable Preservation Board at Beast + Bottle.
Danielle Lirette

Beast + Bottle
719 East 17th Avenue

Since opening in March 2013, chef Paul Reilly and his sister Aileen have pushed to make their restaurant as sustainable as possible. This means you can expect nose-to-tail dining and whole-animal butchery; locally sourced and seasonal fruits and vegetables; eggs from a dedicated chicken flock at a nearby farm; and a cocktail program that specializes in Colorado spirits. Visit the Uptown restaurant any time, or head there for a special evening featuring award-winning chef John Currence cooking with Reilly on July 12.

Hosea Rosenberg finishes off a dish at Blackbelly.EXPAND
Hosea Rosenberg finishes off a dish at Blackbelly.
Danielle Lirette

1606 Conestoga Street, Boulder

At Hosea Rosenberg's Boulder restaurant, all the food served has been thoughtfully vetted through the lens of whether it's local, seasonal and/or organic. The beer, as well as many of the liquor and cocktail ingredients, comes from Colorado. Produce gets sourced from nearby farms and gets served depending on the harvest. And, as if that wasn't enough, the restaurant acts as a whole-animal butcher shop and is licensed to make cured meats, which it does happily with protein from nearby ranches.

Chef Eric Skokan harvests basil on Black Cat Farm near Boulder.EXPAND
Chef Eric Skokan harvests basil on Black Cat Farm near Boulder.
Linnea Covington

Black Cat Bistro
1964 13th Street

Chef Eric Skokan is dedicated to making sure the cooking practices at his two Boulder restaurants remain sustainable and local, and he goes a step further by growing most of his own produce and raising a good portion of the meat that appears on his menu. Skokan started the 130-acre Black Cat Farm in conjunction with his first restaurant, which opened in 2006. Over the years he has grown the farm into an enterprise large enough to support two eateries and a farmers' market stand. From Mulefoot hogs to dozens of kinds of tomatoes to heirloom corn, guests will see these fantastic ingredients gracing dishes such as root-vegetable curry, roasted pork two ways, and flavorful salads bursting with fresh goodies. You can dine here or check out Skokan's sister restaurant, Bramble & Hare, right next door.

Comal took over the former Fuel space in TAXI.EXPAND
Comal took over the former Fuel space in TAXI.
Laura Shunk

Comal Heritage Food Incubator
3455 Ringsby Court

One of the ideas behind Slow Food stems from staying true to traditional recipes and methods of cooking. At this small shop in the TAXI development in RiNo, you can expect to taste Salvadoran, Mexican and Peruvian cuisine made from traditional recipes by a group of women from the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods. The restaurant aims not only to showcase these foods, but also to support female entrepreneurs, which it does in tandem with Focus Points Family Resource Center. Comal is normally only open for lunch on weekdays, but also look for the venue as part of this week's Slow Food events, where it will be host to a special endangered-foods dinner and cooking demonstration featuring celebrity chef Rick Bayless.

Inside Duo.EXPAND
Inside Duo.
Scott Lentz

Duo Restaurant
2413 West 32nd Avenue

Cure Organic Farm, Morning Fresh Dairy, Tender Belly, Oxford Gardens, Bhakti Chai, the Real Dill and Novo Coffee are just a handful of the local farms and purveyors that owners Keith Arnold and Stephanie Bonin work with at their Highland restaurant. The pair push to keep this restaurant, and its sister establishment in Vermont, filled with local and fresh ingredients, something that shows in the quality of the food. Taste this dedication in dishes such as bison tartare with smoked rockfish aioli; pork chops with green-garlic polenta fries, mustard creamed spinach and rhubarb chow chow; and the daily frittata, which comes with whatever vegetables taste the best.

Keep reading for more Denver restaurants perfect for Slow Food Nations week...

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