Ten Best New Fast-Casual Eateries in Metro Denver in 2014

Clint Wangsnes of Chop Shop knows that fast and casual doesn't have to mean boring.
Clint Wangsnes of Chop Shop knows that fast and casual doesn't have to mean boring.
Danielle Lirette

Denver has been an incubator for fast-casual restaurants ever since Chipotle made a big splash with its first store in the mid-'90s. But the evolution of the concept has gone far beyond burritos and sandwiches. Fast and casual doesn't have to mean cheap and greasy. Quite a few eateries opened this year with counter service, menu options that can be cooked quickly or served up point-and-order style, and relaxed dining rooms perfect for families with kids, savvy urban residents on the go, or budget-minded diners looking for great food without the added expense that full-service dining entails.

In fact, so many new quick-service joints have sprung up that we've compiled our favorites in one list. Keep reading for the ten best new fast-casual restaurants in metro Denver to open in 2014, in alphabetical order.

See also: The Fifteen Best New Restaurants in Metro Denver in 2014

Ten Best New Fast-Casual Eateries in Metro Denver in 2014
Ursula Romaine

10) Babajoon's Kabobs 1005 West 120th Avenue, Westminster 303-974-5400 Babajoon's opened in April, serving flame-grilled kabobs in the traditional Persian style and house-made flatbreads called taftoon baked in a custom-made oven. The place is bright and modern and filled with the aroma of spices, baking bread and charbroiled meats. While Denver has its share of tasty Middle Eastern eateries, this Westminster gem stands out for the freshness, unique menu and cheery service.

Ten Best New Fast-Casual Eateries in Metro Denver in 2014
Danielle Lirette

9) Biju's Little Curry Shop 1441 26th Street 303-292-3500

Biju's just managed to open its doors before year-end, beating a few other eateries -- a new Park Burger and Osaka Ramen -- to the punch in a new development at 26th Avenue and Walnut Street. But it didn't take long for LoHi residents to realize that the South Indian curries and chapati wraps were something new on the scene. House-made sauces with tamarind, toasted coconut and fiery bird's eye chiles add screamingly fresh bursts of flavor to the already complex and layered vindaloo, Kerala garlic beef, coconut curry chicken and other house specialties. Colors and flavors collide in both the food ad decor; rich saffron yellows and deep browns highlight both the biriyani and the art on the walls. "This is the stuff me and my brothers grew up eating," says chef Biju Thomas, and now he's sharing it with Denver.

Ten Best New Fast-Casual Eateries in Metro Denver in 2014

8) Bruxie 1000 South Colorado Boulevard, Glendale 303-963-9045

After getting its start in California, Bruxie chose Colorado for its first out-of-state store, opening on South Colorado Boulevard earlier this year. "We knew we wanted to take our concept out of Orange County, and as we were thinking of cities that really appreciate good food, Denver, from our perspective, was front and center as a city that's food- and chef-centric and would appreciate our concept," explains co-founder Dean Simon; he and Kevin Mullarney partnered with Jeff Goodman and Matt Stein (who both have formidable restaurant backgrounds) to open the Denver shrine to waffles and the "bold fold" - sandwiches that sub Belgian waffles for bread and load them with interesting stuffings. "It's about well-thought-out and composed flavors that really pop and explode, and it's about creating sandwiches where every ingredient has a purpose and the compelling flavors move you to the next bite," says Stein. Those flavors could range from fillings of grilled ham, Tillamook cheddar, eggs and a vibrant pesto arugula to subtly sweet lemon-cream-smeared waffles with fresh blueberries. The restaurant also offers salads and specialty coffees.

Keep reading for seven more of the best fast-casual restaurants of 2013.



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