Chile importer turned restaurateur Jack Martinez has been verde, verde good to us. Jack-n-Grill turns out a green chile that's a magical mix of heat and sweet and smoky charred flavor that goes perfectly with everything from burritos to breakfast cereal. This green definitely follows the New Mexican model of diced, whole pods turned into sauce with as little intermediary fussing as possible, eschewing any of those corrupting Colorado influences that turn a proper verde from a dressing into a stew. But while Martinez is a purist, he's quickly making converts who fill his recently expanded restaurant and spill outside. During chile-roasting season, the house sets up tents and roasters there so that customers can see the start of that great green they'll enjoy all year long.


Best Colorado-Style Green Chile -- Chunky

Brewery Bar II

Brewery Bar II
Kenzie Bruce
As green chile made its way up from New Mexico to Denver, it became thicker by the mile. And it reached stew-like perfection at Brewery Bar II, a classic dive on Kalamath Street that's renowned for its giant "Tiny" beers and crunchy chiles rellenos. But those rellenos wouldn't be nearly as good without the thick layer of green chile that smothers them, a mean green so filled with chunks of tender pork (an ingredient that's unheard of south of this state's border) that a few bites are more than enough for a meal. Some like it hot -- and Brewery Bar II is the place for them.

Best Colorado-Style Green Chile -- Chunky

Brewery Bar II

As green chile made its way up from New Mexico to Denver, it became thicker by the mile. And it reached stew-like perfection at Brewery Bar II, a classic dive on Kalamath Street that's renowned for its giant "Tiny" beers and crunchy chiles rellenos. But those rellenos wouldn't be nearly as good without the thick layer of green chile that smothers them, a mean green so filled with chunks of tender pork (an ingredient that's unheard of south of this state's border) that a few bites are more than enough for a meal. Some like it hot -- and Brewery Bar II is the place for them.

Best Colorado-Style Green Chile -- Smooth

La Fiesta

Mexican hamburger.
Mark Antonation
Mexican hamburger.
Ravenous crowds from all over town flock to La Fiesta for their mid-day meals -- and a chance to eat and party hearty. They're drawn by the convivial vibe of the huge dining room (this was once a Safeway), the friendly family that runs the joint (weekday lunches only) and the huge portions of delectably cheesy, greasy, addictive Colorado-style Mexican food. Topping it off, of course, is a quintessential Colorado-style green chile, packed with pieces of pork, tomatoes, peppers...and heat.

Best Colorado-Style Green Chile -- Smooth

La Fiesta

Ravenous crowds from all over town flock to La Fiesta for their mid-day meals -- and a chance to eat and party hearty. They're drawn by the convivial vibe of the huge dining room (this was once a Safeway), the friendly family that runs the joint (weekday lunches only) and the huge portions of delectably cheesy, greasy, addictive Colorado-style Mexican food. Topping it off, of course, is a quintessential Colorado-style green chile, packed with pieces of pork, tomatoes, peppers...and heat.

Little Anita's New Mexican Foods
Scott Lentz
Little Anita's is an institution in New Mexico, where its locations spread across the state and its history stretches back thirty years. In the Land of Enchantment, foodies in the know generally consider it a destination of last resort; they respect its longevity yet think of it as a place to stop if you want to kill an afternoon making fun of tourists. But in Denver, where authentic New Mexican fare is harder to find than a virgin bride in Albuquerque, Little Anita's is a must-stop for sloppy breakfast burritos slathered in either green or red chile. And there's nothing more 'Burque than this red chile, a serious, fiery, honey-sweetened red that's tough to find north of Raton Pass.

Little Anita's is an institution in New Mexico, where its locations spread across the state and its history stretches back thirty years. In the Land of Enchantment, foodies in the know generally consider it a destination of last resort; they respect its longevity yet think of it as a place to stop if you want to kill an afternoon making fun of tourists. But in Denver, where authentic New Mexican fare is harder to find than a virgin bride in Albuquerque, Little Anita's is a must-stop for sloppy breakfast burritos slathered in either green or red chile. And there's nothing more 'Burque than this red chile, a serious, fiery, honey-sweetened red that's tough to find north of Raton Pass.

Chef Jamey Fader's menu changes with the seasons at Lola, his hot coastal-Mexican eatery. You can always count on several fish entrees as well as pork and beef, all boasting top-quality ingredients presented in fresh, and refreshing, ways. And now you can count on meaty surprises -- barbecued beef! -- inside the housemade tamales that are served up on Tamale Tuesdays. Just four bucks buys you a tamale that's an entire meal, and shows the same care that Fader takes with his more involved items. He's the masa of our universe.

Chef Jamey Fader's menu changes with the seasons at Lola, his hot coastal-Mexican eatery. You can always count on several fish entrees as well as pork and beef, all boasting top-quality ingredients presented in fresh, and refreshing, ways. And now you can count on meaty surprises -- barbecued beef! -- inside the housemade tamales that are served up on Tamale Tuesdays. Just four bucks buys you a tamale that's an entire meal, and shows the same care that Fader takes with his more involved items. He's the masa of our universe.


The Bamboo Hut's had a tough year, but it's coming back strong. For more than twenty years, this oddly named Mexican joint has been one of the town's best-kept secrets (no phone number, even), serving up great chicharrón burritos and searing green chile (made from peppers grown in Commerce City) to regulars willing to put up with the odd hours and minimal ambience. Then the Hut's longtime cook left, and it looked like the joint might fall flat. But with new/old talent in the kitchen, the Hut is hot again, and enjoying new popularity with club-hoppers who frequent this end of Larimer. Those newcomers won't know that while Gina's cooking up some of the old standards, she's also made a few changes -- including the chips and hotter-than-hot salsa, both freshly made, that arrive on your table fast...and free! Ten-Hut!

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